If you follow along on my Instagram Stories then you know that Devin and I own a 130 year old Victorian house! Our house has some great history, as you can imagine with a 100+ year old house. The most notable being that the tailor who made and brought corduroy pants into fashion lived here! I'll have a blog post soon with the history of our house.
We bought the house in July 2014 and have been slowly working on restoring and fixing it up. Although our house stayed in the same families hands for decades, the last couple of decades it changed many hands and when we bought it it was a rental and, as you can imagine, was neglected.
Exterior wise, one thing that we really needed to do was the siding, windows, trim, and decorative accents. When we bought our house, the 1st floor was covered in vinyl and the 2nd floor and attic level was the original clapboard. I really wanted to try to paint and restore the original clapboard but we weren't able to find anyone who would do it due to the level of neglect. As much as I hated having to do it, our best option was to get siding installed over the original clapboard. I found a company who agreed to follow all the Victoria Stick Style accents so it still would look like it did without the siding. I still wish we could have re-done the clapboard but it ended up looking great!
Above is a photo of what our house looks like now with the new siding (the blue one) and what it looked like we bought the house (the green one)!
Now that our siding is complete, it was time for us to paint the windows and all the decorative trim. Devin and I joke that our house has a bit of a contractor curse. Everyone who we have hired to do work on our home, has been a struggle, either by taking waaaayyyyyyy longer than quoted (like months and months and months longer) or by doing a pretty bad job. Instead of taking a chance on hiring someone to do our windows, I decided to do them myself! I mean, I couldn't make them look worse than they already were!
I watched a couple of YouTube videos and read a few articles online and it seemed simple enough so I gave it a shot! Over the last couple weeks, I spent 4-5 hours each day on our windows. Keep reading to learn how I did it!
We have 45 windows on our house and the vast majority of those windows are 6 foot windows so it's been a big job! Some of our windows had glazing that was still good but some of them had glazing that was cracked and crumbling. For those of you unfamiliar with glazing, it's the caulk like product that's on the part where the glass meets the wood. It helps hold your window in place and prevents water from getting inside. Soooo, it's pretty important!
LEAD PAINT! I need to make this caution before we move forward. Lead paint was used until 1978. If you have a home that is older than that, then chances are there is lead paint that is present. Lead paint can cause some serious damage to our bodies but for the most part, as long as you aren't inhaling the dust or eating the paint chips then you will more than likely be fine. You can have your house tested for lead paint via a contractor or by a DIY kit like this one: https://amzn.to/2PCATUa. Before you do anything, please Google how to prepare yourself for lead paint removal so you will be safe. For me, I wore a mask to prevent breathing in dust, laid down a tarp to catch all the paint chips to dispose of, immediately took a shower afterwards, and set my clothing aside to be washed separately.
To re-iterate the importance of a mask, the above photo is of my arm after spending a few hours scraping paint and after I removed my gloves! It's a dirty process!!!! And no, that's not a tan line, that's a dirt line!
Tools: You will need the following tools for this project. I've linked the tools that I used!
- Ladder: One that's tall enough to reach all of your windows. You may also want to rent scaffolding if you have high windows!
- 6 Way Paint Scraper: This tool is great for getting into the corners of the window, removing the glazing, and pulling out any protruding nails.
- Professional Paint Scraper: This paint scraper is pricier than the other one but it will remove the paint so much faster! I bought this halfway in and it made a HUGE difference! Like I was able to do twice as many windows in the same amount of time!
- Sand Paper: This will make sure everything is smooth and even.
- Glazing: You will use this to replace the glazing that you remove.
- Glazing Points: These are what hold the glass to the wood and you will want to have a few on hand to replace any points that are broken or that get removed when you remove the glazing.
- Wood Filler: You will use this to fill in any cracks or holes in your wood. Especially on older windows, this will be an important step.
- Exterior Primer: This will help prepare your wood for the paint and help resist mildew and stains and make your paint last longer. We used the Valspar brand All-Weather Exterior Primer/Sealer that's only available at Lowes.
- Exterior Paint: You know what this does! We used the Valspar brand Duramax Exterior Paint + Primer in the color Blue Kiss 7004-11 that's only sold at Lowes.
- Paint Brush: You will want one that will be the right size for your windows.
- Painters Tape: This will make sure you have crisp lines on the glass.
- Razor Blade: To clean up any dried paint on the glass.
- Tarp or Large Trash Bag: You will put this down underneath the window to catch your scraped paint to dispose of.
- Mask: You will need to wear a mask to limit your exposure to lead paint dust. Even if you don't have lead paint, you will want to wear a mask because paint has some nasty chemicals in it.
- Gloves: You will also want to wear gloves that will protect your hands but that are thin enough for you to scrape and paint. The gloves will not only help keep your hands clean but will also help prevent splinters and scraping your knuckles on the wood.
The window above is one of the smallest windows on our house and it's part of our laundry room. As you can see from the photo, the old paint is peeling and the glazing is cracked pretty bad and starting to fall off.
Once I started to remove the paint, I could see the poor neglected wood underneath. Those cracks are what you will need the wood filler for so your wood is happy and healthy again!
Once the old paint is scraped and the glazing is off, your window will look like this. Ideally, you will want to scrape ALL of the paint off but sometimes there are parts that just will not come off and that are flat against the wood. If that happens, just make sure they are smooth and not peeling and you should be okay to paint over them.
The next step is to apply the wood filler to any cracks, holes, and blemishes in the wood. The filler will change colors to let you know when it's dry and ready to be sanded and paint. You will also need to replace any missing points and put the new glazing back on. The above photo shows the window with wood filler and glazing. I used a glazing that comes in a tube that you use with a caulk gun and it worked perfectly! It's linked above in the Tools section! Once the wood filler is dry, sand over it so you have a nice, smooth finish.
Once you have the paint scraped, wood filler on, and glazing on, then it's time to prime. You will want to let your glazing dry for a while before you put on the primer but as long as you don't need to put your primer on over the glazing, then you can go ahead and prime. The glazing will need to cure for a few days before you will be able to paint it so be sure to check the label on your glazing. Also be sure to check the weather forecast! It will need to be rain free for the next 24 hours after you glaze.
Once your primer is dry and the glazing has cured, now you can paint! The important step here is that you will need to paint not only the wood but the glazing as well and you will need to extend the paint over outside of the glazing just a little bit. This will make sure it's sealed and watertight. For this, I used painters tape to tape around the glass so that I would have a nice clean line once I removed it. Once things were taped and ready to go, I put on the paint. I did two coats of paint on each window.
Once you have completed your second coat, go ahead and remove the painters tape while the paint is still wet. This will help make sure you have a clean line. You will also want to pull the tape at an angle to get the cleanest lines. You can then step back and admire your beautifully glazed and painted windows!
WINDOW BREAKING! The above window I accidentally hit with a ladder. Things happen and it's okay and an easy/cheaper fix. Older windows are also more fragile and can have imperfections on the edges that can cause the window to break as you are removing the glazing. Take your time and be careful. We had a smaller window break because the glass was already chipped on the edge and when I pulled the old glazing and scraped, it snapped. You don't have to replace the whole window! Call up a local glass company and they can come out and replace the glass for you! The cost to replace the glass in both of those windows with the labor was $200 and they had it done in less than 2 hours. Hopefully, you won't break a window but if you do, it's not the end of the world!
If you're in the Lafayette area, we use Lafayette Glass Co. on Teal Road. They've been super great to us and even made the glass shelves for our bathroom remodel!
I did the 1st floor windows by myself so Devin was sweet and put notes in the window from the cats telling me how prrrrfect of a job I was doing! :)
We still have about 10 windows to do on the second floor and then the windows will be officially done! Then it's time to do the decorative accents so stay tuned for that blog!
Want to see how we refinished our 130 year old front door? Click HERE!