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Repairing exterior windows

QuestionWe have beautiful wooden "picture frame" windows on the south side of our home. By "picture frame," I mean that individual glass panes are framed by wooden inserts that make the window appear like multiple picture frames. Some of the wood frames are cracked and some of the "seal" is coming off the windows. Can these windows be repaired instead of replaced?

AnswerWhat you have are windows where the glass areas ("lights") are made up of separate small glass panels held in place by vertical and horizontal bars ("muntins"). The glass is held in place with glazing points and compound on the exterior side. Sometimes window stops are used as well.

Not knowing exactly what you have and the extent of the damage makes it difficult to recommend a solution. If you have glazing, just remove whatever is loose and install new. If window stops were used—depending on the damage and the design—you might have to have new pieces milled at a cabinet shop.

It appears that all your damage has occurred on those windows facing south. This essentially means the glazing, muntins, and sash (main frame) have dried out over the years because of the sun. If the sash which holds all the glass panels together is cracked but not putting pressure on the glass panes or distorting the muntins, then fill the crack with an exterior sandable putty.

You could also use a pure latex caulk. Once the caulk has dried, it will shrink, so you will need to apply a second coat. Let it dry for about 72 hours and then apply an oil-base primer to all the window's wooden parts. Once the primer has dried (according to the manufacturer's recommendations), apply two coats of a good-quality paint. Do not skimp here. I hope this was helpful.

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Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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