Every window restoration project is different and each window within a project has quirks of its own. Because of that, I consider each window individually through the course of the overall project. The best place to start is with an onsite visit so I can see the composition and condition of the windows and to discuss expectations and possibilities for restoration. Some windows need nothing more than minor maintenance while others need an in-depth restoration to restore function. Offering a range of services from basic maintenance to full restoration allows me to present the most appropriate and affordable scenario for each project. Most maintenance can occur onsite at the home but more in-depth work is done at my shop. Additionally I am available to provide training, detailed consultation and equipment rental should a homeowner wish to personally do the work themselves.
Basic maintenance can include ensuring window function, glass replacement (using antique wavy glass when possible), sash cord replacement, wood repairs, hardware function improvement, hardware replacement (with salvaged antique and vintage pieces when possible), window glazing, painting, and other basic maintenance functions.
If your windows are in good condition but have painted locks and handles, I offer hardware cleaning to restore those pieces to full function and improve their appearance. Homeowners can remove and deliver the pieces to me for this treatment. See the photo at the bottom of this page for an excellent example of what a Cinderella story hardware cleaning can be!
Partial historic window restoration is a blend of basic maintenance and restoration. This option is great if the interior of your windows is in good condition but the exterior needs to be restored. Window sashes are removed and this work takes place in my shop.
Full historic window restoration is an in-depth process that can take many hours per window and weeks to complete. It is the longest lasting treatment and vastly improves the appearance and condition of the window. Even with the labor and materials involved, it is sometimes still less expensive than window replacement!
When possible I use salvage antique glass to replace broken or missing pieces and salvage antique locks and handles that have been refurbished to replace low quality or missing pieces. I also recycle old wood when doing wood repairs if I am able. I maintain a stock of salvaged windows, hardware and glass for these reasons and use them during my process. These pieces are available for homeowners to use as well in their do-it-yourself endeavors.
My ultimate goal is to provide a fully functioning window that operates as it was originally intended. With that comes an aesthetic true to the home, a means of ventilation in warmer months, protection from weather in cooler seasons and the safety of a window that provides a means of escape and home security.
Clean, working locks, pulleys and handles are an essential part of a functioning window. I have a stock of hardware that I’ve collected and refurbished for reuse. You can find a number of pieces for sale at my Etsy site: Luna Windows.
Once the project is complete, I have some basic tips for maintaining your
windows in the future:
-Don’t paint them shut! We just did all that work- painting them incorrectly will reduce function of the window immediately. Don’t paint your hardware (locks, handles, pulleys) or the ropes for the same reason. Hardware caked with paint doesn’t work as it should and it’s ugly.
-Wood expands and contracts through the seasons so you may notice some friction at certain times of the year. A quick application of beeswax (available at the hardware store) can ease friction and restore function in seconds.
-Open the bottom sash with the handle. Putting pressure in the wrong
place will cause damage to the window.
-Your windows require maintenance. Regularly evaluate paint condition,
glass condition and storm window condition.
A vast amount of information exists online about window restoration,
history, function, energy efficiency and more. Following are a few of
my favorite sources for window information.
John Leeke is a respected restoration professional in Maine who has amassed a depth of knowledge over decades of work restoring windows.
Bob Yapp is a Des Moines native currently working out of Hannibal, Missouri
where he provides hands-on preservation workshops from his home.
I can’t recommend his services enough.
Window Preservation Standards Collaborative
A group dedicated to creating national standards for window restoration and debunking the message conveyed by the replacement window industry. The publication produced by the first meeting of this group provides information about methods as well as in-depth, scientific energy efficiency testing of restored wood windows.
I’m a Lead Safe Renovator through the state of Iowa. As most older homes likely have lead hazards to consider, I practice techniques to keep you and your family safe.
Find our more here:
If you are not in the Des Moines area, I may be able to provide contact information for a window preservationist near you.