Are you restoring an older home? If so, you may be faced with the challenge of finding replacements for your historic home windows. If your existing windows are in need of repair you will need to make a decision between buying new replacement windows and repairing the old windows. While you can take advantage of the new technology incorporated into modern windows, you may sacrifice the historic value of the original windows in the home. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of both options so you can decide the best route to take for your unique circumstance.
Replacing Historic Home Windows | Pros & Cons
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Energy Star Rating: In most cases, when you install new up-to-date Energy Star rated windows you will experience a significant savings in your monthly utility bill. You can learn more about the savings in this article “Understanding NFRC Window Ratings.”
Modern Features: Current windows include modern features such as spring balances or other mechanisms to hold the windows in the open position. Most double-hung windows produced today have tilt out sashes for easy maintenance.
Odd Sizes: In recent years, window dimensions have evolved to a series of standard dimensions. You may struggle to locate the odd sizes found in some historic homes.
ROI: While you will certainly experience a cost savings in your monthly energy bill, the ROI (return on investment) in some cases could be several years. If you plan to stay in your home for an extended period, it’s a wise investment. If you plan to sell the home right away you may not fully recover the cost of the replacement windows.
Repairing Historic Home Windows |Pros & Cons
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Property Value: Repairing the original windows of a historic home will help to preserve the value of the property. Quite often the original windows are more aesthetically pleasing than newer replacement windows. The slight imperfections in older glass can add to the character of a historic home.
Old Growth Wood: Windows constructed prior to 1940 were built with “Old Growth Wood” which is more dense, very stable, and less likely to attract insects. The wood holds paint and stain very well. Since the wood was likely harvested locally, it is well suited for the local climate.
Think Green: When you consider the energy required to manufacture new windows, repairing your existing windows is the “Green Thing to do!”
Do it Yourself: If you are a DIY Handyman you can restore your historical home windows yourself. If you are not so handy……no problem.….call the Window Repair Guy!
Repair Time: Restoring old windows can be a very time consuming and an extremely tedious project. If you want to avoid this level of work and get the job done fast, modern replacement windows come fully assembled and may be a better choice. New window installation is a snap.
Retrofitting Historic Home Windows
Still undecided between replacement or repair? Check out this slide show from the National Trust for Historic Preservation entitled “13 Things You Should Know About Retrofitting Windows.”