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Thread: Painters damaged original wood windows - ideas for a fix

  1. #16
    The corners are rounded . Not just too heavily loaded with paint ,but really rounded . Looks like they could have even been made with a
    router and not real joints. In California sun-shine they are back-lighted . At night the curtains are closedÖ.look only through the center of the
    glass. Canít help wondering if you just didnít pay much attention to close-up corners Ďtil job was done. I donít think insurance company or
    courts are gonna make it look any better. Might just be a case of ď we always do it like that, and no one has ever complained ď.

  2. #17
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    I think a lot of that irregular shape is just layers of built up paint. You have to be too careful with a heat gun next to glass, or the glass can break. You certainly don't want to break any of that glass, but I have heated a scraper, and it helps for a short while. The trouble with scraping paint on soft wood is that a thick layer of old paint is harder than the wood underneath. It can be done, but it's a tedious process.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Vanderet View Post
    Thanks everyone for your input, it's very much appreciated. I have edited my original post to add new photos to clarify a few issues. In my stress and haste last night I showed a different section of window which seems to have a taller profile. I'd estimate the painters removed about 1/8 inch of material. They were using sharp scrapers and as speculated all of the millwork in the house in softwood (I think its doug fir). The original work is indeed wood, there is no plaster molding in the house. The cove crown molding is a wood piece. Its unfortunately

    It seems like there are three buckets of solutions:
    1) Try to reshape the profile in place either with razor knives and custom sanding blocks, or build the profile back up with plaster.
    2) Replace just the profile section with a new wood piece as described.
    3) Rebuild the sashes completely.

    Option 1) feels challenging and I would only trust this work with someone that had done this work before. 2) Feels the most feasible but it feels like a real challenge to get a straight clean edge while removing material with the windows in place. 3) I have real concerns with taking the windows down and do wonder whether this is overkill. I am very conflict averse and so working through this with the painter is hard for me.

    A number of the custom wood window shops have gotten back to me and the responses have been mixed between option 2) and option 3). Most are adamant that the work needs to be done in the shop, but 2 are still working through whether they could tackle this with the windows in place. The painter is bringing in a few finish carpenters that he knows who are all suggesting variations of Option 2) with the windows in place.

    Again, thank you all for your insights. These windows are our favorite feature in a house that we plan to be in forever so this has been very difficult for me to work through.
    In most of the historic work that I do the goal is always to retain as much of the historic material as possible. Is every sash as bad as the pictures? Iím looking at the pics on my phone so the detail is not as good as a big screen.

    I donít know why anyone would paint old sash in place, we always remove to paint. Part of the beauty of old windows is their serviceability. Itís hard to recommend a fix without seeing them in person but I would definitely remove them.

    If the scraping was that aggressive I canít believe they didnít break any glass!

  4. #19
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    Columbia MO and Howard County MO
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    It appears to me that the damage has accumulated over the years and the most recent folks to work on the problem have opened a can of worms. I used to be a wood windows only guy. No longer. Plastic for me.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  5. #20
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    "A good painter is really expensive. A cheap one even more so."

    I rebuilt almost an entire front 24 pane window in my last house with bondo. Termites will never come back.
    A lot easier than with FixAll. That stuff is WAY too hard.
    Last edited by Mike Hollingsworth; 05-06-2022 at 8:23 PM.

  6. #21
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    How about two part epoxy and a plastic putty knife ground to match the original profile?

    I can't see the pics because I'm no longer a member.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Strauss View Post
    How about two part epoxy and a plastic putty knife ground to match the original profile?

    I can't see the pics because I'm no longer a member.
    That was my first thought. I've recreated many a historic detail with Bondo and an old credit card. Learned it from a plaster molding guy.

  8. #23
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    You can use an appropriately sized piece of wood applied in place with releasable double side tape as a guide. Works for plaster too, and even curved pieces.

  9. #24
    Many thanks to everyone for the ideas and tips, this thread has been very helpful. I've been in contact with three different local shops that specialize in replicating/restoring historic windows and all echoed similar thoughts to what has been shared in this thread. All of them felt that working on the windows in place was simply too risky, even with hand tools, and they would only take on the project in their shop. Given the size of the windows only one shop is able to take on the job and the price as high as you'd expect for work this risky in a high cost area.

    All of them agreed that trying to build up/sculpt the profile is a reasonable idea and feasible for someone with the right skillset. The concerns around moisture absorption and plaster are noted, and all the shops recommended bondo.

    I spoke with the painter last week and told him that the work needs to be done by someone with experience doing this work and we need to follow the guidance of one of the shops. The current plan is find someone local to try replicating the profile, we're currently reaching out to someone who specializes in plaster moldings as well as a few people in the Painters network. If this is unsuccessful we are in alignment that the local wood window guy will take on the restoration work.

    I appreciate the tips on replicating the profile. My current plan is to sketch out the profile in CAD and then laser cut a thin piece of plastic sized to run flush along the window/sash/sill which will allow the window itself to be the guide.


    I feel good about the path forward and will post an update once everything is completed (though this could be months with how busy everyone is)

  10. #25
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    I use plumbers epoxy putty (just because it's easy to get in the plumbing section of box stores), and thin sandwich wrap as a release. I get the thin sandwich wrap from Subway because it's thinner than what's in the kitchen. Using nitrile gloves, kneed some of the two parts that are about the consistency of modeling clay together, and squeeze it in place over the molding profile with the sandwich wrap between the putty and glass & muntin. Once hard, I slice it into pieces with smooth ends on the miter saw.

    If I'm having custom bits made, I send one of these. They are plenty strong enough to use as a screed for Bondo.

    Don't mix up much at the time. The more you mix at one time, the hotter it will get, and can get too hot to handle.

    I fold the sandwich wrap back over the outside of the lump to press it into place so it doesn't goo up the gloves. The plastic wrap will pull off after it's set up.

    On the one in this picture, I didn't do a good job of squeezing it into the corners at the glass, but I was just using this as a guide to change the profile on a molding plane, and this was what I needed.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Tom M King; 05-09-2022 at 3:54 PM.

  11. #26
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    I wouldn't be scared of doing them in place, but I wouldn't send an employee to do it. My fingers are in an odd place in this picture because the girl taking the picture asked me to stop in the middle of a stroke. She couldn't catch it in action. This was in the process of changing the molding plane profile.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #27
    Well, I just now noticed that in the ďoriginal detailĒ pic the vertical bar and and bottom rail donít even have the same profile. So I think it was never right .

  13. #28
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    The painter and his insurer are going to balk at the price of a quality restoration. Be prepared for that. May involve a lawyer.

    Be sure to visit the shop where the work will be done. See if they do similar work. Ask exactly what they plan to do.

    Shops may be thinking that someone else will bring the windows to them and reinstall. Who would that be and will they install something temporary to close the house? Plastic and duct tape would not be ok. Just how long will the windows be gone?

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