Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Wish I Didn't Do Windows

I remember when my house inspector casually noted that the windows and trim needed to be scraped and painted. That's something you can easily do yourself, he said, with a wave of his hand. It's important to note the only time I'd ever painted ANYTHING up to that point in my life was during craft or art projects. I ignored this and placed paint windows on my mental list of house repairs not worth freaking out about and promptly forgot all about it.

Fast forward two years and I started noticing the peeling window paint to the point where I couldn't ignore it anymore. By that time I learned to paint since during my first two weeks of home ownership my mom and stepdad helped me paint every room in the freaking house. So while I may not be able to do plumbing, electrical or even hang pictures level, I CAN paint.

I spent days and days slaving in the hot sun, scraping, painting and caulking my front porch and three lousy windows. That's all I could take for this year. The other nine windows will have to wait until next year.

Did I mention this was a loong, tedious job? Now I know why people trade wood windows for vinyl despite the expense and aesthetic issues. Here are some helpful tidbits about painting windows and trim that I learned:
  1. Although they call it scraping, a simple scraper isn't going to cut it. Do not be cheap like me and try to make the scraper work. My new heat gun is worth its weight in gold.

  2. If chunks of hard stuff start falling off when you scrape the window frame you probably shouldn't ignore it or try to fill the gaps with ordinary caulk. It's glazing, which is different, and redoing it SUCKS, but you can handle it. The glaze takes weeks to cure enough just to be able to paint it. Although the stuff in the tub is supposed to be better, next time I'm trying the stuff in the tube.

  3. It pays to do your research. I found tons of great information at House in Progress and Fixing Our Historic House. Now there are some folks who can REALLY repair a window (unlike yours truly who was kinda just patching them up).

  4. Don't paint the unpainted edges of your storm windows and windows. There's a reason they're unpainted and it's because if you paint them you'll have a hell of a time getting them back in and out.

  5. Did I mention this took a long, long, looong time? Like take your reasonable time estimate and multiply it by five. It took me around 15 hours per window, although that includes some drying and cleanup time. But that time provided a LOT of amusement for my neighbors. (look, Ethel, she almost fell off the ladder again!)

  6. Even if your windows don't need to be repainted yet, you may need to clean out all the scary gunk from the grooves in the window sill and weep holes to ensure the moisture that accumulates can get out.

  7. Paint your windows and trim sooner rather than later. Ignore the peeling paint and you might be inviting wood rot, mold, mildew or other issues.

  8. Behr has a paint with primer already in it. We'll see how it holds up, but it definitely saved me time.

Still after all the hassle, don't they look purty? Now my front windows look much better than my neighbor's. Ha! Take that Frank, with your weed-free lawn.* Only nine more windows to go. Oi.

*For the record, I like my neighbor. I'm just a wee bit competitive and he's kicking my butt in the lawn category.


  1. Oh no! I have to do MY windows... I'm dreading it already!
    Thanks for the bits of advice... I can already tell they will save me a couple hours at least.
    They sure look nice!

  2. I am so proud of you! Yay DIY woman!


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