Whats happening with my window frame and windowsill??


I'm doing a deep clean of my house to get rid of all the nicotine staining since I've recently stopped smoking. I was prepping my window frame and Sill for TSP. Just wiping it down with a little soap water and scrubbing lightly. All the sudden I noticed little fibers building up on the rag. I thought it was just the many years of nicotine build up, then o realized it was actually little pieces lf wood.

It's my bay window in my living room. I have attached pictures of it. One where I haven't tried to clean, one where I have tried to clean of the frame and one of the windowsill.

What's happening or why? How do fix it? PLEASE HELP! THANK YOU.

q whats happening with my window frame and windowsill

This is of the frame.

q whats happening with my window frame and windowsill

Not as bad as the frame but still happening. This is the windowsill.

q whats happening with my window frame and windowsill

Full windowsill. I didn't try to clean it yet in this picture.

q whats happening with my window frame and windowsill

What the frame looked like before I tried cleaning it.

  17 answers
  • It looks like water damage. The water has seeped into the fibers of the wood. If the wood isn't rotted, you can sand, restain, and seal it.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jul 04, 2021

    First off, best to you on quitting smoking, this had to be difficult and the benefits are for the best.

    This looks like water or moisture damage where the water from the glass window has run down and seeped into the wood causing the fibers of it to raise up. If it is superficial and can be sanded off, sand and restain, Then apply a sealer to block this process.

    One thing to consider is keeping better air flow to the window and wipe dry when you see condensation. It is hard to tell if these are double pane window glass you have. The better the quality window (R factor), the more resistance you'll have for the condensation occurring.

    • Trina Trina on Jul 07, 2021

      Thank you so much. That was very kind. It was hard to stop smoking, very hard. I already feel so much better it's crazy I didn't stop sooner.

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Jul 04, 2021

    I also agree that it looks like water damage. Do your windows get moisture between the panes in cold weather (if it's double-paned glass)??? If so, it means the seal between the panes has failed and requires window replacement. Have those windows been left open when rain has come in???

    Water/moisture is invading from somewhere!

    • See 1 previous
    • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Jul 08, 2021

      I think it's definitely from the plants! Did you have plants on other sills? Are those showing any wear/damage???

      If it's only happening on sills where plants were and they were there throughout cold weather, they not only drip from the bottom, they create humidity around themselves (from the moist soil and oxygen production) which would cause condensation on the single pane window = even more moisture "dropping down" to the sill.

  • I would say water damage since the wood is so fragile. If the bay window has been installed since you move in, I'd contact the manufacturer to see if a seal is broken.

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Jul 04, 2021

    you would need to pull those pieces out to see if there is water damage underneath or moisture - and then repair or replace those pieces once the water issues are addressed

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Jul 04, 2021

    Looks like water damage to me. It may just be from moisture on your window, but their might be moisture beneath this trim.

  • Betsy Betsy on Jul 04, 2021

    Hi Trina: It looks like the grain has raised because of moisture. One way to fix it is to let it dry and sand it smooth. Here's a site that should help you with this:


    Good luck

  • Em Em on Jul 04, 2021

    Sand smooth. Use a rag with a small bit of stain to match and rub in. Use as little as possible. You can always add a second coat. Seal with a poly that is water proof.

  • William William on Jul 04, 2021

    Looks like dry rot. The wood is just dried out from UV rays. Sealer has is gone in some spots. Maybe some water stains from plants. You would need to sand down the wood smooth. Seal with three coats of a water based polyurethane.

    • Trina Trina on Jul 07, 2021

      I'm thinking you are absolutely correct. We get sun in this window almost all day. I also had the whole bay window filled with plants and not all had a bottom to catch the leakage. Some I caught in time but it looks like some I didn't. The window seals are good and it's not a double pane so no water coming from outside. Glad to hear it's an easy fix. Thank you!

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jul 05, 2021

    The finish has been removed and you are into the bare wood. You can sand it smooth then paint or stain & seal.

  • Dee Dee on Jul 05, 2021

    I had the same water damage. Rather than trying to restore it. I bought ceramic tiles and used thin set and put them on my window sill. I love it, because my window sill is wide and now I can put plants on that sill and not have to worry about water. I grouted, and it looks fabulous.

  • Maura White Maura White on Jul 06, 2021

    I agree with sanding it down a bit and add a new sealer on top.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Jul 07, 2021

    I would just lightly sand it down and stain the same color

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Jul 08, 2021

    Trina, Now that "we" are pretty sure of the diagnosis and fix....

    I think Dee's idea is fabulous! You don't have to restrict yourself to square ceramic tiles, you could create a fabulous window seat in the style you love! Envision what sort of "design" you'd love to see on a wall like your shower but transfer that to use on a horizontal surface. Or, you could purchase a stone or quartz "cut off" (super cheap) and then other coordinating tiles to put around it. Or, you could replace it with a species of wood you'd love to see on a bench, you could paint out the trim in black to update it all - your possibilities are endless!

  • You would need to smoothen these by sanding them down and just paint or stain them.