Home renovation

How to care of wooden windows

wood windows maintenance

How to paint or seal wood window frames

Before moving on to the process involved in sealing or painting wooden window frames, you need to identify whether or not the wood has been previously treated. It will be fairly obvious if the frames were painted or varnished and the frame should be sanded and cleaned before painting. However, an oil finish can be hard to detect, while sealer degrades over time. Before you seal or paint wooden window frames, give them a rub down with fine steel wool and mineral turpentine.

Prepare wooden window frames for sealing or painting

Begin sanding with a 60- or 80-grit sandpaper for frames that have previously been painted or varnished. A coarser grit will not clog as easily and work faster at removing the finish. Go over the entire surface with 120-grit and then finish off with 180-/240-grit sandpaper. After sanding, thoroughly remove dust from the surface with a cloth slightly dampened with mineral turpentine.

Paint hardwood window frames

Applying wood primer is an essential part of the process for painting wood. Wood primer is specifically formulated to provide a bond between the wood and paint and helps to prevent future problems. Additionally, using a primer can really help you get your paint job done with less pain.

If you have more than one window frame to sand and paint, don’t spend days sanding by hand – get yourself an electric sander and cut downtime and energy wasted on sanding.

Wooden Windows Care tips


Tip #1

Recognize the time of year most maintenance will be required. Make sure you do a thorough check on your windows annually.

Hardwood windows maintenance is fairly straightforward, however, protecting wooden window frames can often be a task that gets overlooked as a result of focusing on other elements of your property.

The most efficient way of making sure you do a thorough inspection on your windows is by nominating a month in the year when you will carry out a good check on your windows..

You may find that simple things, such as cleaning the windows, oiling any stiff hinges and checking around the frames is sufficient. However, you may need to ask a professional to come in and look at any more concerning issues.

Windows and Doors recommended you inspect your windows before winter to prepare for harsher weather conditions. August/September time is ideal.

Tip #2 Treat your softwood or hardwood windows

In terms of how to protect wooden window frames, you are best to treat them as required.

While wood looks amazing, it can be threatened by insects and weathering elements. Therefore, it is suggested that it is treated for optimum preservation with a wood preservative for window frames.

Treating wood window frames with Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) is a great way of protecting wooden window frames.

Tip #3 Varnish/stain your traditional wooden windows

Varnish or stain is another way of protecting your window frames as it stops weathering elements from getting to the wood immediately.

Don’t forget! Re-varnishing timber window frames is important after the original varnish has begun to wear down. You don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on a varnish but you do need to make sure you sand the frames down before varnishing.

A wood stain is probably less effective than varnish for its ability to prevent rot and weathering but it does help lengthen the life of wood window frames.

A wood stain is absorbed into the wood and is in line with the color of the wood you’re painting on, while varnish is a clear and transparent sheen.

Restoring wooden window frames needs usually more than just a bit of paint

Maintaining or restoring wooden frames is a lot of work. The paint cannot simply be applied on the old wooden frame, but the frame has yet to be prepared.

Before the paint can be applied, the old paint and varnish remnants must be removed, with abrasive paper and little pressure, layer by layer.
When grinding, a lot of dust is generated which, of course, should not remain on the window frame. Dust and dirt from grinding can be removed with a soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner.
If there are still residues of old paint or varnish layers on or in the wood, it is also possible to use strippers for removal. However, these must be neutralized before the window frame is further treated.
Before the window frames receive their new coat, the seals must be inspected. If there is moisture between frame and glass, the old putty must be removed. However, new putty is only applied after the coating.
Sometimes the weather has a bad effect on the wooden frame. Restoring, in this case, means that the finer and coarser cracks in the wood have to be closed. The first step is to free the cracks from dirt and dust.
After that, the small cracks have to be extended slightly. For the filling, a filling paste is used, which is available in the optics of different woods and in different color nuances. The paste is safe, it only seals the crack so far that no moisture penetrates into the wood.
Before applying a glaze or a paint to the wooden frame, the areas with the filling past must be carefully grinded and leveled out. This can be done by hand with a piece of sandpaper.
Comprehensive restoration of window frames is a time-consuming matter, especially when the wooden frames are quite old.

The material is protected against weathering and moisture only if water cannot penetrate.

Therefore, the cracks must be properly closed, even if this sometimes means three-, four- or five times grinding and filling.
Before painting, the glass pane is covered up with painter’s masking tape, which makes the application easier. Glazes, paints, and oils give the wood back its beautiful, natural coloring, emphasize the grain structure and protect it from environmental influences.

Some of the products have a profound effect, so they maintain and protect the wood structures not only on the surface.
Only when the last layers of glaze or paint are dry, the putty between the pane and the wooden frame should be re-applied.

Different types of wood require different care

Which care products are used in the environmentally conscious and careful restoration of old window frames depends not only on the condition of the frames and their use, but also on the type of wood. Oak, for example, darkens with time, which is also desired. Old oakwood looks beautiful and is relatively hard. Tropical woods are also very hard and provide natural weather protection. They are treated differently than soft, domestic woods.

Furthermore, the color of the wood has an influence on the extent to which solar radiation affects the wood. Very dark wooden frames heat up more under sunlight and expand accordingly. If it cools off in the evening, they contract again. Dark woodworks are more than light wood. Some paints and glazes do not tolerate this. They crack in case of a strong expansion of the substrate.

Therefore it makes sense to really pay attention to the quality and the suitability of the products. Besides the color of the wood, the resistance to insects is important. Among the domestic woods, spruce is a very soft wood and has a low bulk density, which makes it more vulnerable.

Hard oak and tropical woods, on the other hand, have the reputation of being particularly resistant. Their high bulk density thus has an influence on the durability and therefore on the composition and the properties of the glazes and paints used when restoring the window frames.

Nevertheless, also durable window frames with high bulk density must be treated every three to five years in order to last long. Of course, there are also differences in color: pine and spruce are very light woods, oak is quite light when still young and darkens with the years, beech also. Larch is light and has a reddish tinge, while tropical woods can be lighter or darker, yellowish or reddish-brown.

Untreated wood is easy to restore and requires fewer work steps. Untreated means that no deeply penetrating chemicals were used which would have to be removed before the application of the care products.

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