Poll: Did you keep your old-house windows intact?

+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    29

    Question old window Repair vs. Replace debate

    I'm just curious what people in these forums feel about keeping the original windows in old houses if they're in decent shape. It seems like the trend is to replace everything with dual-pane vinyl. I can understand this in most places, but what about those of you who live in mild climates? Would you keep the original windows on, say, a Victorian, knowing that the value of your house would improve if you replaced them? And aren't there other options, like weather-proofing them, rather than removing all those beautiful antique windows? It seems so rare to see old windows nowadays (at least where I live in California) that they really stand out to me when I do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,323

    Default Re: old window Repair vs. Replace debate

    Personally, I like to replace very old windows.

    But I am not crazy about vinyl windows.

    In your particular case, Totalnoob, rebuilding your old windows would make more sense, for many reasons.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: old window Repair vs. Replace debate

    for technical reasons, mainly for energy efficiency definitely replace the windows, even though your in a mild climate during the summer i more energy efficient window will keep a conditioned space cooler. having old windows is simply going to place more strain on a central air conditioner.

    you can very easily save the old sashes and use them in interior walls as transom lights.

    not to mention the older a window gets the more maintenance it requires. vinyl isn't the only type of window, fibreglass and new wood windows can be use but they cost more
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: old window Repair vs. Replace debate

    Thanks, dj1 and jkirk. In my case, I'm on the far northern coast of California, close to the water, and it never gets hotter than 75 here. Being from SoCal, 75 means long sleeves for me! Nobody in this town has A/C, it's not needed until you get further from the coast. My main concern is keeping warm in the winter (though it's actually pretty rare for it to dip below the 40s here - I'm lucky, I know ).
    The downstairs actually has what seems like a decent passive solar heat set-up. The dining room connects to the other downstairs rooms and the stairs, and the East and West walls are mostly window, connected to a sun room on each side. Hard to describe, it was a custom modification to the house some time in the early 1900s. But it should keep the house soaking up heat during the day, and then I can close the curtains to the sun rooms at night in the winter, to keep it in...I hope. For now I think I'm going to make sure all the old windows are properly sealed and maintained, and only replace them if necessary. I'm a sucker for original details, but I think I can get away with it here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: old window Repair vs. Replace debate

    In my century old craftsman victorian, I got tired of putting plastic sheeting up in the winters and scraping frost off of the inside sashes. My sashes would rattle and shake around in the framing and were extremely drafty. I didn't want to do a major window demo for a wood window install AND didn't want vinyl replacements. I went with a tilt sash replacement kit where I took out the old sashes, stops, etc. Installed new jamb liners and wood sashes. The sill, trim and framing are all original and I am pleased with the final result. The only thing I miss is the wavy appearance looking through the glazing of the original 100 yr old windows. This is offset by my appreciation for the energy efficiency and lack of drafts and frost!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,941

    Default Re: old window Repair vs. Replace debate

    In your case I'd recommend improving your existing windows to be a bit more energy efficient. You can apply a low-e film to prevent summer passive heat gains and you can weather strip or overlay with a shrink wrap plastic sheet to prevent winter leakage.

    The TOH program has highlighted companies that remove your existing windows and retrofit them with a thermal dual pane glass panel. They also do something to improve the drafty framework of the window, but I can't remember at this point what it is.

    I am not a fan of vinyl replacements either, and IMHO, you're not doing yourself or the house any favors to install them. Retrofit widows are ugly, no matter what style or type they are. You can replace the window completely with a "new construction" window that will approximate the look and style of the existing sashes if you're up for that expense. Vinyl in this case is less repulsive, but again, IMHO, not a great improvement.

    My major problems with vinyl windows is that they look cheap, they operate with a heavy hand, and in general just aren't appealing. Their claim to fame is that vinyl does not "wick" heat and cold the way that metal windows do, so that vinyl window will sweat just a tad less than aluminum/metal windows. The fact is, when the temps are that extreme, the glass transfers as much or more heat as the frame.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: old window Repair vs. Replace debate

    So much better to repair if you have good quality original wood windows.

    We just bought a 1920 home wiht original wood double hung windows. All original glass. I'll get a better idea in winter but they seem sealed fairly well since our hoem maintain comfortable humidity levels even when it's hotter than heck outside.

    I think the window sashes are nearly 2" thick!!! They just don't make them like that anymore. Only 1 or 2 need to be adjusted and new seals put in. 4 or 5 have broken ropes. But that's not bad considering we have 42 windows. Yup 42, on jsut a 3200 square foot 2 story home. Most are about 39x60".

    We removed had the old ugly aluminum storms that came with the home, sc****d and repainted every windows and we're startign toadd some storm windows.

    Let's see, repalcement windows inclduing soem large picture windows would run around $25k installed. Storm windows, which ultimately save nearly as much energy without impacting the appearance significantly will cost around $6500 installed.

    So how long woudl it take to recover $19k with replacement windows vs. storm windows?... or even repalcements vs. the originals. Even if I spend around $2000 per year on heating and cooling, and I cut that bill by 1/3 (not likely), I'm still looking at around 30 years for a payback. vs. storm windows, it's probably closer to 150 years. I also lose some character, light, and will it might cost me another $2000 or so to repair the exteriro stucco and interior plaster after the contractors are done ripping out the windows. Its' not a gentle process.

    Nope, repair, add good quality storm windows and enjoy your well made original windows. The roginals have pasted 90 years, why would I think they won't last another 90. replacement sure won't.


    Now, on our previous 1968 home with junk awning style windows. Ya, we tossed those and repalced them. IT was a nice improvement, but we maybe saw a 20% improvement in our heating and cooling bills at most. SO after spending close to $5000 for 10 windows we were saving maybe $200/year. I bet those windows will need repalcement again within 25 years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: old window Repair vs. Replace debate

    We're hoping to just repair the windows on our 1937 home. Waiting on a quote to do just that!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •