100 year old windows to vinyl

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  #1  
Old 07-19-05, 06:47 PM
Alan51
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100 year old windows to vinyl

We have finally tired of the leaky double hung windows in our 100yo home in Canada. The installer is putting in 10 quality vinyl windows. (I checked them on the net and they seem fine)

My question is that the installer, when he was here to do the final measurements, indicated that taking out the roller wheels that the sash cord travelled on was too time consuming so he just planned to hammer them into the opening that the counterweight travelled in. I've worked on these windows before and I know this will shatter the side of the frame. Is this smart? I know that he plans to cover the existing outside frame in aluminum to hide the breaks but it still seems that a lot of cold will get in.

Also I asked him if the big hollow that the counterweights travelled in would be filled with insulation of any type. He said that it wasn't neccessary. I don't believe him. That is a huge space on either side of each window. Any suggestions or am I being paranoid?
Thanks,
Alan
 
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  #2  
Old 07-19-05, 07:26 PM
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Some installers hammer the pulleys back. If they have screws, they can and should be removed, and it doesn't take that much time. There is one type of pulley that is *very* difficult to remove, and it can usually be pounded flat, but that is the only exception.

As far as the weight cavity being filled with insulation, I have to agree that it *is* a good idea. The problem is, your installer won't want to do it, and even if you offered to pay him, he probably still wouldn't want to do it. You can do one of two things:

Remove the face trim on the exterior, and lightly pack it with fiberglass batts. Then replace the face trim. I'm not crazy about fiberglass, personally, because it only slows air. But it's better than an empty space.

The other thing you can do is drill some holes in your face trim and blow it full of cellulose. This is probably the best thing to do, and is probably something you could do yourself, if you can find a machine to rent that has a 1" cone nozzle.

The problem is, window installers can't make any money if they jack around with insulating around old windows. If you want the old windows totally insulated, their thinking is, "then why aren't you getting new windows, rather than just replacements?" The idea behind replacements is that they are fast, therefore cheaper for the homeowner, and they are a vast improvement over what you currently have. Window installers generally are not insulation contractors, so most of them feel that if you want insulation, you ought to call someone else.

You also likely have gaps underneath your window sill, (and, if the face trim on top can't be removed for some reason- above the window head) which cant be filled in any way, apart from drilling 20 holes in the sill and injecting it with expanding foam. Even then, you can't see that you are filling every gap 100%. Window installers can't stop every draft that comes in around a 100 year old window. Often, no matter how good of a job you do, air travels down the lathe and plaster walls and leaks out at the window opening. So installers usually prefer to distance themselves from that aspect of the job so as not to open up that ball of wax.

You're absolutely right that it should be insulated before the new windows go in. My suggestion would be for you to be responsible for insulating around your old window to your satisfaction. If you try to get your contractor to do it, don't be suprised if his reaction is negative.
 
  #3  
Old 07-28-05, 02:54 AM
RolandD
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I saw an episode of This Old House, where they were talking about whether or not it was better to install replacement windows, or have your original windows refurbished. It seems that the difference in R value, between old single pane and new thermo pane windows is negligible, something like R1 compared to R 1.7-2.1. The main problem is that the old frames are still there and that is where most of the leakage is at. They stated that a professional refurbisher can bring the old windows up to a level that compeats with replacement windows, for about half the cost. They are also very big on maintaining the original profile of a home, which replacement windows ruin.

Unfortunately, I can't find anyone in my area that can refurbish the windows in my 125 year old, victorian gothic.
 
  #4  
Old 07-28-05, 05:07 PM
GaleForce
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Another vote for keeping the old but improving the weather-proofing. But it sounds like you have already ordered.

I'm in an old home with no original windows and will be paying a good bit of money over the next few decades to rebuild what was there:
my sad window inventory
 
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