Allen Bouchard Property Services         Burlington








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A window well insert is a piece of sheet metal cut out to fit in the widow well, the bottom of the window opening where the lower sash comes to rest. You can also call it the widow seat or stool. The sheet metal must cover the area of the well, be fastened with glue and aluminum nails and caulked. The intent is to create a surface where any lead dust or particles will collect, particularly from the up and down use of the sashes.


I am very particular about installing window well inserts due to my interest in maintaining the integrity of the original woodwork and and the proper functioning of the window parts. An insert will elevate the lowest position of the sash when it is shut, not by much but when combined with overuse of caulk, the sash may not rest in proper position causing drafts and possibly interfering with the lock which may no longer be aligned. I have seen inserts that are installed slap dash with daubs of caulking caked in the well and stuck on the bottom of the sash. This is a sloppy job. 


In addition to the inserts, more often than not windows are in need of repair or restoration. Too many original window systems on older homes have been painted over so many time that the parts no longer work properly. What was once beautiful woodwork, never intended to be painted, can no longer be disassembled without doing damage. Minimally, all loose and peeling paint must be scraped. Ideally, the sashes should be stripped and sanded. The upper and lower stops can be cleaned up or re-milled from stock to replicate the original. The tracks should get cleaned up and stripped of paint if necessary. After the parts are cleaned up they can either be painted (I hate to) or rubbed with oil. This may be the only treatment the wood has received in 100 years! The sash weight cords should be inspected and repaired if broken, then check the lock. On old houses the lock is not only for security but seals the two sashes together to stop drafts. Sashes should slide up and down freely, not bind but also not be drafty. They should be able to stay open without a prop or stick (code in Burlington) by either the use of weight cords or side spring pins. 




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