Restoring Old Windows

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated March 25, 2020)

Considering how much it can cost to replace old windows with new (around $700 or more per window) is it really any surprise that many people like to hold off on getting new windows until they absolutely have to. If you are in need of some new windows, but don't have the money, you may want to consider restoring the ones you have. Luckily restoring old windows is a project most homeowners can accomplish as long as they take the proper care.

  1. Inspect the windows. The first step in restoring old windows is to actually inspect the windows. While it may seem nice to work on all your windows at once, it is a rather time consuming project. As you are inspecting the windows look at the woodwork, seals, and the glass itself. Make sure to note which ones are in good working order, and which ones need to be fixed up in some way. Additionally, look to see which ones are in the worst condition, as they are the ones you will want to start off with.
  2. Choose the day. Working on your windows will require that you remove them from their sills, leaving a rather large opening in the wall. Unless you want to have a bunch of nasty weather blowing in through the hole, you should pick a nice warm day to do your work.
  3. Carefully remove. When the proper day comes, you will need to carefully remove the windows from their sills. Make sure that you only remove one or two windows at a time so that you don't open up your home to the elements. It may be a good idea to seal up the window opening with a plastic tarp and some staples.
  4. Match the existing panes. If you haven not already done so, take the opportunity to match the existing panes of glass that need to be replaced. Additionally, look at the woodwork on the window panes themselves, as well as the sill and see if you can match anything that needs to be replaced as well.
  5. Repair or replace as needed. Remove any damaged glass or wood from the window and clean, or replace, as necessary. You may want to strip the wood, or even use a strong cleanser to remove any dirt and grime from the glass. Be careful as you do this so you don't accidentally damage the wood. After you have replaced the glass, and completely stripped the wood from the window as well, put everything back together.
  6. Seal the glass. Apply a bit of waterproof silicone sealant where the glass and wood meet. Lightly run your finger across the bead of silicone to help ensure that there is a tight seal. Repeat this process where the glass and wood meet throughout the window frame.
  7. Paint and seal. Allow the silicone caulking to completely dry, and then begin applying some painter's tape to the window. This will help protect the glass from any paint or stain that may get on it. With the tape in place, begin applying the paint or stain that you are using on the wood. After you have applied the paint or stain, allow it to dry completely before you do another coat. Depending on the color you may need to apply several coats. If you are using paint, make sure that you are using an exterior paint on the side of the window that will be outside. Apply any sealant you want to use in the same manner as you did the paint.
  8. Replace the windows. Carefully remove the painter's tape from the windows, and the plastic sheeting from the opening. Replace the now restored windows to their sills. You should be able to do this by simply doing the reverse of what you initially did to remove the windows.

Congratulations, you have now finished restoring your old windows, at least a couple of them. Simply repeat the process as often as necessary until you have completed the work on all of the windows in your home. Remember though, that you may want to consider replacing the windows if they are not energy efficient. That way you can help reduce some of your monthly energy bills.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


Joining Plastic and Metal Plumbing

Learning the proper method of joining plastic and metal plumbing is an important skill that any do-it-yourself enthusiast ...

Discover More

Removing Stains Left By Moving Blankets

When it comes to moving, one of the biggest problems is protecting your furniture from getting damaged. That's where ...

Discover More

Choosing the Proper Wallpapering Tools

Wallpapering a home or office is a rather large task. Make sure that you are able to do the job the right way, the first ...

Discover More

Find the Right Tool Right Away Finally, a homeowner's set that includes all the tools needed to complete basic DIY projects at an affordable price! The tools are stored in a molded case for security and portability. Check out Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner's Tool Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Basics of Choosing Windows

Windows do more than simply make your home look pretty. In fact it could easily be said that choosing the right window ...

Discover More

Replacing Windows

Whether you're replacing a small windowpane, or a sliding glass door pane, the premise for replacing a window is the ...

Discover More

Fixing a Broken Window

A broken window is a serious problem, which can be an extremely costly one. Here is how you can replace your own window ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)