Do these traditional wood windows need replacement?

Just wanted to share a somewhat-sad video I stumbled upon on YouTube today. It’s a 2017 video from Pella titled “Protect Your Home from Window Rot – Pella Wood Windows are Now Backed by a limited lifetime warranty”. I’m trying to learn more about replacement window failure, so I figured this video would be interesting. OK, so you’re probably wondering what’s sad about the video. At about 2:36 (video link), there is a set of five images showing the removal of what appear to be traditional wood windows.

Frame One

Looking at the image below, we see what appears to four-light upper sashes with some fairly-minor paint failure and maybe some putty failure along the bottom rail.


My first question is: Why are you removing these windows to begin with??? If you’ve learned a bit about wood window restoration already, you know that restoring these particular sash are Level 3 repairs at worst. Looks like a straight-forward re-glaze and re-paint. John Leeke’s “Save America’s Windows” book estimates a few job types, and lists “repainting” at a $150 job per window and which I assume includes re-glazing as well. Refinishing the four sashes pictured in this video should cost around $600 according to this price point, not a bad price for avoiding window frame mutilation. (I’m interested to hear others’ price estimates in the comments below!)

Frame Two


The picture above shows the contractor applying silver flashing tape to the window sill. (Won’t this just increase the odds of trapping moisture and encouraging rot?) It looks to me like the sill is in really good condition, and look! They left in the spring bronze weatherstripping! Someone really used to care about these old windows and made sure they functioned properly. Maybe they died, or got tricked into thinking replacement would be financially-savvy.

Frame Three


“Let’s just cover the pulley holes with tape.” (Hopefully they left the sash weights in the pocket for when the homeowner wants traditional windows again.) Mitered corners are not as effective at redirecting rain and moisture as the traditional mortise and tenon joint.

Frame Four


Opening too tall for the mass-produced replacement? Just spray some expanding foam in the bottom there! I have a gap like this at the home I rent below all of my windows and it drives me nuts. The contractors who installed our non-traditional windows didn’t even both filling the gap. Why did they make it so easy for water and pests to enter the wall space?

Frame Five


I’m assuming that this person is carrying what were the bottom sashes, and that the double-hungs were 4-over-1s. Don’t those bottom sashes look like they are in great condition? I don’t see any rot near the bottom rails. The only thing is that the entire face of the stiles aren’t painted, so maybe they were painted shut and the homeowners didn’t know to cut the paint so they could open again…

I’ll conclude this video critique with a question: Why didn’t they show what the home looked like after the replacement? Probably because they don’t look too great.

2 thoughts on “Do these traditional wood windows need replacement?

  1. Hey, Cleavelandsash, great post and analysis of what the window pirates are willing to do to perfectly good windows. Chopping out the exterior blind stop is one easy way for them to make the recovery from this damage costly, assuring the pirates the owner will be buying another replacement window.
    Thanks for the link over to my book!

    Liked by 1 person

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