My wife and I are starting to plan for the warm season and the associated opportunities for working on the exterior of our foursquare farmhouse. We are in need of advice from people who love old houses for their charm and durability, as I don't trust a lot of the "common sense" the local contractors have to offer :-)
We have 22 windows in need of replacement. The previous owner bought the "replace your windows" lie and took out all but four of the original windows (mercifully leaving the four leaded glass windows) and replaced them with absolutely horrid stock size vinyl new construction windows from Menards. I estimate the windows are 5-7 years old and they are completely falling apart. Besides this, they are improperly installed and not the original sizes (the original windows were tall and narrow, the new vinyl ones are just as narrow but 12 inches shorter). In several rooms the PO installed one window at the top of the old window frames, and the other at the bottom. Needless to say, it is hilarious and sad all at the same time. The PO opened up the inside plaster and outside cedar clapboards with a circular saw, removed all of the original framing and weight pockets for the original windows, kinda sorta framed out the holes with 2x4s, and patched it all up with plastic sheets stapled over chipboard, leaving no siding to replace what he chopped off. Not kidding. When he was done he threw all the window trim and the windows in the burn pile and had a BBQ. There is no trace of the original windows left.
The original windows will be rebuilt (they are rough, too!!) and original style wood framed storm windows will be made. But what should I do about the other 22 windows? Normally I am a staunch fan of keeping the original windows, but they are gone. As I see it I have two options:
A: Either learn how to build or find a craftsman to build new old style double hungs. There are a lot of Amish in my area and someone suggested they might be a good source for custom windows. I have not looked into this.
B: Buy modern wooden replacement windows in the original sizes.
Either way I will have to recreate the exterior window trim, and I plan on making old fashioned wooden storms for the windows regardless of which option I take: until I plant my Norway Spruce windbreak I need as many ways to seal up my windows for winter as I can get!! Plus I don't mind ladders, and it is only twice a year, right?
Any advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
Go with the Pella windows, my father-in-law builds them ;-)
Though you won't have to pay the money for rent, it may be prudent to put away a similar amount each month for when the furnace, water heater, roof, etc need to be replaced. This is my first home and though I knew on an intellectual level how expensive it is to keep up a home, it still surprises me. I have a relatively new furnace, and yet it just cost me $1000 for some maintenance that I wasn't expecting. Good thing we have a fund labeled "emergency use!!" I'll do roofs, siding, plumbing, wiring, drywall, etc etc but I just didn't feel comfortable tearing into my furnace!!
Well said, you never know when it will hit you either. Last July we had a fluke rain on night and I got 15" of water in my basement. First time ever and in the middle of July I had to replace the mother boards of both my furnaces. One expense I didn't think I would have in July.
Right there is why my replacement boiler sits on a concrete boiler shelf 18" above the floor.
The boiler installer didn't like putting it up there, but it's there. The boiler installer was me.
I can see no reason why furnaces sit on floodable floors and have long trunk ducts up to the ceiling either, beyond it being easier for the installer.
Now you tell me! If I'm around the next one will be up, up and away!
You didn't ask.
My true motive also included setting the boiler at a convenient height for the fool who services it annually. I wanted to enable the old goat to sit on a stool rather than work kneeling.
Guess who services the boiler.
Jonathan, you will be interested in the Controlling Old-House Maintenance article I wrote for OHJ back in '93:
Hi, and WOW you are faced with a task !! I've been regalizing mine slowley for about a year now, one is ready to paint now,its just a little cold, If i was in your position it would be far easier to find a window contrator thats taking some out,if wood is what you want. There was an article about the efficancy of wood , that was surprising ! they brought up the cost of replacement versus maintence and discovered that most replacement are only good for 10 to 15 years ,with that in mind it is best to keep the old windows in my opinion , now after they are gone its hard to find something close !! the old wood was old growth i believe ? good replacements go for a lot of money with an unknown lifespan,me and dad put some in once that failed in 5 years !! By the way i live in an old community and a neighbor is getting ready to replace some as soon as the historic comm. gives approval email me the sizes at firstname.lastname@example.org and i will see if i can help ,his house is similar to mine built around 1905, good luck !
Do you just want wood window to be replaced? Maybe some old style stone window surround will be workable for you, they will be durable. you can have a look on http://www.stonecarving7th.com/garden/window.html, they can be customized depends on the size of your window. then you just need find someone to install them for you is ok.Hope help.
Sorry for my poor english, I am from China.
The first winter in our 1900 Queen Ann, it got down to minus 20 with a good wind. With 53 windows and doors in the house, two new furnaces were running constantly until I finally shut them down when the temp inside the house got down to 60 degrees. Adding plastic sheets over the outside of the windows wasn't possible, so I put them up on the inside. The comment about being "sails" is absolutely true. The house had double hung windows that ranged from not too bad to almost falling apart. I attempted to rebuild some sashes, but that didn't really stop the air infiltration around the sash or through the weight boxes. I wanted to keep the historic look of the windows, but knew that I had to do something other than salvage the sash. As a temporary measure I installed inoperable storm windows made by a local glass supplier until we could afford to replace the windows.
In the attic I was able to order custom Pella wood windows. I didn't order multi-paned units, but added mullins over the exterior to recreate the look of the original windows. After 20 years I have had issues with wood rot and with the thermo-panes failing on the Pella units.
On the second floor I was able to replace most of the windows with Andersen clad double hung units. The Andersen windows were just tall enough to fill the openings. The Anderson tan/brown cladding worked good for our color scheme. These were good units that were trouble free. I removed the existing sash and installed the units inside the old window frame. The interior window trim was removed for refinishing, which gave me access to the weight boxes allowing me to seal with foam/fiberglass. The interior of the units are wood, so they were stained to mach the existing trim.
On the first floor and some of the second floor windows, I ended up using custom made vinyl units. They were dark brown to keep the sash dark. Again, I removed the old sash, parting strips, etc, and installed the replacement. These units were made locally and are probably similar to most vinyl windows. But over time some of the thermo-panes needed to be replaced. There was also an issue with the vinyl windows that I used not being the easiest to close correctly. When we would have the windows washed, I would have to check to make sure that they were closed properly.
We didn't have historical status, so we were able to use newer materials on our house. But we did it in a way to retain the historical nature of the house. In retrospect, I wouldn't hesitate to use the Andersen products. I was disappointed in the Pella units. I would probably use vinyl again, but would try to find a fabricator that makes a better than average product and that is willing to warrant the thermo-panes. But it really doesn't matter what solution you use unless the air infiltration around the sashes and around the window box are sealed. Beautifully restored sashes in a deteriorating window box will not solve the infiltration issue.
In a way you have a wider range of options because you can reframe your rough opening to accept a new contained window unit. Finding the right size unit may be a harder issue.
Good luck. The range of options and prices is hard to sort through, but it can be done.