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Give your windows new life

Give your windows a few more years’ service by applying new putty. Here’s how.

07/05/2013Print article

Windows with flaking paint and brittle putty that has started falling out are unattractive and can also be costly, because they let the heat out.

Give your windows a few more years’ service by applying new putty. Here’s how.

By Kerstin Danielsson
Photography Sofi Sykfont


1. Remove the putty
Start by taking the window off its hinges. Remove the putty with a suitable knife. A heat gun can be handy if the putty is hard to remove, but be careful so you don’t shatter the glass.

2. Remove the window pins
When the putty is out of the way, you will be able to see little pins that hold the glass in place. Pull them out and remove the pane of glass.

3. Clean the window sash
Scrape all of the putty and paint off down to the bare wood. Then treat the wood with wood oil.

4. New putty
First apply a narrow bead of putty to the window sash. Then put the pane back in and attach it with new pins. Put a lump of window putty in your hand. Roll it into a line that is the same length as the sides of the pane, where the putty will go.

5. Smooth it on
Keeping the putty knife at a slight angle, pull it in a long movement so the putty is smoothed into an even line. Then remove any excess putty on the sides.

6. Fix the corners
It can take a little practise to smooth the putty in the corners. Try to create as even an edge as possible, following the line of the sash.
7. Paint
Allow the putty to dry. Then finish off by painting the window sashes. Follow the instructions for how long the putty should dry before painting. Often you can paint more or less straight away if you use linseed oil paint, otherwise it may need to dry for a few days. Paint on the putty with an overlap of a few millimetres on the window, because the paint forms a protective coating over the putty. Scrape off any excess paint on the window with a scraper that won’t scratch the glass.
Putty is an elastic mass that is used to fill cracks and joins. The putty goes between the window pane and window sash and prevents moisture from getting into the sash, which could otherwise cause the wood to rot. When the putty gets old and cracks this is because the sash has absorbed the oil in the putty. Then it is high time to put new putty on your windows.

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