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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Refurbish or replace

    I have a house built in 1920 that still has the original windows that are very neglected. I am trying to decide if I can restore the windows or do I need to replace them. I have attached some pictures of one of the windows. My main question is can I save the windows or do I need to replace them.

    I like not only the original trim, but also the fact that the sashes, and in most cases the glass are original. If I can refurbish I have a list of questions.

    1. The weather stripping is zinc (I believe), can I use a more modern weather stripping (plastic, foam, etc.)?

    2. When I remove the sashes, should I sand both sides down or use a stripper to get to bear wood?

    3. How do I make sure the stain matches the old?

    4. Would it be better to remove all of the trim and strip that and select any stain I want?

    Thanks

    Morgan





  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Elyria, Oh.
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: Refurbish or replace

    You windows are very restorable. I have personally restored about 385 sashes most of them in my 99 year old apartment building. You need to removed them from the window frame, put them on a saw horse(outside) on pavement, heat gun off the paint(lead based probably), sand them, remove the old glazing and reglaze, prime and paint. You can also use a paint stripper which is a little safer but messy and expensive.

    Make sure that you clean up the paint chips with a wet/dry vac with a HEPA filter. Most of the time I did not touch the inside of the sash unless the varnish/shellac was old, dark and crackled and then I used denatured alcohol and steel wool to remove the finish and then used tung oil to finish the window.

    If you try to restain you will never match the old stain. It is just not possible. Less is better on the inside of the window and actually the "patina" can add to the ambience of the house.

    Be aware that the typical glazing compound that you buy in a can takes lots of skill to apply correctly and takes weeks to dry enough to apply paint to it. After going through several gallon cans I gave up on it and use the glazing compound that comes in a typical caulk tube and is easily applied using a caulk gun. Drys in a day and takes about 80% less time to apply. Good luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Refurbish or replace

    I say refurbish - they look like they are in pretty good condition from your pictures.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    975

    Default Re: Refurbish or replace

    Keep the zinc for sure. It costs a fortune in labor to have it put in; All the shapes you need for spares are still available here:
    http://accuratemw.thomasnet.com/prod...le-hang-sash-?
    If it's still in good shape, just scr ape it clean of paint, clean out the j-hook on the upper check rail, wax it, and it's good for another lifetime.
    You have Cadillac quality windows there.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: Refurbish or replace

    The zinc, when adjusted correctly can seal just as well and will last 10X longer than foam or plastic. Brass is another option.

    If you don't mind the appearance, storm window with Low-E coating will give you ALL of the efficiency and air sealing as a new window, and you can take your time rebuilding them. Or just purchase a couple storm windows as temporary windows while z couple are being restored at a time.
    1925 Two-Story Stucco Beaux Arts Neoclassical

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Refurbish or replace

    Well, Casey and motoguy128 essentially answered my first question I just posted about the weather stripping. I agree with them about keeping your windows. They appear to be in pretty good condition. I'm building storm windows and installing them one at a time before removing the prime windows and fixing/stripping/painting/reinstalling. Unfortunately mine have several coats of paint, many of which are just 'globbed' on. Huge buildup in the corners, ect.
    I love the prairie or craftsman style muntions (mullions) in your windows. See how narrow the muntions/mullion bars are? You would never get a replacement window with that profile I believe. Even expensive modern true divided lite windows have a much thicker bar. Plus, if you still have any of the original wavy glass in your windows, that's a treat on it's own and is very expensive to replace. I love how things shimmer looking through it.
    Last edited by Mike Weber; 06-07-2012 at 09:20 PM. Reason: can't shut up

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    southern NH
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Refurbish or replace

    These windows are very similar to mine but I do not have the zinc or any metal. My concern is the draftiness due to the weights in the double hung cavity and the single pane glass.
    Having just had an energy audit done in January ( I live in southern NH (where it can be cold and snowy) it is no wonder that it appears that my windows are the biggest source of the rising oil bill costs. ( yea I know the cost per gallon is the real culprit)

    I would love to hear from people who decide what to do - when they have historic older home (mine is a 4 square hip roof wooden clapboarded "kit house" built in 1929). For the last 25 years I have used my old wooden storm windows, but I am getting to old to wrestle with them and they are warping thus not creating a good seal anymore.

    Yes I'd prefer to save old windows, but I hate supporting the oil companies and would like to have less maintenance. I have read with great interest the thread Marvin vs Anderson etc...

    But I also wonder about window inserts which my contractor suggested when I wanted not to do aluminum exterior storms. After researching these appear to be interior storms - I would think that would cause more damage to the existing original window - providing fodder for condensation etc... any thoughts?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: Refurbish or replace

    Exterior storms are a great way to go. They should cut your air leaks by more than 1/2.

    Remember, even if replacement windows could cut your utility bills in 1/2 (they won't), you're probably still looking at <50 year payback.


    I've been checking my electric meter. Even with the really hot weather, between my Low-E storm windows and my new PROPERLY SIZED AC, my electric bills are on pace to be about 1/3 lower than last year, and that's with a MUCH hotter July so far. The upstairs is dramatically more comfortable. the AC had run literally just over 50% of the time since installed and because of the long runs times, uses <1/2 the energy of the old one.
    1925 Two-Story Stucco Beaux Arts Neoclassical

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Refurbish or replace

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptTCB View Post
    You windows are very restorable. I have personally restored about 385 sashes most of them in my 99 year old apartment building. You need to removed them from the window frame, put them on a saw horse(outside) on pavement, heat gun off the paint(lead based probably), sand them, remove the old glazing and reglaze, prime and paint. You can also use a paint stripper which is a little safer but messy and expensive.

    Make sure that you clean up the paint chips with a wet/dry vac with a HEPA filter. Most of the time I did not touch the inside of the sash unless the varnish/shellac was old, dark and crackled and then I used denatured alcohol and steel wool to remove the finish and then used tung oil to finish the window.

    If you try to restain you will never match the old stain. It is just not possible. Less is better on the inside of the window and actually the "patina" can add to the ambience of the house.










    "Be aware that the typical glazing compound that you buy in a can takes lots of skill to apply correctly and takes weeks to dry enough to apply paint to it. After going through several gallon cans I gave up on it and use the glazing compound that comes in a typical caulk tube and is easily applied using a caulk gun. Drys in a day and takes about 80% less time to apply." Good luck
    And here I spent all those years perfecting my technique....lol
    Even "primed" the wood with linseed oil as my grandfather did.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Refurbish or replace

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptTCB View Post
    You windows are very restorable. I have personally restored about 385 sashes most of them in my 99 year old apartment building. You need to removed them from the window frame, put them on a saw horse(outside) on pavement, heat gun off the paint(lead based probably), sand them, remove the old glazing and reglaze, prime and paint. You can also use a paint stripper which is a little safer but messy and expensive.

    Make sure that you clean up the paint chips with a wet/dry vac with a HEPA filter. Most of the time I did not touch the inside of the sash unless the varnish/shellac was old, dark and crackled and then I used denatured alcohol and steel wool to remove the finish and then used tung oil to finish the window.

    If you try to restain you will never match the old stain. It is just not possible. Less is better on the inside of the window and actually the "patina" can add to the ambience of the house.

    Be aware that the typical glazing compound that you buy in a can takes lots of skill to apply correctly and takes weeks to dry enough to apply paint to it. After going through several gallon cans I gave up on it and use the glazing compound that comes in a typical caulk tube and is easily applied using a caulk gun. Drys in a day and takes about 80% less time to apply. Good luck

    CaptTCB, Question for you. First of all, never been on discussion boards, so hope I am doing this right...But see that you live in OH...We live in Columbus and have beautiful windows that we don't want to replace but need lots of help on the outside. Do you do restoration for a living? Thanks!

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