Restore or Replace Windows in 1919 House

Old 04-10-01, 08:48 AM
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In this day and age, are we insane to consider RESTORING rather than replacing the 6-over-1 sash windows in our 1919 frame colonial? They don't open well any more and are impossible to clean, but they are so much handsomer than the replacement windows we've considered. Some of the triple-track storm-screens are also on their last legs. I'm not sure I'll ever be satisfied with vinyl replacement windows, but our house isn't a palace and doesn't need a master craftsman to fix up the old wooden windows. All the options seem to involve major compromises, in aesthetics or function. I need some expert input to make a decision. Thanks, folks.
Old 04-10-01, 06:41 PM
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The old windows are terribly inefficient, costing you hundreds or thousands of dallars every year in energy loss. For that, I would replace them. Either vinyls, or aluminum-clads, whatever you find that will suit your tastes, your pocketbook, and give you a quality window. Compare the festation ratings stickers (the MPG stickers of windows) and the warranties before settling on a particular brand.
Old 04-12-01, 01:29 PM
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Smile Old Window Repair

Mim, I lived in a 85 year old house in the Detroit, MI area from 1991 - 1996. We had some of your same concerns, especially because on the inside we had beautiful 6" wide Michigan White Oak trim. New windows just would not look good or fit the house. Anyway, there was a contractor in the area (I thought it was part of a national dealer) that refurbished old double hung windows. They would take the window sashes out, removed all the old glass, routered the insides to fit a new sealed double paned glass, removed the old counterweights, trimmed the outside of the sashes to allow them to fit new vinyl side tracks that were spring loaded. They would do this all on site with a specialized truck / trailer they had. Said they could do 4 - 6 windows a day. The cost was about 25% less than similar (but better) full replacement windows. Ultimately we did not use them because we moved 3 months after their quote, but I was impressed. We looked into the situation very hard at the time, and I am very picky about workmanship. It looked like a good option to me. I can't remember the name, but good luck.
Old 04-12-01, 08:17 PM
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I agree with Mike. I live in Michigan also, and a neighbor did exactly what he described. As a matter of fact, their home is registered as historical and they were allowed to do that(after some petitioning). It looks 1000 times better than vinyl.

But if you can't go that route, you can get vinyl clad with wood on the inside. That would still look ok. Just stain to match.
Old 04-19-01, 12:46 PM
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From a pure efficiency point of view, it obviously makes the most sense to replace them with new windows. However, I own a 1920 bungalow with 6 over 1's, and I have restored nearly every single one of the windows (and I have 23 of them). It is tedious work, but I pull them out one window at a time, and take them to my basement. I tend to be more of a purist when it comes to old houses, so that was my personal decision.

Also, depending on how many windows you have, new storm windows will make a big difference also. If your windows fall into a standard size, Home Depot (and I'm sure other stores) sell storm windows pretty cheap these days. Good luck with your decision. I empathize because I don't care for the replacement windows either, as the house loses character, and you also lose quite a bit of glass area.
Old 05-02-01, 05:29 PM
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Question window sash replacement

I have heard of companies that will come out and fix up the old double hung windows and make them more energy efficient and work just like the new vinal replacements that are on the market. Would you pass along some names so that I may research this further.
Old 08-20-01, 12:10 PM
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Count me in!

Instead of starting another question chain, I'll add onto this one. In June, I bought a 1914 home and have the same window issues...I want as much energy efficiency as possible, but can't seem to give up the character of the original sash/weight windows. If there is ANY information about the type of "refurbishing" companies that are mentioned in this message history, I would LOVE to learn more. I'm in Norfolk, VA. Thanks!

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