Restoring Casement Windows – Old House Journal Magazine

The skinny muntins and slim frames of a restored casement window add majesty to a view of Gramercy Park in New York; operable sash on the heart invitations the outside in.

Courting from the Center Ages, casements are the earliest kind of movable home windows. Extra not too long ago, they seem in revivals of English and European kinds together with Gothic, Norman, chalet, Tudor, and Elizabethan. Additionally they present up in Prairie homes, Arts & Crafts bungalows, and trendy Twentieth-century houses. 

Though commonest in American houses constructed between the 2 World Wars, metal home windows have a for much longer historical past. Casement home windows had been produced as early as 1818 in England, the place the still-active firm Hope’s was born. Often manufactured from virgin metal, frames of classic home windows are usually tougher and have larger tensile power than trendy home windows made with recycled metal. A brief listing of previous producers consists of Hope’s, Crittall, Detroit Metal, Fenestra, Lupton, Thorn, and Trusscon. Classic catalogs for a number of of those makers will be discovered on-line at

Frank Lloyd Wright was keen on utilizing wooden casement home windows in Prairie Faculty homes, together with the 1916  Ross–Eifler Home, in Glencoe, Illinois. Picture: William Wright

Whereas the picture of flinging home windows open large is blissfully romantic and picturesque, a number of downsides include home windows that break the airplane of the home, beginning with the incursion of mosquitoes, gnats, and flies and culminating with rain (even snow!) that blows inside. A casement window will be broken by the pressure of water or wind warping or knocking it out of alignment. As soon as a casement is warped even barely, it could not shut securely, leaving the home susceptible to leaks and drafts. Whether or not the body is wooden or steel, these historic home windows are normally single-glazed, introducing chilly via convection. No surprise many have been changed with insulated swing-up, swing-out, or mounted home windows.

Nonetheless, anybody lucky sufficient to have authentic casements on their Twenties lake camp, Tudor home, or Artwork Deco condo ought to treasure these uncommon survivors. Usually an important a part of the design, authentic casements can final virtually without end with care and reconditioning.

A projecting bay clad with multi-light-casement home windows is a defining function of this Aladdin package home in English Arts & Crafts fashion.
Picture: Gridley + GTgraves

Wooden casements seem in all kinds of homes constructed earlier than 1945; they may very well be ordered from builders’ catalogs in dozens of configurations. Easy and sturdily constructed, they normally function hid, mortised butt hinges and easy “cabinet flip” catches. From a DIY standpoint, engaged on a wooden casement window isn’t a lot totally different from engaged on a glazed cupboard door of the identical period; nonetheless, getting a good match within the window body is crucial to stop air infiltration. In distinction, metal casement home windows had been made by a number of producers, all of whom provided their very own proprietary designs with distinctive hinging techniques, sash bolts, and {hardware}.

Wooden Casement Repairs

Wooden casements are a lot simpler to restore than steel, particularly if the wooden continues to be sound. Typical issues embody home windows painted shut with a number of coats of paint, injury from climate publicity and decay, and lacking working {hardware}.

Releasing Casement Home windows from Storm Sashes

In case your casements are lined by exterior acrylic “storm sashes,” as mine had been, do away with these. Though makeshift    storms maintain drafts out, they noticeably block gentle and have a tendency to scuff and yellow, additional lowering visibility. One straightforward answer is to switch them with acrylic or glass inside storms, which will be eliminated and exchanged for screens in heat climate .

On a set of home windows, the place one window has been free of its masks and the opposite not, the free sash is noticeably clear. • A serrated-edge Window Zipper, made by Hyde, is indispensable for liberating home windows which have been painted shut. • Tight to the window body, casement-window hinges are sometimes lined in layers of thick paint, which might maintain home windows from opening and shutting freely.

Releasing Painted-Shut Wooden Casement Home windows

Utilizing a serrated Window Zipper instrument, work the instrument between sash edges to crack the paint seal. Then gently faucet on stable wooden on the corners of the window sash, from the within, with a rubber mallet, till the casement begins to maneuver. (It’s useful to have somebody on the surface to assist push and pull.) As soon as the window is free, swing it open and shut a number of occasions. You will have to loosen or tighten the hinges to get the home windows in correct working order.

Repairs for Wooden Casement Home windows  

Home windows which have been painted shut and subjected to sturdy daylight may have blistered paint; the wooden beneath could also be dried out and broken. Glazing putty is more likely to have dried and failed as properly. Wooden repairs are just like these for double-hung sash home windows, however casements name for some particular therapy. First, take away as a lot of the burned, chipping paint as doable. Assume lead paint is current and put on protecting eyewear and an N-95 or cartridge respirator masks. After scraping, make any needed patches and repairs to the wooden. Epoxies specifically formulated for wooden, reminiscent of WoodEpox and LiquidWood, work wonders on punky or rotted wooden. Take away outdated glazing putty and reglaze with new putty. If the wooden within the casements is particularly dry, deal with it to a mix of boiled linseed oil and turpentine at a 1 to 1 ratio. Prime every part with an alkyd or linseed-oil primer and prime with two coats of alkyd or linseed-oil paint.


If hinges or different operable {hardware} are so lined with paint they gained’t budge, take away caked-on materials, by scraping or stripping or each. You could have to take away the {hardware} and even the whole window. One concept: Put the {hardware} in an outdated slow-cooker that’s now not used for meals, cowl with water, and let “cook dinner” on the bottom setting in a single day. 

If important {hardware} is lacking—the casement stays (sash operators) are normally the primary to go—search for replacements at salvage sellers, or order new ones from a restoration {hardware} supply. Placement is vital for a sash operator; the operator needs to be positioned on the sill so that there’s a minimum of a 90-degree swing when the window is open. Ideally, the operator shouldn’t challenge past the window body when the window is partially open (despite the fact that some historic sash operators are designed precisely that approach!), or will probably be unimaginable to suit a display screen.

LEFT: A French casement window, restored by Seekircher Metal Window, is fitted with matching, repolished {hardware}. The locking mechanism is a cremone bolt: a fastener with vertical rods that transfer up and down to interact the highest and backside of the body.
RIGHT: A big opening is fitted with a double casement window and stuck sidelights. Word how the casement operators slide via mounts on the sting of the sash. Picture: Todd Seekircher/Seekircher Metal Window

Metal Casement Repairs 

Metal home windows had been constructed to final. Whereas most metal casements in American houses and flats date to the Nineteen Twenties and ’30s, stable, hot-rolled metal home windows have been made for greater than 200 years. (Some had been even double glazed and got here with insect screens!) A full retrofit typically requires calling in a professional, however a home-owner can take a number of restore steps.

Hinges sticky or frozen shut?

Begin by eradicating built-up paint on the movable elements of {hardware}, and wherever the sash is supposed to lap in opposition to or over the body. Wire-brushing, perhaps together with a chemical paint stripper formulated for steel, might assist. (Take care to not disturb any mortar, particularly if the window sashes are embedded in it.) Just a few drops of penetrating oil might loosen frozen or rusted elements. Sliding bolts will be refreshed with a drop or two of 3-in-1 oil. 

Alignment Changes 

A metal window ought to meet its body on 4 edges on the similar time. Strive small changes to stretch the steel again into place, utilizing a skinny steel shim. “You should utilize a dime, 1 / 4, a washer—all of it will depend on how huge the hole is and the way a lot adjustment it wants,” says Todd Seekircher of  Seekircher Metal Window. Name in knowledgeable if home windows are severely out of alignment, have cracked glass, or different injury. Similar for frames with eroded or rusted-through sections. 


If the end on extremely ornamental sash locks is pitted or discolored, a steel restoration service can replate. If operable {hardware} is lacking or broken past restore, most often you’ll want to seek out salvaged replacements. It’s essential to know what model and mannequin you will have, as even slight variations imply the salvaged half gained’t match correctly.

Reglazing and Portray Metal Casement Home windows  

Clear out outdated putty, saving the glazing springs that maintain the pane in place. (Swisco and others make replacements.) For those who take away the glass, wire-brush the opening and paint with a steel primer. Lay a bead of linseed oil-based putty within the channel earlier than resetting. Use the steel clips to carry glass in place, then apply the putty, chopping it again at an angle. 

Magnetic inserts from Allied Window will be modified out for coordinating screens.

Kits For Casements

Love the concept of operable home windows in summer time, however apprehensive about winter drafts and warmth loss? Outfitting your casements with inside inserts of acrylic or glass can scale back vitality prices as much as 20 p.c. What’s extra, inserts simply pop into place and could also be swapped out for versatile screens (like these from FlexScreen) throughout heat climate. At the least one firm, Allied Home windows, gives inserts for each outswing and inswing casements; the outside ones—finest for mounted casements—are designed and painted to match the historic window profile. Inswing fashions could also be ordered with an interchangeable display screen insert.

As totally different firms provide totally different techniques and totally different glazing choices, have a look at merchandise from multiple firm. For instance, Indow gives a minimum of three varieties of acrylic inserts, together with the usual, a twice-as-thick acoustic, and a UV-blocking museum grade. Glass lasts longer and maintains readability higher than acrylic, however it’s far heavier, so giant inserts could also be tough to maneuver. You’ll want a spot to retailer window inserts and screens because the seasons change.

Closing For the Season

Wooden casement home windows which have been open all summer time might swell, making it arduous to shut them totally. (The open facet could also be misaligned—say, dropping down and too large on the prime whereas the underside seems to have a spot.) If that’s the case, strive loosening the screws on the inside hinge plates. This can allow play within the window.

With a helper, carry and push up or down on the window as wanted till the open fringe of the window more-or-less traces up with the casement.

Faucet alongside the stile with a delicate rubber mallet. If one space overhangs the casement, maintain lifting and shifting the window till you’ll be able to see the beginnings of a spot. Then faucet firmly up and down the stile. You may additionally have to faucet the window alongside the rail on the backside or prime.

Maintain tapping till the window suits snugly. If the window latches with a catch, maintain at it till the catch suits snugly into its mating slot.


metal home windows

A&S Window Associates
Sizzling-rolled metal home windows & restoration

Fashionable metal home windows

Hope’s Home windows
Fashionable insulated metal home windows

Jada Home windows
Insulated steel outswing, inswing doorways & home windows

Seekircher Metal Window
Restoration of historic metal home windows & doorways

Window Restoration & Restore
Metal window restoration

wooden casements

Adams Architectural Millwork Co.
Customized genuine reproductions, knowledgeable restoration

Architectural Parts
True-to-period customized home windows 

Bagala Window Works
Mortise-and-tenon development; proprietary steam stripper 

Belisle Home windows
In-swing casement, different conventional home windows

The Cooper Group
Full-service restoration

Heartwood Window Restoration
Full-service window restoration 

Historic Restorations
Full-service restorations, together with home windows 

Olde Window Restorers
Window restoration

Wooden Window Makeover
Window restoration & workshops


WoodEpox & LiquidWood window restore merchandise

Artisan Glass Works
Previous Type window glass in 5 grades 

Bendheim Glass
Full & gentle Restoration® glass 

Durham’s Rock Laborious Water Putty
Wooden restore putty

Hollander Glass
A number of kinds for distinct historic eras

Sarco Putty
Twin glaze & kind M putty 

Glazing springs for metal home windows

Window Preservation Alliance
Connects owners with window restoration professionals

insulated glass

Inexperienced Mountain Insulated Glass
Twin-seal insulated home windows

Vacuum-insulated glass (VIG) home windows for restoration

storms & glazing panels

Allied Window
Storms & inserts for inswing & outswing casement home windows; screens non-obligatory

Arch Angle Window and Door
Customized special-shape storm home windows 

Local weather Seal
Inside magnetic panels with light-weight acrylic glazing

Versatile inside display screen inserts

Indow Home windows
Inside window inserts

Innerglass Window Programs
Compression-fit inside storm home windows

Inside/exterior secondary glazing

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