Pointers on finding the right used window and door

The junkyard is a great place to find second-hand household materials.  But knowing what to look for and what to avoid takes skill. Here are some pointers when looking for used windows and doors.

Pointers on finding the right used window and door

Repairing rotting wood from window frames

Rot is a common problem in wood window frames and is often the reason they have been dumped in the first place. Many are repairable and specialized lumber yards supply standard wooden sash and frame profiles that may be used to repair rotted sections. Patching up such a window is not difficult and, with modern high-quality adhesives and extra hardware, a perfectly acceptable repair can be made.

Reglazing broken windows

Reglazing will be necessary if the glass is broken. Old glass is difficult to cut, so either get a glazier to replace it, or completely remove the glass yourself and install new glass cut to size by a glazier.

Windows with broken sashes

Sashes on old windows can become stuck with many years of successive coats of paint. Here's what will have to happen for you to get it back working normally.

  • The sashes will need freeing and, if the window has sash cords and weights that run on pulleys, these may need to be repaired or replaced to allow free operation of the window.
  • An old window may not have the bottom flashing attached. New flashing, normally black embossed plastic or galvanized steel, will have to be added to prevent water working its way into the wall below the window.

What to look for with old doors

  •  Make sure that the door is hinged the right way, otherwise you will have to patch the meeting edge, which can look unsightly.
  • Consider the position of the door locks or latch because moving them and patching the holes is hard to get right.
  • If any lamination has begun to peel away at the bottom of the door this is usually a sign it will not last long. (Covering such areas with a metal plate is only postponing the inevitable.)
  • If you have definite door sizes in mind, find a door that is the right fit or slightly larger than required. If a door needs cutting to size, this should be done equally right around its perimeter. This is particularly important with hollow-core doors, in which the solid frame around the edge is usually no more than three centimetres (1 1/4 inches) thick.

There are great finds to be had looking for used windows and doors. Knowing what to watch out for can make it easier to install and add some quaint charm to your decor at a fraction of the cost.

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