Upgrading Wood Storm Windows

This story shows you how to upgrade wood storm windows.

Many older storm windows are more picturesque than effective. But don't give up on them, especially if you like the way they look. In addition to the repairs shown, you can add hardware and weatherstripping that will make them seal more effectively.

Often you will find built-up and perhaps peeling paint on the old wood storms and the frames or exterior moldings into which they fit. You may need to scrape away several coats of the old paint before you apply new paint.

Building a new wood storm calls for woodworking skills. If you are unable to duplicate the joints you see in the old storms, contact a local woodworker or lumberyard, who may be able to build them. However the cost can be high; it may be time to consider new storm windows.

Prestart Checklist

Less than an hour for most repairs

Paint scraper, caulk tube, hammer, drill, pliers, screwdriver, plane or sureform tool

Using basic carpentry tools

Set the storm in the frame and carefully check for gaps.

Caulk, glazing putty, nails, hardware as needed

A rattling storm window

A rattling storm or screen window sometimes just needs new closing hardware. An old turn button that is inoperable or caked with paint can be quickly replaced.

Reapply glazing putty

Reapply glazing putty to a storm window using a caulk-tube applicator. Or press in a rope of standard putty and smooth it as shown.

Defective hanging latch

A defective hanging latch can make it difficult for a wood storm to seat properly. If you cannot find a replacement latch at a home center or hardware store, check online sources.

Eye hooks

Some wood storms attach with eye hooks on the inside. These must be installed with some precision so they pull the window just tight enough. To install a new one, first install the hook. Slip the hook onto the eyelet, pull the storm tight, and mark for the eyelet's position. Drill a pilot hole and screw in the eyelet.

Storm is too tight

If a storm is too tight even after the paint has been stripped, use a plane or shaping tool to shave off the excess. Remove enough so the window fits snugly, then remove some more to allow for the paint's thickness. Then paint.

Self-stick foam

Apply self-stick foam to the surface that faces the storm for a tighter seal.


If there is room on the sides, you can install V-strip to the sides of the opening.

Condensation buildup

Condensation buildup between the storm and the window indicates the storm is sealing well. To relieve the condensation, drill two or more 3/8-inch holes, angled upward, into the storm window's bottom rail.


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