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Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Repairing Their Own Wood Windows

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Wood windows give a home a warm and traditional look and feel, and they have the advantage of allowing you to paint over the surface so you can change the look of the windows as you want. However, wood windows will eventually need some repair, as even sealed and coated wood will absorb humidity and moisture, shrinking and expanding as it does. Wood windows may also hold mildew that causes them to rot and chip. Note a few common mistakes homeowners make when repairing windows themselves so you can avoid these when you address your home's windows.

1. Applying putty to bare wood

If you need to replace a broken window pane, you'll add some putty or caulk around the pane and the wood frame to create a nice seal and keep the pane in place. However, putty and caulk are meant to adhere to glass and to the paint on wood's surface, not to bare wood. You may assume that removing the paint or stain of your wood windows will allow for better adhesion, but this can actually cause the putty or caulk to pull away from the wood. You may not even notice this as it may not create huge gaps, but those gaps can be big enough to let in moisture and cause the wood to rot, or allow for drafts in the home. Be sure the wood is painted or stained before adding putty or caulk.

2. Using green wood for replacement pieces

Green wood refers to wood that is not treated with some type of pesticide or chemical that keeps out bugs as well as fungus. You may assume that green wood is a more eco-friendly option, and it may be cheaper at the lumberyard, but this can also mean having your windows infested with termites or seeing them collect fungus, causing the wood to rot and need replacement. Be sure you've chosen treated lumber for any replacement pieces rather than green wood.

3. Using different species for replacement pieces

It's good to know the species or type of wood used for your windows, as each species will absorb moisture faster or slower than others. If you use a different type of wood for replacement pieces, those pieces may expand and shrink more often than the pieces around it, causing the windows to warp and shift out of place. In turn, they may be difficult if not impossible to open, and this may also cause gaps in the window frame that allow for drafts and moisture in the home.