Use high-quality putty to seal repair to windows


Replacing loose, missing or cracked glazing compound in windows is a frequent chore for owners of many older homes. The need for this repair often can be cut sharply by using effective procedures when installing new compound, often called putty.

For example, some do-it-yourselfers neglect to paint new glazing compound, or don't seal bare wood before applying the compound. Either of these errors can shorten the compound's life.

A high-quality replacement putty also is important to long-lasting repairs. I have tried many newer types, including water-based products and some sold in rope or caulk form. Most of these work well. Some, such as pre-shaped compound, save time.

However, I keep going back to an oil-based product, UGL Glazol, which is much like traditional putty in texture and method of application, but retains some pliability after installation and resists chipping and cracking. Glazol is made by United Gilsonite Laboratories, of Scranton, Pa.

How to remove deteriorated putty from the window is a common problem.

My system is to pull out old putty that is not easily dislodged. I use a small scraping tool made by Hyde Tools (Southbridge, Mass.) that has a hook-shaped point at one corner. A pointed paint-scraper, a hook-shaped linoleum knife or even an old fashioned beer-can opener can be used. The stuck putty usually can be dislodged by digging the point of the hook into the end of a piece of putty and pulling sharply.

Balky putty sometimes can be softened for removal by brushing on linseed oil and allowing it to soak in for 20 or 30 minutes. A heat gun also will soften putty, but there is danger of cracking the glass with heat.

Readers' questions and comments should be sent to Gene Austin, c/o The Baltimore Sun, Box 8263, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101.

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