Weatherproofing Double-Hung Windows

In the previous article “Caulking Double-hung Windows” we considered the out side upper windows. I hope I did not leave you hanging too long. I know how it is to be left high and dry, but in this case I hope you did not also get cold in the process. Now let us complete the sealing of your double-hung windows by using weather-stripping to seal the seams and gaps around the inside of the lower windows. By this time you should have already installed or put in place the storm windows that you may have. If you have double-paned windows you already have a window pane built in that serves to help protect the home from storms.

Now let’s get to the fun part. After being finished with caulking the outside window casing and upper windows you can stay inside and complete the project of winterizing the windows of your home. By the way, if you have windows that only can be reached from a ladder make sure you do not tackle this improvement task without someone there to help. You may seek a reputable agency, company or organization to do this part for you.

Keeping with your tabulations of how many windows you have buy the weather-stripping accordingly. Before you run out to the nearest hardware or home improvement store, measure the length and width of each window and write it down. You will need this as a reference later when putting the weather-stripping in place. Jot down the width of the seams of each individual window inside the house or apartment. Take special note of the gap between the bottom frame of the upper window and the top frame of the lower window. This will need filled with stripping later on (the other window parts will only need stripping over, the seams). If you have gaps any wider than 1/4 inch you should have your widows fixed or refitted. In your notepad you might want to number each window and the size of its widest gap, so that you will know which roll of weather-stripping goes with which window when you get to the store and return home. Note down if the window casings will need caulking; if so buy the right amount of waterproof caulking. Who knew that weatherizing one’s windows would call for secretarial skills.

It may be a good idea to remove the window lock from the top center of the window with the intent to reinstall it on either end of the top of that window. Also scrape and clean the window sash or frame before reinstalling the lock. This cleaning should include the window casing, frame, channels and the window stoop. The window stoop is what most people mistake for the window sill. The window sill is on the out side of the window where the birds like to perch. If you buy an extra window lock for each window in the house you can install one on the opposite end on each already installed locks. This will give you two locks on each window. When you lock them both together, for the winter, they will pull the upper and lower windows closer making the seam between them smaller. This will also provide extra security.

When you shop for the stripping you should read the package to see what size window area each package will cover. Compare this with your window notations. Now be sure that you buy stripping that is at least 1/4 inch wider than the widest seam or gap of each particular window. Then you can insure you will not have to make a second trip to the store because of running short. Speaking of running short, buy a few packages more than you actually need. Do this just incase you make some mistakes when putting the stripping in place. Shop with a mission!

Once home with your prized supplies you will need a pair of scissors for cutting the stripping to size for each full section of each window. First raise each widow and spread a weatherproof or wood glue along the top outside facing edge of the lower window where when it is closed it will be adjacent to the lower sash of the upper window frame. Then place a cut-to-size piece of strip on the bead of glue horizontally from one end against a touching window channel to the channel on the opposite side. Leave the window up and while the glue dries do all the other windows in succession until you have done them all. Remember to leave each window up to allow the glue to dry while you continue to work. This will also prevent you from dislodging the stripping if you were to close the windows to soon. After you have covered the windows in this manner go back to the first one. Glue in place stripping on the bottom of the window where it will shut down onto the windowsill. This can be placed either at the outer or inner underside of the window. Now upon removing the backing paper from the installed stripping form gently close it. The weather-stripping should seal the seam between the upper and lower windows. Make sure it is not too thick (the width does not matter in this case) or else it may be pushed out of place as the window is being shut. Locking the window now should seal air out from the top and bottom of the frame.

Now with this first window, lay (do not glue) the stripping in place where the top corners of the window frame meet the channel that allows the window to move up and down. You do not want to glue it here because this section of stripping will have to be removed come the following spring in order to let the window up and down. Make sure you cover the gaps firmly (but do not squeeze the stripping into place). Cut more stripping to size for both sides, one at a time, of the window frame and glue them in place to the window frame while firmly touching the adjacent part of the frame. This will block the seam on the side of the window. Repeat this procedure on the opposite side.

Now that the window itself is squarely sealed turn your attention to the window stoop. Check for gaps or seams. Do the same thing with the window casing where it meets the wall. If you have discovered gaps (which you should have found when you inspected the windows previously) seal them with clear caulking. Ready to brave the winter weather your windows will give you more than a warm feeling in your heart, when you look fondly at the beauty of fallen leaves or snow, they will secure you a warm satisfying feeling on your skin.

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