External Window Frames - Linseed Putty?

20 Dec 2006
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United Kingdom
I live in a Victorian house with original wooden windowframes. The outside of the windows meet the sandstone walls as expected, but they are "joined" by something which could be putty, which has then been painted (I assume in gloss). However, some of this putty (I don't know if it is, I'm just calling it putty) is coming away from the wall and I'm aware I should replace this before the winter starts again to ensure I don't get a winters worth of moisture in there.

I was recommended linseed oil putty by my father in law, who said I should cut out the old stuff, put in the new, then repaint.

I'm happy to do that, but just wanted to make sure I was using the correct stuff. The putty would be covering some sandstone too (at least it is at present).

This stuff is not the silicone sealant, and I want to use something traditional, to keep with the look of the building.

Should I use linseed putty or something else? Bear in mind it's not wood on wood, it's wood onto sandstone.

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Thanks Nick

I wasn't aware there was a difference between mastic and silicone sealant, I really must read up on that!

I hadn't thought of using lime mortar to fill the gaps. I had another look at what was coming away and it's grey and very hard, but can bend a little like lead, which was odd.

Either way, what's the best stuff for me to use? Lime mortar, linseed mastic, combination of both or something completely different?
Chuck, I'm not an expert but I've just sold a house that was built in 1860 - having lived in it for 12 years. I used mastic around the windows. Because it was a rusty colour it seemed to fit in well with the old brick. I never had any problems. Not sure about the lime putty - personally I would have thought that would be suitable for a much older house. If your house is constructed of brick, mastic is probably the way to go. If you don't get an answer from someone here, try http://www.periodproperty.co.uk/discussion_forum.htm
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That's a good link Nick, thanks

I should have said, my house is sandstone, so maybe the mastic wouldn't be the idea thing.
chuckalicious said:
That's a good link Nick, thanks

I should have said, my house is sandstone, so maybe the mastic wouldn't be the idea thing.

Whoops, you did say sandstone. My mistake. :oops:
You can use linseed oil putty. Your original advice was ok. They didn't have mastic in 1860, tar maybe, and the frames have survived, does that tell you something? :confused:

Idealy, you ought to remove all the modern paint on the windows, recoat with linseed oil, then use 4 to 5 coats of linseed oil paint. This doesn't dry as hard as modern paint, and can move with the wood. It's expensive per litre, but since I did 5 coats over 50 sq ft, with 1/2 litre, I don't think that's expensive. The other benefit is the next maintenance you will need is a coat of oil in 6 to 7 years time.
Oilman, I've been looking into the linseed oil paints, and they look good, however, how long do they take to dry? I keep reading that they are slow drying, and where I am, in Scotland, it's never dry for more than a few days at a time. Will it damage the paint if it gets wet before it dries?

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