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Thermal Expansion Cracking of Brick
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Window sash repairs: this article gives simple steps illustrating how to replace a broken window-sash rope or as an alternative we describe how to install a replacement track to keep a window sash in place and operating properly without air leaks or drafts. Where to buy windows or window parts: a list of window and window hardware manufacturers is included at the end of this article.
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Window Rope Repair / Replacement, Window Ropes, Chains, Pulleys, Tracks, Sliders, Controls & Sash Latches
Window ropes (or chains) combined with window sash weights hidden in a cavity along either side of the window frame, were used to offset the weight of the window sash and to ease window opening and closing.
[Click to enlarge any image]
The window rope is secured to the top (red arrow in our sketch, below left) or occasionally to the bottom of the window sash at each side.
The rope (or flat metal chain) runs up the side of the window sash in a groove (our photo at far left), passes over a pulley (green arrow in sketch at below left) at the top of the window frame (photo at close left).
The window rope then extends down into a cavity to its connection at a (usually cast iron) window weight (blue in our sketch at left).
Repair of a broken window rope is not technically difficult, but it requires careful removal of the interior vertical window trim from one (or both sides) to expose the window sash weight and its cavity.
A new window sash rope is tied to the weight, passed up over the pulley and out into the window frame where it is secured (usually by a knot pushed into a hole at the window sash bottom corner).
If you need to replace the sash rope on the upper window sash you will need to remove in this order:
Window Sash Control Without Window Rope Replacement
A step up in energy efficiency from just replacing a broken window rope is the combination of insulating the window sash weight cavity and installing an air-tight window sash track. This method re-uses the original window sashes. (For the maximum window energy efficiency gain you'd replace the entire window assembly with replacement, insulated glass sashes - an easy but more expensive step.)
Several manufacturers offer a snap-in window track that uses a spring-loaded or even a simple aluminum center "parting strip" between the two sashes. To make this repair the window pulleys are removed and discarded - typically there are screws at the top and bottom of the pulley that permit it to be removed without any disassembly of the window trim.
But to get the replacement window tracks in place you may need to remove window trim to permit removal of the upper and lower window sashes.
The window ropes are removed from both sashes and discarded. The window weights and some of the window rope or chain are left in the cavity on either side of the window - just push the cut end of your chain or rope through the pulley opening and into the cavity where it will lie fallow.
The replacement window track left and right sides are held in place along with the upper and lower sashes as an entire "assembly" that is then set into the window jamb. Tacking a new outer wood strip molding in place holds the entire assembly in place.
The replacement window track kit usually includes foam or instructions to seal with caulk the surface behind the track - between the back side of the track and the window jamb surface. This step will eliminate drafts around your window sashes even though you're re-using the original window sashes.
The down side of this approach is that you have left the old un insulated cavity on either side of the window - an imperfection in the insulation of the building exterior wall. To insulate that cavity, before we set the assembled sashes and new track in place we drill openings that permit filling the old window weight side cavity with spray foam.
See WINDOWS & DOORS our home page for window and door information, and also see WINDOW TYPES - Photo Guide for a photographic guide to window and door types and architectural styles. Our links listed at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article provide in-depth articles on window and door selection, inspection, installation, problem diagnosis, and repair.
-- Window manufacturer list adapted and paraphrased, edited, and supplemented, with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
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