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Repair Putty around Windows

Skill Level: Beginner



Putty around windows is there not only to hold in the glass; it serves the important function of keeping water out, and prevents rotting of our wooden window frames.
The main damage to putty is caused by sunlight, which in time causes cracking to its surface, and allows water to seep in.
Depending on the severity of damage, putty can be either repaired, or will need replacing. The steps to follow are simple and few.


Replacing Putty

Where it cannot be easily and neatly repaired; replacement is the answer.
Remove all loose sections of putty using a hand held scraper. It’s not a fiddly job; just be careful with the scraper! Not only can it slip on the smooth surface of the glass, and cause damage to surrounding paintwork; it can also slip and pierce the skin! Scrape the putty out completely, and clean away any damp greasy residue.

Prime Newly Exposed Woodwork

Don’t be tempted to just re-apply new putty!

Take the (short) time needed to dry out the exposed wood and prime before going any further. Use a smallish paint brush; say, 25mm, and liberally paint the bare wood. Wood primer easily comes off glass so don’t worry too much if you go over a bit. Allow to dry

Apply the Putty

Break off a lump of putty in your hands and knead until soft and pliable. You may find it easier to apply if you break off even smaller pieces and roll into elongated sausage shapes. Press these firmly into the angle of the glass recess around the full rebate

Using a Putty Knife

Carefully smooth the putty into position around the glass rebate. To obtain a neat and uniform finish, work with the straight edge of the knife flush with the glass surface, and the curved bottom edge of the knife resting on the lower wooden rail. Work your way carefully round the window pane, smoothing as you go. You may find it a little difficult at first to get the finish you desire; it’s a tricky technique, and may take a few attempts. Don’t worry though, putty takes a long time to go hard, so if you don’t get it right first time; do it again

Putty Repairs

Surface and shallow damage may be repaired by easier means.

Where the putty is still basically sound, and is firmly adhered to the wooden frame and glass. Cracks and other discontinuities can be repaired by simply filling with an all purpose powdered filler. Firstly, remove all loose putty or flaky paint, sand down and apply the filler using a filler knife. Once dry, rub down using a medium grade abrasive paper till smooth. Take care not to scratch the glass when rubbing down

Glazing Bead Repair

Window panes may also be held in place without the use of putty.

Solid wood glazing beads are also used widely in securing glass. These glazing beads are fixed in position by either pins or fine nails. These too are subject to harsh treatment over the course of time, and periodically require maintenance and repair. They are quick and simple to replace, and can be removed by prising off (carefully) with a wood chisel or screwdriver. Once removed; clean the rebate and apply a bead of clear silicone sealer into the rebate junction. Press the glass pane into place and carefully pin the bead secure

Tools you will need:
Harris Down to Earth 25mm Paint Brush
Harris Down to Earth 25mm Paint Brush
- Pro-User 38mm Chisel Putty Knife
Pro-User 38mm Chisel Putty Knife
- Faithfull 16oz Fibreglass Handled Claw Hammer
Faithfull 16oz Fibreglass Handled Claw Hammer

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