In Working Windows, Revised and Updated Edition, Terry Meany explains with detail, humor, and accessibility everything you'll need to know to repair, replace, or restore almost any window, regardless of its age. You will find: detailed instructions for disassembling and repairing all sorts of wood windows, repair hints and tricks of the trade you won't find anywhere else, easy ways to clean and restore original hardware, safe and efficient methods of stripping, refinishing, and painting effective ways to eliminate drafts and rattles, invaluable information on tools and materials and more.
Date Published 9/1/1998
Rated By: "onbauman"
From: Omaha, Nebraska
Comments: Save Our Windows Mr. Meaney combines straightforward, grounded explanations with the right amount of humor to keep this work from becoming just another "how-to" text. This is a must for all restoration "purists" out there who want to save original building materials to the greatest extent possible.
Rated By: "email@example.com"
From: Marblehead, MA
Comments: Working Windows Works It arrived on Friday, and was an easy read, with lots of diagrams and helpful hints. On Sunday I attacked a 73 year old double hung window which had been painted shut for decades, and everything I encountered was just as described in the book. By the end of the day, the window had been reassembled and both sashes now function properly. My total out of pocket cost was less than $20, including enough materials to do several other windows. To make this review a "5" the author should include a reference list of where to find those "hard to find" parts (including internet URL's).
Rated By: A reader
Comments: Window repair review-one persons opinion I found the book to be very general and basic. Most of the information I already knew. There are methods of retrofitting old windows I have seen on home type programs that lightly discuss these topics and which the book does not. Also, the book could use a lot more diagrams and discussions on finishes and paint. The book limits itself to actually restoring to original working condition old windows and nothing about updating. This book is for beginners except that for beginners there should be a lot more pictures. I did find some good tips but not the information I was personally hopeing to find. I am selling the book back.
Rated By: Jason M Mitton
From: Geneva, IL
Comments: Excellent Guide for DIY I have recently purchased an older home that has a number of double-hung windows that need sash cords replaced and some minor repairs. I had never worked with wooden windows before and was at a loss for knowing where to start or what to do. This book was invaluable. I am half way through all the windows and without 'Working Windows' I would still be lost. The style of writing is fun and informative. The book contains general information through specific product recommendations.
Rated By: A reader
Comments: Not what I was expecting An important part of window DIY is the glazing. I was surprised to see the author's very brief comments on the subject and recommended having glazing done by a hardware store or glazier. Basic book that I knew most of already or got the same information from the instructions on the back of the glazing can. Drawings were sketchy and of little use. I didn't care much for the writing style: notes stuck in the text, folksy language, similar subjects spread out in the book rather than grouped under a single heading and referred back to in other parts of the book. I am returning the book.
Rated By: houseinprogress
From: Chicago, IL
Comments: Great primer for restoring gorgeous old windows A great primer that convinced us to restore our classic six light double-hung windows instead of replacing them. So why would someone want to restore old windows instead of just replacing them?
A) They're gorgeous, practical works of art...the eyes of the house. Our windows are "six-light prairie style, double hung" windows. They're one of the typical syles for bungalows in the Midwest, and are a big part of what make our house the thing we love.
B) When restored properly, they will be weathertight as well as beautiful. (They are NOT maintenance free, however. If you are looking for maintenance free, restoration may not be for you.)
C) It will cost us less to restore these windows than to replace them with a vinyl clad wood window. This is based on the number of windows we have and the shape that they are in.
If those benefits are interesting to you, you need this book. Meany has written a fun book useful for the do-it-yourself'er as well as those wanting to learn about how window restoration works. With years of experience, Terence brings wisdom and humor (and some nice diagrams) to his writing. He gives beginners a realistic preview of what you're likely to encounter. Those with experience might find the book a bit basic but will appreciate the breadth of his experience and his recommendations on how to handle a few unusual challenges.
This winter, we have toasty warm, restored and WORKING windows :)
Rated By: Simon St.Laurent
From: Dryden, NY
Comments: Answers I couldn't find elsewhere I've been annoyed for years by books on doors and windows that were pretty much exclusively about NEW doors and windows. Old windows? Can't fix 'em with a touch of paint? Chuck 'em.
This book takes a serious look inside of old windows, though it's probably most useful for houses 1890-1940. (My house is 1929, and the windows matched his directions perfectly.) While my windows were straightforward, and this book gave me the courage to take them apart, I also enjoyed the discussions of more difficult cases and how to cope with them.
I'm actually happy this book didn't spend time on other options for old windows - how to replace them is outside the scope of the book, though the author certainly says there are times it's appropriate. It's good to find a book which explains one set of things and explains it well instead of trying to explain every possibility - especially when window replacement is covered in seemingly infinite depth in every other book on this subject.
Rated By: Jane Powell "bungalowkitchens"
Comments: This book is the bible of wooden window repair! The revised and updated edition of Working Windows probably has twice the information of the original book, which was already the best book on the subject. And yet the price is still the same! I've repaired lots of windows, so I'm hardly a novice, but I still picked up a lot of tips and tricks and things I didn't know. And it's lovely that someone still wants to write about how to repair one of the eminently repairable things in a world in which most things are no longer repairable but merely disposable. In a way it's a sad commentary on our society that everything is thrown away rather than repaired, though many modern products aren't even repairable (like the replacement windows so many people have been talked into- when their rather short lifespan is over, they'll just go to the landfill).
The author's writing style is humorous, which I enjoyed, because I see no reason why providing information precludes it from being entertaining (if you prefer that, the National Park Service has a nice, dry, boring article on the repair of historic windows which is widely available). And he explains things clearly enough that even someone who isn't very "handy" could still manage to repair a window.
Anyone with wooden windows could benefit from having (and using) a copy of this book.
Rated By: C. Brown
From: Jacksonville, FL
Comments: Excellent Guide for Restoring Windows My husband and I decided to restore the double hung windows in our 70-year old house, and this book has been a great guide. The book addresses every issue we have come across in our restoration, and the explainations are easy to understand. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Rated By: Paul Brazelton
From: St. Paul, MN
Comments: The Ultimate Guide for 'Permanent' Windows Everyone who's owned an old house has gone through it - after being barraged by literature from window manufacturers, energy companies and design mags, you start thinking about putting in new replacement windows. It makes sense, right? Spend the money now, and reaps the dividends in energy savings with those smart, vinyl clad future-proof windows.
Some of us continue to read past this, and we learn more beyond the hype. Those old double-hung sashes that have been keeping out the rain and wind for a century would be replaced with sashes that will last a few decades at most - replacements that often cannot be painted or even repaired when their exotic caulks inevitably fail. Replacments that nullify the architectural integrity of your older home. Replacements manufactured with materials that have a profound negative environmental impact.
So, what to do? You're tired of the breezes through your home, the condensation and frost in the winter, the windows you can't even open, the money you can see wafting out of doors every time the heat or AC kicks in. Can you repair these ancient windows, make them work like new - maybe even work *better* than new?
Working Windows is the answer to that last question, and answers with an emphatic "YES!". Aside from windows rotting clear off of their frames, this book will help you recover, restore and improve your existing windows. From fixing problems with rot and warping to sealing out the weather to pointing and glazing, this book covers everything. Want to make your own storm windows? It's got it. How about screens? Sure thing.
The market for restoring older windows is a bit on the fringe, so finding the parts can be tricky, and in this revised version even that's taken care of: there are addresses and URLs for just about every tool and material mentioned. If you just want to open those painted-shut sashes for free, that's covered, but if you're looking for high end architecturally-sound storm windows, that's covered, too.
My only complaint with the book is that some of the illustrations are cryptic. Perhaps in the third edition some full color, detailed images can help walk us through window restoration.