Restoring the Windows

When we bought Minturn we decided we would retain as much historical integrity as possible during the restoration. So when it came to the windows we decided we would not take the easy, more affordable route and replace them, but instead take on the grueling laborious process of restoring the original wood windows

There are 70 something windows total in the house and we have several different sizes. We also have the french style doors on each side of the front of the house that open into the library and the sunroom. And the entire sunroom is walled with the same french style doors. The condition of the windows are pretty bad. Because the house sat for so long without any maintenance the exterior windows paint has chipped and pealed away, leaving the wood bare and exposed to the elements.


The windows also have the weight and pulley system to open the windows, so cool! Some of the ropes were cut and need repaired which will entail removing the entire window frame, replacing the ropes and some of the other hardware and then reinstalling them. Sammy attempted this on one of the windows, if you have driven by you have seen the results; its the window above the carport with plastic tacked over the entire opening. It took him a day to remove it, then 2 days of scraping and sanding to get all the paint off.



Now it has sat waiting to be reinstalled….


The condition of the paint on the interior windows are not as poor as the exterior and luckily were not painted shut! Its amazing that this 93 year old house only has a couple layers of paint in the areas where there wasn’t any wallpaper! Because we are trying to move in within the year we are going to put the full restoration of the windows on the back burner and just get them scraped, sanded and repainted. Over the next few years we will work on a few windows at a time, eventually getting all the ropes repaired and pulleys functioning.

We have started the repair process on the first windows on the exterior of the house. The first step is to remove all of the lead paint. We have tried several products to try and help save time and labor but haven’t had much luck. They either made more of a mess or didn’t remove more than a layer at a time, making us reapply the product several times, with waiting time in between, before we got to the bare wood. We tried Citri-strip, which didn’t remove much and is not pictured. We then tried a couple of the Dumond products, SmartStrip and 2 different Peel Away removers, the most successful being the Peel Away 1 product which is the portion of the wood with no paint left. It looks great but we are still not sure if the cost and process is worth it, still a lot of time spent scrapping!


Now the guys are testing heat guns at low temperatures and scrappers to remove the majority of the loose and cracked paint and of course vacuuming all debris up with the Ermator S-26 HEPA vacuum!


The wood is looking beautiful!


Sammy has primed one of the downstairs exterior windows and the first set of doors that open into the library!




11 thoughts on “Restoring the Windows

  1. We looked at this house several times on “Old House Dreams” and we did end up buying a home in Laurinburg. We had no idea that Hamlet was so close! As fellow old home owners, we wish you the best of luck! (We have driven by a couple of times and are glad to see the work progressing!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On my 123-year-old house I have had excellent luck with Klean Strip STRONGEST formula.

    Also, I never never never use a heat gun on the house. Many historic houses have burned to the ground because of heat guns. I only use a gun on items removed from the house and placed on the outside work table.

    Oh, and what you are doing is looking FABULOUS! I am excited for you, and for the house!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It comes in three strengths. Get the STRONGEST formula. Also the hotter it is outside the more effective the stripper. HOT summers are perfect!


    1. The windows are definitely amazing, but they are extremely time consuming to restore! I know when the house is finished we will be so glad we took the extra time to preserve them though!


  3. I did the 21 windows in our old house using peelaway. If you use it make sure you clean the wood well afterwards. I did not when I first started and the windows leaked a brown stain afterwards! They are a lot of work but worth it in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

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