Restoration: Old Windows Like New
Well, the real work has started. A common issue you find in old homes is that where crisp shadow lines and details in trim once existed, now all you're left with are globbed up bullnosed shapes, stacked up with over 100 years worth of paint. And given that this place has primarily been a rental property for the better part of its life, the trim has definitely seen better days.
Most people would have probably either looked past this subtle eyesore or just replaced all of the windows entirely. When in doubt, our moral design compass tends to almost always point to restoration not replacement. It is a constant, and often expensive, curse but we just can't help ourselves.
In this post, we'll take you step by step as we strip and restore each window.
Grab your heat gun & get to scraping
A little heat goes a long way and the paint starts to peel off in long strips. The trick is to keep the heat gun moving so you don't burn the wood. Also, keeping the heat away from the glass is a must if you want to avoid cracking your window panes.
Speaking of window panes, this is where the number of work hours really start to kick in. Because you can't use the all-amazing heat gun, there are a couple different fairly labor intensive approaches you can take to stripping the windows. First, we tried using a chemical gel that is painted on, sets for about 15 min, then you scrape. You repeat this process about 5 times. After a couple hours and not even being half way through a single window, we decided to reassess.
Next, we thought - okay let’s go for the more toxic stuff.
Luckily, before we got to that point, Owen spoke to his dad about the 3rd method to stripping windows that he knows he has used in the past. This low labor approach is known as the steaming method and is comprised of a homemade plywood box connected to a pressure cooker. Sounds safe enough, right? We are starting the steaming process next week. Hopefully all goes according to plan.
Check back in a few weeks and we (fingers crossed) can show you the finished product. We are cranking away on these and hopefully are on track to stay ahead of the contractor. We will let you know soon if we are successful or not..