2 Ways To Fix Gaps Around Your Old Wooden Windows' Panes In Time For Winter

If your old wooden windows have gaps around their panes, they are letting a lot of cold air in. This makes your heater work harder to keep your house warm. It also makes your energy bills skyrocket since it has to run constantly. Below are some ways to fix the loose panes and fill the gaps to keep your home warmer in the winter.

Secure Loose Panes With Homemade Shims

If your window panes are loose, they will rattle around when the frigid winter air blows and will create intermittent gaps between them and their frames. As a temporary solution, secure them with homemade shims that will prevent them from moving. These are then surrounded by caulk to further seal the holes.

For your shims, you can use any thin wooden scraps that will fit securely in the windows. Pine strips are the most economical and softest wood, allowing them to mold easier into the space. Do not, however, use thin pieces of metal. While trying to position them, they may scratch, crack, or break the glass which would create an even larger problem for you.

Besides your wooden strips, you will also need a tape measure, small saw or snips to cut the shims, and the equipment described in the section below about caulking.

Measure between the corners on the loose side of the pane, subtracting a half inch. This will allow for equal space between the shim and the corners, preventing too much pressure on the glass that could cause it to shatter. Mark the measurement on the shim and cut it on the line.

Once you have the shim, carefully push on the window pane until the gap is at its largest. Gently slide the shim into the space until you feel resistance. Release the pane and check for any signs of looseness.

Repeat this until all of your panes are secured. Then, follow the section below about caulking the spaces around the shims and the windows to provide a further barrier of protection from the cold.

Caulk Gaps Between The Glass Panes And The Wood

When there are gaps between the glass panes and the wood frame, these can be filled with caulk. It will provide a barrier to the cold air.

Before you begin caulking, care must be taken to remove any old caulking, paint, or weather stripping glue so that the new silicone material will be able to adhere tightly. Use a paint scraper to remove any leftover caulk and paint thinner to remove excess or bubbling paint. 

If there is any glue, apply a thick coating of petroleum jelly and allow it to soak in for an hour. It will soften the glue to make it easier to scrape off or wipe up.

After the window glass and frame are cleaned, use a caulking gun to fill in the holes. Starting at one corner, apply even pressure to the gun and slowly work your way down or across one side of the pane. Then, take your finger to firmly press it in and smooth the surface.

Repeat the above for all sides of the panes until the window has been completely caulked. Allow it to set up for 24 hours, then check for any cracking. If you see any, place a small amount of caulk over the crack and smooth it on with your fingertip.

While the above methods will cut back on the amount of air that leaks in through your old windows, they will not provide a total, permanent solution to the problem. If you find that your windows are leaking more air than they are blocking, you may want to talk to a professional about having newer, more energy-efficient ones installed