How to Re-Grout & Paint 60-Year-Old Windows

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Redoing the paint and grout on a 60-year-old window is in principal very similar to redoing any wooden window frame. The main difference is in the existing materials. Because of changes in building codes, materials now known to be hazardous -- most notably lead -- might be present. Taking proper precautions while preparing the window for regrouting and repainting is relatively simple but important enough to do exactly right.

Check with your sales title and local planning office to find out if lead or asbestos is present in your window area. This may be impossible to find out for certain. If you're not sure, it's best to proceed as if hazardous materials are present in your window.

Put on your air filter mask. Make sure all people involved in this project are wearing masks. Because of developmental effects of lead on small children, you should not allow your kids to help you with this project.

Lay down dust sheets on both sides of the window. Leave a 1- to 2-inch lip creeping up the wall to catch falls at the corner.

Use your paint scraper to peel off any loose paint. Use long, slow strokes to avoid throwing paint chips into the air.

Sand the painted wood using rough-grit sandpaper until any remaining paint is smooth and level with exposed wood. If you think there's lead in the paint, move on to fine-grit sandpaper and remove all of it. Wear your mask at all times during this part of the project.

Pull off any loose grout by hand, then dig out any remaining grout using your screwdriver.

Apply fresh grout using your putty knife. Scoop out putty about the size of a tablespoon, then press it into the crack you want to grout. Slide the knife sideways, then down -- like a J or L on its side. Wipe off any excess with your rag, then repeat until the crack is filled.

Run a thumb along the wet grout to smooth and shape the grout attractively.

Paint the wood in your window frame using long, even strokes. For best results paint the frame from one side to the other in a single, uninterrupted brush stroke. As you finish each stroke, wipe any paint off the window using your rag.

Wait for the paint to dry, then apply a second coat as necessary.

Scrape off any dried paint on your window using a box knife.

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