What You Need to Know About Replacing Windows in an Old House

What You Need to Know About Replacing Windows in an Old House

September 20, 2019
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door

A whopping 79.36 million housing units – that’s the total number of owner-occupied housing units in the US in 2018. That number goes up to 138.45 million units if we include the renter-occupied dwellings.

Although many of these houses are modern, about 18 million of them were over 70 years old as of 2014. That accounts for about 14% of the nation’s housing stock.

If you own one of these old houses, chances are, your windows are just as old and worn out. They’re now a huge source of drafts and leaks, contributing to your higher energy bills.

This doesn’t mean replacing windows in old homes is always the best route though. Indeed, new windows can help cut your energy bills, as they help reduce the drafts in homes. However, you also need to consider the cost to replace windows, which can be quite high.

Ready to make the right choice between salvaging and replacing your old windows? Keep reading, as we’ve listed the most important factors you should consider!

Save Your Old House’s History by Repairing Its Old Windows

Many older US homes have windows built with wood of higher grade than those used in some of today’s windows. This is actually a key reason that they still exist today. It’s mostly due to lack of window maintenance that they have developed drafts and leaks.

Their high-grade components, however, can make them a good candidate for repairs. By getting your old windows fixed, you can preserve their beauty and craftsmanship. This also helps you keep your old home’s history intact.

Retrofit Your Existing Windows

Window replacement and retrofitting experts can also help you preserve your historic windows. Retrofitting involves installing new windows into existing window frames. In some cases of window preservation, a retrofit may only have to replace the old glass.

Of course, this still depends on the state of your old window frames. If they’re still in good condition, then they may be fit for retrofit windows. These new windows will match your existing frames in both make and size.

Since the glass is the only part that needs a replacement, there’s no need to touch the window trim or frame. Not only can this help you save your existing windows – you may even enjoy a lower window replacement cost!

Buff Up Your Existing Windows with Storm Windows

Contrary to what many people think, storm windows aren’t protection against storms. These are windows added to and installed on top of existing windows. Their main purpose is to boost the energy efficiency of homes.

Since these are an “add-on” to existing windows, they’re a great way to preserve your old windows. They can help seal the drafts already affecting your old windows. They serve as an extra barrier to further protect your home’s interiors from the outdoors.

You can add storm windows that feature low-E coating on the exterior side of your current windows. During the summer, these will act as a reflector to prevent outside heat from getting into your home. In the winter, they’ll reflect heat back into your home.

Interior storm windows also help minimize the transfer of heat to and fro your home. Either way, high-quality storm windows can reduce your cooling costs by more than 30%. That should be enough incentive to consider installing them over your older windows.

High-quality storm windows can also complement the looks of your existing windows. They’re also available in operable styles, so you have more air and light control. Moreover, since they act as a second window pane, they can help minimize noise.

To top it off, there’s not much construction needed as they’re designed to go on top of existing windows. With less construction needed, you have fewer expenses to think about.

Replacing Windows with Custom-Made Windows in Old Homes

Many old-house windows have bigger or smaller frames than today’s standard window sizes. Meaning, you can’t replace them with stock windows, or you’ll end up with huge gaps. These gaps defeat the draft-sealing purpose of new windows.

At the same time, you don’t want to knock out a part of your walls just to give way for replacement windows. Doing so will mean removing another piece of your home’s appeal and history. Moreover, it’s an additional yet possibly unnecessary construction expense.

Also, pre-made windows typically don’t match the color and style of old-house windows. Install stock windows in these old frames, and you’ll end up with mismatched windows. This can cause a considerable drop in your home’s value.

All these concerns are avoidable through custom window replacements. Customized windows won’t compromise your existing window frames. They’ll fit right into those frames like the original.

Since custom windows are a perfect fit to your existing frame, there’s also no need to knock out parts of your wall. You also don’t have to worry about gaps and leaks since they have the same size as your old windows.

Get the Best Replacement Windows to Maintain Your Old Home’s Appeal

As you can see, there are many considerations when replacing windows in old homes. Of course, you want to preserve your home’s appeal, characteristic, and history. At the same time, you don’t want old windows to keep raising your energy bills.

That’s why it’s a must to work only with highly-qualified window companies. These experts can help you decide on the best solution for your old house windows.

Still unsure if a retrofit job or a complete window replacement is your better option? Then please don’t hesitate to connect with us now! We can provide you the guidance you need and get you those energy-efficient windows.