Restoring Old Windows

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated October 17, 2016)

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. ...


Adding an Extra Phone Jack

Adding a phone jack does not have to be a stressful or expensive process. In fact, it is something that any beginner ...

Discover More

Removing Wood Stain from Concrete

One of the most common, and simplest, home improvement projects is staining the deck, steps, or wood trim around the ...

Discover More

Providing Proper Support for Wall Plants

If you are thinking of planting some wall plants, then you need to make sure that the plants receive the proper amount of ...

Discover More

MAX Power! A powerful lithium-ion drill/driver that delivers 0-to-650 RPM and 115 inches-per-pound of torque in a lightweight, easy-to-use package. An anti-slip soft grip and LED worklight makes this tool a delight to use. Check out Black & Decker 20-Volt Cordless Drill/Driver today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Repairing Plexiglas

Plexiglas (or plexiglass as it is often misspelled) can be found just about everywhere. From the windows out in the ...

Discover More

Removing Tint from Windows

Window tinting, either on a car window or home window, can be a wonderful touch. At least it can be until the tint begins ...

Discover More

Installing Energy Efficient Windows

One of the more common places that a home can loose heating and end up with higher energy bills is in the windows. The ...

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 two less than 4?

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.)