Just as the weather begins to chill out, homeowners begin to wonder how to repair their storm windows. No one wants to freeze in their own home, of course, and everyone wants to make sure their protection is up to scratch in the event that a storm threatens to huff and puff and blow their house down. The best time to pay attention to your storm windows is in Fall so that you can do the work when it’s not so chilly outside, and when the temperatures do drop, you’re ready.
Some of the maintenance items you might want to perform include cleaning the screens (remove the screens first, lay them flat on the ground and scrub them with a handbrush, then hose them down and let them dry), inspection of the condensation prevention holes to make sure they are free and clear of debris, and replacing cracked panes.
It’s not just the storm windows that need to be checked. It’s a good idea to rub down the metal frames of windows and doors with a very fine grade steel wool. This will help to prevent corrosion and you can apply a little paste wax to finish the job.
You also might like to spray some silicone lubricant on the window tracks to make them slide effortlessly. Any weep holes at the bottoms of the frames should be cleared of debris in order to allow any condensation to get out.
Any time you notice condensation on the inside of the windows, it means cold air is coming in. Check all the sashes to see that they fit the tracks adequately and make sure the upper storm window sash in correctly in the outer track. The lower one sits in the next track. If you have screens, the screen sash should be positioned in the inner track. Caulk can be used to improve window seals.
Sometimes it’s necessary to reposition the entire window frame. First, close both the upper and lower storm sashes. Take out the screws that secure the storm frame to the primary ones but do leave one screw at the top and one at the bottom.
Enlist the help of another person to raise and lower the sash while you lever the sides of the frame at the bottom and the top. Once everything is running smoothly in the tracks, replace all the screws you removed. If any of the storm window frame positions have changed you’ll have to drill new screw holes and perhaps even use a larger screw.
The need for new
If your storm windows are too far gone to repair, new ones will need to be installed. You can actually get pre-hung windows and have them customized to your size and shape requirements. When installing, remove the screen and sashes and position the storm window in the opening and trim if necessary.
Apply caulking and square up the window by taking measurements between the diagonal corners. You’ll also have to drill holes in the bottom and the top of the storm frame so you can fasten it to the actual primary frame. Use any predrilled holes as guides. Check the alignment by working the sashes from inside the house.
If you need to repair storm windows that have cracked seals or condensation between the panes, you can often temporarily remedy the problem by applying silicone caulking to keep the seals intact for one more season.
Cracked glass may or may not need to be replaced, depending on the severity of the crack, but at least tape it up to avoid further damage and replace when convenient. Gaps can also be sealed with weatherstripping foam. Although it isn’t the most visually appealing solution, it will last a few months until you can do a more comprehensive job.
Again, the best time to look at repairing your storm windows is before the cold months in your area. Set aside a weekend to evaluate what needs to be done and assemble all your materials. If you need to order anything, you can do that in plenty of time to have them arrive. Another weekend, get to work doing the repairs and enjoy cozy warmth and effective storm security all through winter.