Replacing Windows in an Older Home - On the House

Replacing Windows in an Older Home

By on May 20, 2014
traditional windows

Question

I am hoping you can give some advice on how best to replace double-hung windows on a Victorian house built in 1905. Our goal is to insulate from drafts, reduce condensation, and lower the maintenance including opening-closing and cleaning.

Have you any recommendations or comments on the benefits or limitations of various options available to homeowners with older homes?

Mrs. Theodore

Answer

Among the various problems that homeowners with older homes report are wood windows that are deteriorating, difficult to operate, sweating or just plain drafty.Whereas the windows usually can be repaired, it often solves only one or perhaps two of the problems. The only sure way to solve all of the problems is to replace the window with a new, more modern one.

While the wood windows can be replaced with aluminum or vinyl ones, our recommendation would be to replace them with new wood windows. This will maintain the architectural integrity of the home and will be energy-efficient.

Our preference for wood windows are those with a factory-coated exterior or an aluminum or vinyl-clad exterior and an unfinished interior. The factory-painted or clad exterior makes the wood windows virtually maintenance-free while the unfinished interior allows for the desired painted or stained finish.

Insulated or thermal-pane glass will help to minimize condensation and improve energy efficiency. As a bonus, many major manufacturers of wood windows offer tinted, treated or low-E glass, all of which are designed to make the windows energy-efficient.

Having grown up in a home with double-hung wood windows, we can attest to what a difficult task it is to clean them especially the ones with numerous little panes or those located on the second story.

Thanks to tilt-down and removable windows and applied or snap-on grids, window cleaning is not nearly as difficult as it once was.

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