• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva explains how to replace sash weights with spring balances.


    1 Score paint along stop bead with a utility knife.
    2 Unscrew and remove the stop bead.
    3 Cut the sash cord at each side jamb.
    4 Pull out the window sash and set it aside.
    5 Remove the pulleys from the side jambs.
    6 Set each sash on a bathroom scale to ensure it doesn’t exceed the weight capacity of the spring-loaded counter balance.
    7 Use Forstner bit and drilling guide to length the old pulley hole in side jambs.
    8 Set counter balance in place and mark the outline of its faceplate on side jamb.
    9 Use Forstner bit to mortise the jamb so the faceplate sits flush.
    10 Detach the old cords from the sash and screw in metal hooks.
    11 Remove the old sash weighs from inside the wall and insulate the wall void.
    12 Apply paste wax to the edges of the sash.
    13 Screw a spring-loaded counter balance to each side jamb.
    14 Pull out the retractable steel tape from the counter balance and attach it to the hook on the sash.
    15 Set the sash back into the window.
    16 Reattach the stop bead and check the operation of the sash.
    See products and services for this episode
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Requires removing the sash and modifying the side jambs
Ask TOH users about Windows

Contribute to This Story Below

      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • utility knife
        Utility knife
      • drill
      • ratcheting screwdriver
        used to remove stop bead
      • Drill bit
        Forstner bit,
        used to drill out side jamb for counter balance

      Shopping List

      1. Spring-loaded counter balance;
      two required per movable sash

      2. Wood shingle,
      used as a drilling guide

      3. Bathroom scale,
      used to weigh window sash