1. Your windows fit your house.
Quirky as they might be, your older windows fit your house. Care was taken to match the weight and style of window to the building, the trim, etc. They have expanded and contracted with the seasons. With proper weather stripping they can be made to fit and seal even better. Replacement windows have a rigid structure that fits within your window openings. Old houses move and shift over time and frequently the gaps that open up around replacement windows and the window openings result in more drafts than the original windows.
2. You appreciate good craftsmanship.
The true mortise and tenon construction of antique windows is incredibly strong and even when it begins to weaken is easily repaired. Many unique window shapes were created because of the craftsmanship with wood joinery. Antique windows were built to last and not land in a landfill.
3. You value good materials.
Antique wood windows are constructed of old growth timber. The wood is much denser and more weather resistant than today’s tree farmed softwoods. Delicate profiles are possible because of the density of the wood. The reason these windows are still around, even with years of neglect, is because the wood is of very high quality requiring no cladding or additional materials to give them weather resistance. Without all the ugly paint, your wood windows are usually quite beautiful, graceful, and strong.
5. You want to be smart with your money.
For example, after spending about $12,000 dollars on properly installed, high-quality replacement windows (the average home has between 24 and 30 windows, replaced at an average of $500-$1,000 each), a typical household might save about $50 a month on heating or cooling bills. However, if a house is actively heated or cooled for an average of six months a year, that savings amounts to only $300 a year. At this rate, it would take 40 years to even begin to recoup in energy savings the amount spent on the new windows. By following some other no-cost and low-cost ways to improve a building’s energy efficiency, that $50 a month can easily be saved without an outlay of thousands of dollars.
6. You think a warranty should be more than 20 years.
Chances are your windows have done their job for fifty or more years already. Sure, they may be a little creaky and may not be as attractive as they once were, but it’s a far better investment to repair a proven performer than to sink money into a new window that only has a 20 year warranty at best. With proper maintenance your antique windows should last another 100 years. Heck, even without maintenance they may last that long!
7. You want to avoid vinyl.
Poly vinyl chloride (PVC) is becoming one of the greatest concerns in the building industry. Not only does the production of it create an environmental nightmare, but the gases it emits over time are becoming a concern. Heaven forbid your house catches fire, the burned PVC will release toxic amounts of dioxin. If you are concerned about lead, please understand that it is used as a stabilizer in the manufacture of PVC. If you are concerned about our planet’s health you should read up on efforts to reduce the use of vinyl.
8. Windows are a functional part of your house.
Weights and pulleys are the best balance systems ever invented. There is a prevalent myth that a lot of cold air comes in through the weight pocket. If there is cold air in the weight pocket it’s generally because there is a gap between the outside trim of the house and the siding. It may also indicate a poor seal at the floor joists. Replacing easily serviceable weights and pulleys with vinyl jamb liners or invisible balance systems means installing a system that has a maximum life span of 10-20 years but generally fails in less time. You can’t believe how joyful it is to open and close windows easily with one hand when everything is restored to the way it was designed to work!
9. You really can save 30-40% on heating costs.
According to the Field Study of Energy Impacts of Window Rehab Choices conducted by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, the University of Vermont School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering laboratory, the estimate first year energy savings between a restored wooden window with a good storm window vs. a replacement window was $0.60. Yup, less than a buck. In their conclusions section they noted “The decision to renovate or replace a window should not be based solely on energy considerations, as the difference in estimate first year savings between the upgrade options are small.”
10. The greenest building is one that is already built.
Replacement windows are touted as a way to save energy. But when evaluated from the perspective of the entire production, shipping, installation and removal process replacing windows consumes a whole lot of energy. If the total energy expenditure to manufacture replacement windows is considered, the break even period stretches to 40-60 years. In the words of Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “We can’t build our way out of the global warming crisis. We have to conserve our way out. That means we have to make better, wiser use of what we have already built.” < Back to beginning
WINDOW RESTORATION CONSULTING
Are you considering taking on a window restoration project? OGWR is now offering on-site window restoration consultations.
Historic double-hung wood windows were designed to last a century or more. Each component can be restored or repaired. Learn more
HISTORIC PRESERVATION SERVICES
Links to local and national restoration organizations, sources for hardware and materials as well as "how-to" forums.
Wood Window Restoration
An idea that's time has come...
Old Growth Window Restoration, LLC is a St. Louis, MO based company specializing in restoration, repair and weatherization of historic wood windows.
Are your window sashes painted shut, loose or drafty? Do your windows have broken glass panes, chipping paint or crumbly glazing? Do your windows have areas with rotted wood or a broken sash chain? Your wood windows were designed to last a century or more with proper maintenance and upkeep. Old Growth Window Restoration can return your windows to their original state of functionality and beauty. Visit our services page for more information.
History of the Box Sash Window
Interesting facts about wood windows
The origins of the sash windows have been the subject of much investigation and speculation. Until recently, the general opinion tended to be that sash windows were invented in Holland in the late 17th Century. Recently, however, valuable research work undertaken by Dr Hinte Louw, of the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, suggests that sash windows could have been invented earlier in the 17th Century in England. Another school of thought suggest that sash windows originated in France and spread to England via Holland. The word "sash", derived from the French "chassis" , means frame. But, however it originated, sash windows are as traditionally British as roast beef, and have become synonymous with all kinds of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian houses. Read more