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Looking for tradesman to restore double-hung sash windows

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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for tradesman to restore double-hung sash windows

    we're in the process of renovating our house and need someone to restore our double-hung windows to good working order. they look to be in good condition in general (not rotting), but i can't get them to budge - they are just stuck shut! i'm not sure if they just need to be sanded back a bit, or there are internal mechanisms that need replacing... i'm not very handy at these sort of things!! i'm looking for someone who is familiar with the maintenance of old windows who can come and service them all for me...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Carpenter's Avatar
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    Cooee,

    I've done many of these over the years & each time I do then I learn a bit more, to the point where I think after my most recent job of restoring 11 double hungs I reckon I've got it nailed.
    There's a big difference between getting them working & having them restored & functioning beautifully.

    The main cause of double hungs failing is painters. The windows need to be painted carefully after restoration, otherwise slopping the paint around effectively glues the sashes to the frame.
    This is why your windows & every other set of double hungs don't work.....bloody painters.

    A complete resto requires the windows to be disassemble (stop beads, parting beads) without damage, all paint build up must them be removed from the sashes & beads.
    This is best done with a heat gun (beware lead poisoning) then all the paint from the areas around the glass scraped away with a scraper.
    If the glass is to be removed (usually a good idea because its probably rattly due to putty shrinkage) then all the painted areas on the sashes can be removed with the heat gun.

    Next is the sanding to all components & re glue of any loose tenons. Once the sashes are done, remove the old cord & nails, check the groove for clearance (possibly re cut the cord groove) them fix in place with pan head screws the new cord & put a dab of wood glue on the end of the cord to stop it uravelling.

    Next, on to the frames to strip the paint here as well. Remove weights & clean up the pockets & parting bead grooves checking the fit of the parting bead & planing/adjusting as required. When this is done its a good idea to "dry fit" the sashes & check they have been fitted as sometimes they were never fitted in the first place.

    To do this put them in place & prop/clamp the top sash, where they meet at the meeting rail they should be flush, if the bottom sash sticks up hold it parrallel to the top sash & scribe the bottom rail to the sill. Sometimes you need to clear the paint out of where the external architrave meets the frame & re-fix the arch to the frame. It's often a gappy fit here & this causes a sloppy/rattling top sash.

    Reassemble, the top sash goes in place resting on the sill, tie string to the end of the cord & use a bent nail/small weight to the end of the string & feed it through the pulley, catch it at the pocket hole (both sides) & pull the sash up & clamp in place.
    Feed the cord through a weight & holding the weight up near the pocket as far as you can tie a figure eight not, but don't pull it tight yet.
    Do both sides then slide the sash up & down to check the original weights are correct for the window. Sometimes they're to heavy & you'll get an automatic closing sash.....not the go.
    Once the top sash is in, do the same to the bottom/inside one, then place the pocket in place, then put the parting bead back in making sure its a press fit & seats all the way into the groove, especially at the pocket because this is the only thing holding it firmly in place.

    Finally, the stop beads can be re-fixed (dont nail it at the pocket) but its important to start the first nailing point at the midpoint wher the sashes meet.
    When the sashes come together, the meeting rails both have a bevel on them that causes the sashes to wedge together & push each other tight in the closed position, effetively eliminating rattling in the wind. It's important when fitting the stop beads to do this with the sashes in the closed position & allow about 1mm clearance at this point.
    As soon as the sashes are separated by opening the window, the taper on the meeting rails releases the wedge effect allowing the sashes to operate with more clearance.
    This is also why as i said previously its important to make sure the external architrave is tight to the window frame as excessive clearance here renders the wedge action ineffective. With the mid points of the stop beads fixed, place one fixing at the top allowing the same clearance as is evident when the sashes are just separate from the wedging of the closed position, typically about 2-3mm.

    Move the internal sash up & down to check its not binding anywhere, & if all is well it can be nailed off (not too many nails & not through the pocket) be sure to use nails that won't come through into the weight chamber & foul the weights as they go by.
    Also check the sill stop bead allows clearance for the sash to close. There, its all done, but finally, impress in the firmest possible way to the painter he must cut the sashes in, not splash paint all around or all this work will be in vain.

    Good luck finding someone to do this, but if all else fails you may find someone who can use this drivell as a guide to doing it well.
    Last edited by ozwinner; 6th May 2007 at 09:42 AM. Reason: so we can read it
    "the bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  3. #3
    2K Club Member seriph1's Avatar
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    Depending where you are, I may be able to refer someone - just let me know.

    have fun
    Steve
    Kilmore (Melbourne-ish)
    Australia

    ....catchy phrase here

  4. #4
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    hi seriph1 - we're in Malvern East - any referrals for that area?

    thanks carpenter for your comprehensive guide!! i'm 5 months pregnant so not about to pick up the hot air gun myself, but if i can convince anyone to do it for me i'll give them your step-by-step guide as a go-by!!

  5. #5
    2K Club Member seriph1's Avatar
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    A friend of mine - Mark Weller - 'may' be able to refer you to someone in that area - Mark's number is 0402 429 022. Mark owns a company called "the authentic age"

    have fun!
    Steve
    Kilmore (Melbourne-ish)
    Australia

    ....catchy phrase here

  6. #6
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    thanks! i just found a guy yesterday who runs a business called Sashman Carperntry and Joinery - sounds exactly what i'm after! i'm expecting them to come and quote over the next few days.. if no luck with them, i'll give your mate a call and see if he can recommend someone - thanks for your help!

  7. #7
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    Hi Ella7
    <O
    How did you go with Sashman Carpentry and Joinery? Iím looking for a trades person to help me with some carpentry. Any advice?<O</O

  8. #8
    2K Club Member seriph1's Avatar
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    g'day Sturner and welcome to the forum! You'll find a huge amount of great info here and some excellent advice. To your issues: What work do you need done? Carpentry is usually associated with things like studs and weatherboards, beams and the like. Windows, doors etc. is called Joinery and Cabinets are cabinetry. Apologies if you are versed in the differences, but many folks are not..... just like I wasn't once upon a time. Best way to get solid advice is to be specific about your project, with lashings of background information about the dwelling etc. as people here often specialise or have specific interests. e.g. I am keenly interested in building and architecture from the 1830's to the 1930's, and am passionate about designing furniture and kitchens that look authentic for that period.

    Finally, a little background letting people know your experience levels really helps with how much depth to go into when trying to help out.

    all the best - and have fun!
    Steve
    Kilmore (Melbourne-ish)
    Australia

    ....catchy phrase here

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