Coldwell Banker Burnet, Edina Regional Office
Rose Hart is licensed in MN
It is NOT recommended to caulk shut the drain holes at the bottom of a storm window frame, because it quickly results in a rotten sill.
The weight channel cannot be filled with insulation, and this is a large part of why sash windows are so energy inefficient. However, some things that will cut down drafts and improve energy efficiency are: Solid, uncracked glazier putty; fresh paint and caulk; rope caulk on the inside seams and interior plastic insulation. Heat trapping shades or drapes can also help.
We wish you a peace- filled and joyous Holiday season!
The TV show "This Old House" has an excellent sash cord repair video.
Sometimes we feel like all we do from Labor Day to Halloween is windows: Repairing, glazing, scraping, painting, washing, hanging, caulking- window frames, sills, and panes. Whew! But well maintained windows go far in giving a house a good appearance inside and out. In the next two months, we'll pass along tips and tricks from our years of window love.
REPLACING A BROKEN SASH CORD
Broken sash cords are a common problem for old windows. First, you'll need the replacement cord. You can buy waxed, rot- proof sash cord. Alternately heavy clothesline will suffice, but never use nylon or polyester rope because these disintegrate in sunlight. You will also need a light duty helper person.
The first step in replacing the weight cord is to take off the casing stop that's on the same side as the broken cord. If the stop is fastened by screws, removal will be easy.
If it is painted and nailed on, use a putty knife or chisel wrapped in soft cloth. Begin gently prying at the bottom and slowly work your way up. If it's very difficult to pry off the casing stop, it may be easier to pry it from outside. The brads, or finish nails, should come out with the stop. To avoid chipping out the paint and putty, pull them out from the inside of the casing stop.
After the casing stop is removed, we look for the pocket cover near the bottom of the jamb. It may be under, or next to, the casing stop. Some pocket doors are held by screws, and loosening the screw will allow pushing the cover inward. Nearly all that we've seen are cut and fitted in as half laps. You may need to feel around with a putty knife, or a piece of wire, to find which way the laps are cut, and pry opposite the lap side. These are devilish things to pry out, and invariably the jamb wood will be dry, inelastic and prone to cracking. Brute force will avail nothing but sorrow, but if you really can't pry it out, try pushing it inward.
The sash weights are behind the pocket cover, the broken one will be lying at the channel bottom. Take it out and cut off the broken old cord.
If it's the top sash cord that is broken, the bottom sash will have to come out, too.
Pull the bottom sash out: One end of the cord fastens to the side of the window either by nails or a knot. If you need to move the bottom window out of the way- be sure there's a knot, or some kind of stop at the end before you release its cords so it doesn't all fall into the channel- then release its cords and set it aside.
Pull the top sash down to the sill. To remove it you may first need to remove a parting stop from one side of the frame. Originally, this parting stop was a strip of wood that pulled out easily from its mortised groove in the jamb. However, often they are nailed, screwed or painted in place. If so, you'll need the chisel and putty knife again. Try to work it loose from the center- outward. Remember, it is half embedded in the jamb. After removing the parting stop, the upper sash can be removed.
You may need a length of string to fishline the replacement cord up from the pocket door and up over the pulley. Then tie the new cord to the sash weight with a bowline knot. Note that the top window weights are to the outside, don't get them tangled with the lower weight cords.
You will need some one to hold the window sash while you measure for the new cord. We do not advise using the old cord for measuring, usually they are wrong.
Pull the cord so the weight is against the pulley. Have your helper place the sash in the lowest position, place the cord alongside the edge and add about three inches beyond the knot retaining hole. Tie the knot, tuck it into the mortise, and replace the window. If the cord is too long, the weight will sit on the bottom when the sash is raised. If it is too short, the weight will strike the pulley when the window is closed. The ideal height is about three inches from the bottom of the channel. You may find it easier to adjust the bowline on the weight, than the stop knot on the sash end. Before replacing the pocket cover and the casing and parting stops, the window should be raised and lowered a few times to test whether it is working properly. This is also a good time to oil the pulley, soap the sides of the sash and replace any cruddy weatherstripping.
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Rose Hart's Outside is a promotional eNewsletter for Rose Hart, Realtor Copyright, Rose Hart, 2012