The openings in the envelope in your home are the windows and doors. Their purpose is to provide light, ventilation and access to your home. A fixed stained glass, the glass inside the door or the fixed glass on a sliding glass door are referred to as a lights.
To qualify as a window or door, it must be able to open and close. If a window can longer open because it is painted shut, its function is no longer a window but is considered a light. This section will not discuss lights. The condition of a window and door is determined by how well it opens and closes. A good window or door opens and closes well, an average does it not so well and poor do it with difficulty.
A new window or door, if installed properly, will open and close easily and tightly when it is closed. After a period of time the opening and closing of these units won't be so easy. Furthermore when they are closed they won't be so tight. If this is allowed to continue the opening and closing of these units will become very difficult. The problem here is that most people do not know or realize what causes these units to malfunction. Hence we think the only remedy is to replace the window or door. There are basically two types of windows a double hung and a casement. A double hung window put on its side is a traverse or sliding window. In either case it's a double hung window. A casement window is one that is hinged and swings out either from the top, bottom or side. What deteriorates a good window to an average one is dirt and debris.
We clean our windows but not the tracks a double hung window that moves up and down in or the seat in which the casement window closes into. You would be astonished to see how well your windows would function if you cleaned these areas every other time you cleaned your windows. The dirt and debris prohibits the window from opening and closing properly. With double hung windows it makes the moving of the sash to open or close the window more difficult. With casement windows the window won't close properly and if you force it closed you will bend the mechanism that hinges the window and the window will never function properly until you change the mechanism and clean the seat.
This is the major reason why windows are replaced. Over painting or varnishing is a very common problem with wood windows. In most homes there are several windows and in older homes there are usually double the amount than in a new home. The correct way to paint or varnish windows is to be patient. Scrape off any loose paint and sand thoroughly. A thin coat should be applied and let dry. Then it should be lightly sanded and the sashes moved up and down to make sure the paint or varnish does not bind up the window.
Another thin layer is applied and let dry. A thin layer of paint or varnish will dry quite rapidly. So if you finished with one window with the first layer and then went to the next window, by the time you finished with the second window's first layer, the first window would be dry and ready for the second layer. The trick here is not to do all your windows the same day or weekend. Choose a number of windows that you know can be done in the period of time and divide that by two. So if the number you choose is ten, the number of windows you should do is five. You will be very happy at the results.
What causes dry rot with wood is the failure to paint or varnish it. The paint or varnish retains the natural wood oils in the wood. Once this is lost, it cannot be replaced. What most people misunderstand is that the latches on windows are there to make the window tight. With wood windows the latches are made of a soft metal. The reason for this is that the wood expands and contracts. If the latch were made of steel, when the wood expanded, it would crack the wood. If you look closely at these latches you will see they are half moon and graded. What this is designed to do is push the outer sash up, the inner sash down and pull the two together.
Over a period of time the grade on these latches wears down. The result is the window does not close tightly. Replacement of the latch will resolve this. The trick here is to put a drop or two of linseed oil in the screw hole before installing the new latches. You can use vegetable oil if you do not have linseed oil. Let the wood soak up the oil for a while and then install the latch. This will avoid the new screws from cracking or stripping the screw hole.