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S19 E5: All About Windows

In this special episode of Ask This Old House, Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor explain everything you need to know about using, installing, maintaining and repairing a window.

Previous episode: S19 E4 | Next episode: S19 E6

In this episode:

In this special episode of Ask This Old House, Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor explain everything you need to know about using, installing, maintaining and repairing a window.

First, Kevin explains the anatomy of a window: The sash, stool, sill, jamb, head and side casings, apron, trim and stiles.

Kevin takes a deep dive into the history and manufacture of glass, the most important part of any window: Single pane, double pane, triple pane, coated, safety etc.

We dive into how you repair glass windows. At the studio, Kevin and Tom take you through safety glass and how it works. Then Tom replaces or repairs several windows in different locations.


How Safety Glass Can Protect You

Tom replaces a broken stairway window from the inside with a tempered glass solution.

Where to find it?

The tempered glass replacement window used for this project was custom ordered from JB Sash and Door. Pre-built tempered glass windows are typically limited to a small selection of sizes. Most window and door manufacturers/suppliers can custom order almost any size tempered glass window.

The window film used to dress up the tempered glass can be found at the local home center. The window film is manufactured by Artscape; the style and size is Summer Magnolia Decorative Window Film, 24” x 36.”


How to Replace a Broken Window Pane

Tom replaces a broken pane in a basement window.

Where to find it?

Tom demonstrated how to replace the pane of a single-pane basement window. His technique will only work with that type of window. For double- and triple-pane windows, the whole unit will need to be replaced.

The materials Tom used for this project, including the window glazing, glazing points, replacement glass, and glass cutters, are all available at home centers.


How to Replace Antique Window Sash Balancers

Tom goes to an 18th century home to replace antique window sash balancers.

Where to find it?

Tom installed antique window sash balancers manufactured by Pullman Manufacturing of Rochester, NY.


How to Repair Damaged Window Sash Cords

Tom heads to West Virginia to help a homeowner replace broken sash cords.

Where to find it?

Replacement sash cord can be purchased at a hardware store or home center. The display window that demonstrates how sash weights operate was on loan from Boston Building Resources.


How to Straighten a Window

Tom shims a window that has fallen out of parallel due to improper installation.

Where to find it?

The materials Tom used to fix the window gap, including shims, the hammer, and the utility knife, can be found at home centers.


Installing a Window Sash Replacement Kit

Tom Silva teaches three apprentices from our Generation NEXT program how to install a window sash replacement kit. Of the three options, it is the simplest and least expensive. The kit consists of two jamb liners as well as a top and bottom sash.


Installing Replacement Windows

Tom helped a homeowner select and install new energy-efficient replacement windows. After measuring the openings, Tom took the homeowner to a local home center, where he showed her a replacement window with double panes of insulated glass and high-quality weather stripping. They placed an order for two windows and Tom came back several weeks later to help her with the installation. Tom first removed the “stop beads” and removed the old sash units and the old storm windows. He then caulked around the perimeter of the opening and tilted the new window units into place. After checking to make sure they were centered and plumb, Tom added shims and screwed the windows in place. He then reinstalled the old stop-beads, caulked around the perimeter of the windows outside, and the installation was complete.

Where to find it?

Tom installed new replacement windows manufactured by: Andersen Corporation (model# 400 series “Woodwright”). Anderson replacement windows are available at: The Home Depot

Original Air Date: Nov 1, 2020 Season 19; Ep.5 23:43


Products and Services from this Episode

Replacement window manufacturers:
JB Sash and Door
Andersen Corporation

Replacement window retailer:
The Home Depot

Window film:
Artscape

Window sash balancers:
Pullman Manufacturing, Rochester, NY

Display window (for demonstration):
Boston Building Resources