With winter on the way, Southern California is going to start cooling off any day now–and you want to be ready for it. Unmaintained wood windows can let in air leaks and drive up utility bills. By sealing those leaks, reducing heat loss through the glass and protecting the wood itself, you can prepare your wood windows for upcoming chilly winter weather and save money on the cost of heating.
Caulk and Re-Caulk
Caulk seals the exterior of your wood windows and is important for keeping out drafts and moisture. Over time, the caulk around your window trim will start to degrade. Inspect the exterior of your wood windows. Cracked and damaged caulk isn’t as effective as new caulk, and should be replaced.
Start by using a putty-knife to scrape away the old caulk. When the caulk is gone, use a stiff brush dipped in warm soapy water to wash away the dirt around the window. Wait for the surface to dry before applying a new bead of caulk to the surface of the window. Don’t forget to use exterior-grade caulk. If you’re not used to applying caulk or using a caulk gun, practice on scrap wood or some other disposable surface until you’re comfortable with the process.
Low-e coatings are a special film that can be applied to standard window glass. Low-e film keeps damaging UV rays out and keeps winter heat in, so your home will be more energy efficient. Low-e coatings can be installed by a capable DIYer (do-it-yourselfer), especially on smaller windows. Larger windows present more of a challenge and people who are inexperienced with applying window coatings may be better off hiring a professional. Messing up can result in bubbles on the coating and other damage.
The instruction for low-e film installation may vary by manufacturer, but the process generally involves cleaning the glass with a squeegee, applying a mounting solution, then applying the film and cutting it to match the size of the windows.
Repaint and Seal
One of the most important things you can do to preserve the energy efficiency of your wood windows is to protect the wood itself. To seal and protect your wood windows, scrape off any old paint, especially in areas where the paint is bubbled or flaking off, then sand the surface smooth. Fill in any holes with wood filler, then repaint the windows with at least two new coats of paint to prevent the wood from being penetrated by moisture.
Install Weather Stripping
Some of the most common weather stripping comes in foam strips with adhesive on the back. When the window is closed over the weather stripping, the foam expands into the tight spaces of the window thus blocking cold air.
On double-hung windows, apply a line of weather stripping to the window sill beneath the lower sash and the top of the window frame above the upper sash. You can also apply the stripping directly to the sash itself. Use scissors to cut the stripping to the appropriate length.
As a homeowner with wood windows, you’re lucky. Wood windows are beautiful and they last for a very long time. Completing these relatively small tasks can help you keep those windows in good shape and also reduce your energy bills this winter.
Tashman Home Center
For tools and products to complete these projects, stop by Tashman Home Center where we have over 20,000 items in stock every day. We also have a knowledgable staff of trained professionals that can help you find the products you need or offer advice on how to do it.
You can also take the opportunity to look at our beautiful wood windows, just in case you need a source of inspiration before you get started.