Your home might be an older property that’s seen better days. It might also come with a lot of beautiful vintage details that modern homes just don’t have anymore, such as gorgeous wood window frames. The thing about wood windows, however, is that sometimes they need a bit of a facelift in order to truly shine. Other wood furniture items in your home might be able to stand up to the elements a bit better. Since your windows are constantly exposed to wind, sun, and rain, however, you might find yourself at a crossroads. Should you repair them, or replace them altogether? Before you call Richmond Window Corp. to ask about replacing your wood frames with brand new ones, take a moment to consider all your options. Wood is a highly resilient material, and it doesn’t go down without a fight. Even though your windows might look a bit rough, a bit of sanding and a new coat of wood stain could make all the difference. If you’re torn between replacing and refinishing your windows, here are a few things to consider.
Replace Elements, Not Entire Windows
Your wood windows are made of many separate elements. To understand why they’re not keeping air leaks out or functioning as they should, it’s important to figure out what the failure actually is rather than assuming you need to chuck out the whole window. Not only will this end up being expensive, it will probably be wasteful as well, since wood, if properly treated, can last basically forever. Before making a decision about your windows, assess the damage. Does the wood look chipped, broken, or rotted? Are certain elements broken or damaged, such as the sash? Is one of the glass panes broken? If you’re looking at a window that’s far more broken than it is intact, the right choice might be to opt for a replacement. However, if your window is basically fine and just needs a bit of sanding to smooth things out, plus a new coat of paint or sealant, there’s no reason to throw it out and replace the entire thing.
Identify Leak Sources
You might imagine that a window leak results from a basic failure on the part of the frame or glass. However, leaks are a bit more complicated than that. Your window could be drafty for a number of reasons. Most likely with older windows, you’re simply not using the right weatherstripping. If you’ve tried to seal your windows with caulk, insulation, and other elements and you’re still experiencing leakage, your windows may just be too far gone for repair. However, if a single element is damaged, or your window is covered in old caulking and weatherstripping, you can always try a few different things to block the leakage. Try installing some fresh exterior casing, and use a sheet of plastic to place over the window as a seal to trap air. If none of this works and your home is as drafty as ever, it may be time to call the repairman.
Repair Rough Edges, Replace Rot
Even if a window frame has started to rot, that doesn’t mean it’s beyond repair. This goes double for windows in historical homes. If you have a unique, vintage window that you really don’t want to let go of, there’s a good chance you won’t have to even if the wood seems damaged. Try sanding off some of the outer surface areas using sandpaper or a more powerful tool from your hardware store. If the wood underneath is rotted through, there might not be much you can do. However, if you’re looking at a fairly clean wood with a chipped, ugly surface, you can sand it down to a smooth texture, apply some wood sealant or stain, and find yourself looking at a beautiful, brand new creation.
Go With Your Gut
Even if you’re dying to keep your old windows, you’ll probably know when your historical home’s flaws are creating a downright unpleasant, uncomfortable environment. If you really want to salvage your window, however, there’s always a way to do it, even if your old window ends up being an art piece or a bit of salvaged, repurposed furniture in your home. In many cases, you’ll be able to refinish your old wood windows without a hitch. However, if it can’t be done, you can always find a new, creative use for the older windows and historical elements in your home if you truly set your mind to it.