Sash Replacement

Old 08-21-05, 08:15 AM
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Sash Replacement

I would like some help on sash replacement. We have a masonry home (3 wythes and air space). The orignal windows are still in pretty good shape but they are all double hung with sash weights and pulleys, and as such, a major source of air infiltration. There does not seem to be a company in the area which would convert the existing sash (put in double glazing, install PVC tracks, etc.)

The problem is that we only have 3&1/4" between the inner and outer stops. Marvin Tilt Pacs need 3&1/2". Jeld-Wen Caradco Zapp Packs might work but the the tracks come in white only, and the fit and finish appear questionable.

Can someone suggest an alternative system or another way of going about this? We already have exterior aluminum storms. I considered making interior storms but was informed this would only rot out the windows. We live in southern Minnesota. Thank you.

Bob Winzenburg
Old 08-21-05, 10:21 PM
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consider restoring the sash


Researching the cost benefit of replacements led me to agree with most educated opinions that they will never pay for themselves. Likewise re converting single glazed sash to double glazed.
I have been restoring my home's 115-year-old double hung windows.

What I have been doing is converting the double hungs into single hungs. I am removing the sash weights Etc from the upper sash & insulating that space. The uppers are held in place by a screw on each side.
I am also adding modern weatherstripping to the sash to minimize drafts.
I've been stripping & repairing all sash as needed. 90% of the glazing putty is original, & its removal is not difficult.
I've done the glazing, priming, & painting myself.
This may be beyond a typical DIY project but I have been a professional woodworker for 35 years, have the needed tools & the inclination.
My home has almost 50 windows & I will not finish them this year, but not because of the amount of labor.
I just get bored repeatedly doing the same restoration process. It is not mentally challenging, so it is easy to get sidetracked.
As a part of the entire project, I am making & installing new wooden storms & pitching the 50-year-old triple tracks. Good storms are efficient & protect the wood sash.

I have a pretty good knowledge base of the short life of new windows due to fixing many of them for my customers. The story is grim. Rot is prolific in 20-25 years if wood was chosen. Broken bits & pieces of cheap hardware are impossible to replace. Plastic jambs become brittle & break up. Thermopane seals let go, & if the company is out of business, difficult to replace. Most local window manufacturers go belly up for one reason or another, so parts cannot be easily obtained. The national manufacturers quality is atrocious, despite their reputations. I have seen more rotten wood in theirs than in "lesser" local brands.

I think the long-term solution to old window problems is to restore them. Mine lasted 100 years with poor maintenance. They will now easily last another hundred years. None of the modern replacements will last half of that.
Additionally, retaining its original content enhances the value of the house. This is significant due to the area being designated "historical".
Old 08-22-05, 10:41 AM
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"Boxarocks", thanks for the detailed reply. I agree with your statement on the lack of quality on the newer windows. Your solution is interesting. By fixing the upper sash in place one could theoretically stop the infiltration from that sash pocket (using foam, not fiberglass) and maybe that would help stop the infiltration from the inner (lower) sash pocket. I am more concerned with infiltration than single glazing, as that is where the heat loss primarily occurs, according to the experts. I was intrigued by the Window Renu product, which is an aluminum track that works by friction, but again the only color is white. Again, thanks for the good idea.


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