How to fix your windows yourself

July 29, 2015

Try these fixes for your old windows, and don't let them lose their charm, or your money.

How to fix your windows yourself

Superglue cracked glass

  • A tiny seemingly harmless crack appears in a window pane.
  • Then suddenly the little crack morphs into a dangerous monster, snaking its way across the glass and forcing you to replace the pane.
  • The culprit is seasonal temperature changes that cause the glass to expand and contract.
  • But with the help of a little super glue, you can keep the crack small and prolong the window's life indefinitely.
  • Just squirt the glue directly from the container into the crack — capillary action will suck the glue right in.
  • If a little glue remains on the glass, don't wipe the sticky stuff away; it dries clear and hard anyway. Works for car windshield dings, too!

Erase glass scratches

  • A little toothpaste is all you need to make scratched windows look new again, provided the scratches are not too deep.
  • "Extra-whitening" brands work best because they contain the most abrasive.
  • Gel toothpastes contain little or no abrasive and won't work.
  • Just dab the toothpaste on a soft cloth, and rub the scratch vigorously for a minute or two. Wipe clean with a damp rag.

Lubricate window channels

  • If you're shoving and jerking a window to get it to slide up or down, you're shortening its life with undue wear.
  • First clean out the channels on either side of the window with fine steel wool, and then vacuum away all debris and dust.
  • Then make life easier for your windows, not to mention yourself, by rubbing the channels with a white wax candle.
  • Or better yet, spritz the channels with silicone spray, available at hardware stores.
  • The spray will last longer and will lubricate better than the wax.

Replace old window putty

  • If your window putty is brittle and cracked, replace it to prevent water from seeping in and rotting the window sashes.
  • You can chip out the putty with an old chisel, but a multipurpose "five-in-one" tool works better.
  • This inexpensive painter's tool is also useful for spreading putty, opening paint cans, scraping peeling paint, driving screws, and squeezing paint out of rollers.
  • You can get one at a paint or hardware store or a home centre.

Save a rotted sill

  • Windowsills get hit with a lot of water and this makes them vulnerable to rot.
  • Replacing a windowsill takes considerable carpentry skill.
  • The good news is that as long as the sill is mostly intact — even if it is soft — you can repair it yourself.
  • Ask your local home centre for a kit that contains two forms of epoxy — liquid wood consolidant and structural adhesive putty. Y
  • ou drill holes in the sill and squirt the liquid consolidant into them to harden the wood.
  • Then you use the putty to seal over the holes and to fill any missing areas. Detailed instructions come with the products.

Calm cranky casements

  • The secret to long life for modern casement windows is to lubricate their mechanisms as soon as you notice the cranks are becoming difficult to operate.
  • The same goes for jalousie windows, which have several louvred panes.
  • First loosen the setscrew, and remove the handle so you can pop off the cover.
  • Then squirt the gears with a little silicone spray, and spritz all the pivot points on the crank arm and the top and bottom guide arms.
  • Don't see any gears? That means the gears have been permanently encased and lubricated. Just spray the pivot points.
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