Q: I have an old house with sash-weight windows. Can I get rid of the weights and make the windows airtight so they aren't so drafty? Any help or suggestions would be great.

— Ron, Council Bluffs, IA

A: Tom Silva replies: You can remove the window weights, insulate the weight bays, and install a spring balancing system. Or you can leave the window weights in place and have the windows weatherstripped.

To go the weatherstripping route, pry off the stops that keep the sash in the window. Setting them aside, remove the lower sash and open up the sash weight ports to remove the weight and cut off the rot-prone cotton weight cords, which you should replace with indestructible copper chain. The delicate parting beads, which separate the two sashes, come out next, and then finally the upper sash.

Cut a groove in the rail of the lower sash and slip in some nylon weatherstripping. Line the upper half of the lower sash with spring bronze weatherstripping, nailing it in place and scoring it with a putty knife so that the unattached edge provides a seal for the upper sash. The upper sash then goes back into the frame, followed by bronze weatherstripping for the lower sash.

Replacing the traditional ropes with copper chains can help prevent rattling and drafts. New locks will also work to seal two sashes tightly together.
Ask TOH users about Windows

Contribute to This Story Below