By in Personal

Do your wooden windows sweat moisture all winter?

I hate the fact that during winter season, the cold air outside meets up with the warm moist air inside the house and we have constant condensation coming down on the window panes, and this creates a constant cycle of wiping down the window surface inside the home and a constant threat of mold and mildew all over the window sill.

This can even be made more troublesome when it comes to having a window air conditioner unit sitting there all winter long. I got up this morning only to discover a puddle of condensate of water all over the top of the window air conditioner and along it's sides and also dripping down to the floor to the baseboard and the carpet. I had to find a large towel that could easily wipe up all the excess moisture and then I had to look for areas around the window air conditioner unit to see if there were any areas where the light from outside indicated space that would allow air to flow from outside the house to inside and of course I found some cracks.

I will need to actually wait until the panes and the entire surface gets dry enough so I can buy foam insulation tape that can stick on the areas both outside and inside, under the bottom of the air conditioner unit, at the window sill, so I can seal it off so there will be no future problems.

The only way to stop this kind of heat and moisture transfer is to replace such old style wood framed windows that are becoming almost impossible to find that old houses that date as far back as the 1930s, when the most common home design was of wood framed windows as that was the way things were done way back then. Then came the vinyl framed and the double glass with gas in between the panes and the aluminum framed windows that actually never can rot as they are not of wood and also they are designed to further insulate against heat and cold between outside air and inside air, and the new windows also insulate against noise that is outside thus making the home more quiet from noise pollution.

Until I get the windows replaced I will be dealing with this type of heat and moisture going through the window glass of our home. So, to deal with this, have several cotton towels, and a few spray bottles of anti-mildew spray handy. If it gets bad enough, the paint may even have to be scraped off and in some cases not only repainted but in many cases the wood frame often rots out over time and thus the essential need to replace not only the entire window but the frame and in many cases, the drywall as well as some structural boards that support the window inside the outer wall.

The thing that tends to cause this deterioration process of old wooden windows is simply basic age, neglect, time and the fact that as the sealant, like the wood putty and sealers that were originally used to put around the windows in the past, will give way to separation, due to variations of temperature, humidity and dryness over long periods of years and thus, the end result is, most windows in old houses end up getting removed and replaced. It is almost impossible to find a house that is over 75 years old with the original twelve over twelve wooden windows that are raised and lowered using a counter weight inside the window frames.

Below is an article about old wooden windows so you can see exactly what type of windows we have in our old house of nearly 80 years.


Another look at some old style windows

Image Credit »

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Kasman wrote on January 1, 2018, 4:57 PM

Considering the inconvenience and possible health problems from damp, mold, etc., new double-glazed windows would be a great idea but I know they cost a lot of money in the UK and I'm assuming it's the same where you are.

MegL wrote on January 1, 2018, 5:49 PM

Our house is about 120 years old or more. Most of our windows are the original wooden sash windows, though some of them no longer open. We have had a few replaced with plastic double glazing in the kitchen. Yes, we get condensation. We deal with it, when we see it!

lookatdesktop wrote on January 1, 2018, 5:54 PM

They are around a thousand dollars for the small ones and about twice as much including installation for the larger ones. To get a replicated wood framed window would even cost more. How about 3500 dollars for a custom wood framed window 12 over 12. Indeed expensive.

lookatdesktop wrote on January 1, 2018, 5:54 PM

Yes. It is a very common problem with these types of windows. Oh well, we can't have industry standard windows in old houses or can we?

VinceSummers wrote on January 2, 2018, 9:00 PM

I'm not knowledgeable in construction. I have to have others do what is needed that way.

Angeles wrote on January 3, 2018, 4:28 PM

I don't know much about it, but, wouldn't it be possible to have plastic windows instead of those wooden and expensive ones? Just a thought...