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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    2

    Default Stipping old windows of paint and putty

    Have 95 year old double hung windows, great old wavy glass. How do I strip off old paint and glazing putty in an environmentally responsible and safe manner (some lead paint)? I remember part of a show with a company in New England that had steam boxes that softened everything for easy removal, but nobody I've found here (Chicago) seems to know anything about it.
    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    235

    Default Re: Stipping old windows of paint and putty

    You will find a few schools of thought on those windows. Many will say toss em and get new ones, others will say refinish and reglaze.

    The steamers can be found through a web search, or just use a garment or wallpaper steamer. Enough google work and you can locate the episode where they stripped wood with steamers and they will likely discuss the paint disposal.

    If you have a local historical society or preservation districts they may have some references, I know here in Houston they just had a workshop with a presenter discussing just what you want to do.

    One thing to remember, while you like the look of the wavy glass(and I do too), it is wavy because it is inferior. The manufacturing methods just were not as good, and that is why it is wavy. The glass will not be as efficient as a new pane of glass.
    It's this old house, not this built after your dad was born house.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    975

    Default Re: Stipping old windows of paint and putty

    Hi,
    Here is a tutorial on building a steam box.
    https://www.wavyglass.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=74
    We built one last year as we had two house's worth of old sash to reglaze(some 550+ panes) It didn't work out in our case, the really big size of the windows surpassed the steamer's capacity, so I found that wetting the glazing with hot water and detergent, then immediately heat-gunning the putty had the same effect, only much faster; the steam was made right inside the cracked putty, and I got good enough to be getting out 10 panes every 20 minutes.
    For my own house (I finished the last windows in '12, yay) I used just a heat gun and a 1" sc****r kept really sharp with a file. Yes, take all precautions for lead. Double bag the scrapings, clean them up so they don't transit to other rooms.
    Once you get the sash out, you're 25% done. Getting the old glass out intact is another 25%.
    For windows to work smoothly and not stick they must be painted with oil paint. Acrylic no matter the manuf's claims will stick in damp weather.
    I painted my sash in & out with oil enamel, then let dry while still out of the jambs, that way they are painted all the way to the edges, and the jambs/sash contact points are fully painted and dry when assembled. If you need to, wax the "rails" with furniture wax and you can have windows that operate in all weather with one finger.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Stipping old windows of paint and putty

    Thanks for your reply. Two issues: first, using oil paint, because of the hassle of disposing of the inevitable half full can. But, now I will. Second, steam removal seemed the way to go, but steamers seem expensive and not all that fast. Your solution sounds ideal: quicker, cheaper, using tools and materials I already have. Couldn't be better, thanks for your help.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sombreuil_mongrel View Post
    Hi,
    Here is a tutorial on building a steam box.
    https://www.wavyglass.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=74
    We built one last year as we had two house's worth of old sash to reglaze(some 550+ panes) It didn't work out in our case, the really big size of the windows surpassed the steamer's capacity, so I found that wetting the glazing with hot water and detergent, then immediately heat-gunning the putty had the same effect, only much faster; the steam was made right inside the cracked putty, and I got good enough to be getting out 10 panes every 20 minutes.
    For my own house (I finished the last windows in '12, yay) I used just a heat gun and a 1" sc****r kept really sharp with a file. Yes, take all precautions for lead. Double bag the scrapings, clean them up so they don't transit to other rooms.
    Once you get the sash out, you're 25% done. Getting the old glass out intact is another 25%.
    For windows to work smoothly and not stick they must be painted with oil paint. Acrylic no matter the manuf's claims will stick in damp weather.
    I painted my sash in & out with oil enamel, then let dry while still out of the jambs, that way they are painted all the way to the edges, and the jambs/sash contact points are fully painted and dry when assembled. If you need to, wax the "rails" with furniture wax and you can have windows that operate in all weather with one finger.
    Casey

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