How to Repair Exterior Wood Frames When Weathered

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You don't need to replace your old window frames, in fact it's better if you don't, especially on older homes in which the original windows add character and also have value as antiquities. It's therefore a good idea to treat the frame with care and restore it to it's original luster. There's no magic to weathered frame repair, just take it one step at a time using simple tools. In one afternoon you can have any frame on it's way to another lifetime of beauty.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire brush
  • Diagonal pliers
  • Eye protection
  • Claw hammer
  • Nails, 2-inch
  • Putty knife
  • Glue scraper
  • Finish nails, 1-1/4 inch
  • Nail set
  • Wood glue
  • Masking tape
  • Caulking gun
  • Tube of outdoor caulking
  • Orbital sander
  • Sandpaper, 80 and 180 grit
  • Linseed oil
  • Cloth
  • Paint or varnish
  • Remove the window from the exterior wooden frame. Brush the frame vigorously with a wire brush. Remove all splinters that begin to peel up, break them off if they are less than 1/16-inch thick. Using diagonal pliers, pry up on any loose nails and pull them out. Use a claw hammer to get them out if you need to.

  • Grab the frame with both hands and try to move it. Use force to wiggle it. If it moves or if you can bend it at all, hammer new nails through the sides of the frame until it is sturdy and you can't budge it.

  • Insert the tip of a putty knife under any loose trim pieces, pry them up if they are loose and remove them. If there are any loose pieces that won't come off, put some new nails in them and hammer them down securely. Using a glue scraper, scrap off any old paint, varnish or debris from the frame.

  • Squirt glue into splinters or cracks. Work the glue into the cracks with your fingers. Use masking tape to secure the splinters down. Let the glue dry for 1 hour and remove the tape.

  • Sand the frame with an orbital sander and 80-grit sandpaper. Sand with the grain until all of the weathered gray color is gone. Remove the sandpaper from the sander, fold it into thirds and use it with your fingers to work down inside the cracks. Sand the pieces of molding that you removed and nail them back on. Install new ones if you needed. Set the nails below the surface of the frame with a nail set.

  • Fill all the cracks, splits nail holes and gouges that were too deep to sand out, using outdoor caulking and a caulking gun. Smooth the caulking down with your fingers and let it dry according to manufacturer's directions.

  • Brush on a liberal coat of linseed oil. Let it soak in for 24 hours and apply another coat. Let it dry for 24 hours. Lightly sand the frame by hand with 180 grit sandpaper and paint the frame with two coats of outdoor paint or two coats of varnish. Let it dry for 24 hours before using.

Tips & Warnings

  • Evaluate your frame before starting to work. If you have broken or badly cracked pieces, buy new ones before starting your repair.
  • To remove the window from the frame, some have small levers while some older windows have a small bracket that comes off with a screwdriver. The top of the window tips back and then the window comes out.
  • Always wear safety glasses when working with wood, or carpentry in general.
  • Photo Credit window image by Oleg Tarasov from Fotolia.com
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