Thursday, October 08, 2009

Old house window options

Our house was built in 1932 with large, wooden windows. Over the years, the windows have been well maintained, but they are now 77 years old. They are "six over six" windows, measuring approximately 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall.

The house is a solid brick, neo-colonial designed home. The historic windows add a lot to the aesthetics. They work well, but are showing some wear. A few panes have cracks, one fell victim to a random slap shot, and they need exterior painting. They are made of single pane glass, with triple track storm windows and screens. We've gone round and round about whether to replace them.

A historic replacement window would cost in the $800-$1000 range installed. To replace them all would cost close to $25,000. That's a lot of cash. And the existing windows are not in bad shape. So we have decided to keep and maintain.

This month, we are having them painted and repaired by a professional painting company. The cost is running about $80 per window. We are also having the basement windows painted. The total cost of the window painting and repair will come to something under $2,000. Or less than 1/10 the cost of full window replacement.

For less than half the cost of historic replacement windows, we could install vinyl windows, but they would severely lessen the charm of the home. Weighing the options, we are maintaining the original windows in place.

In another 5-7 years, it will likely be time to paint again.


john w. said...

With proper glazing putty installation and dutiful prep work, finished by primer and two coats of alkyd paint you should get more than 5-7 years out of the job before needing maintainance.

Rick Bonasch said...

Thanks. That's my hope too. The painters are telling me 7-10 years.

We've been in this house since 2003 and this is the first work we've had done on the windows. They were recently painted at the time we moved in, so that work is about 6 years old.

However, the painters today are saying the previous painters didn't do such a good job. So, maybe their work will last longer?

Everything is looking good so far.

Brian said...

In our old house, the previous owners had retained and repaired the original windows in the front and back and replaced the side windows with vinyl, which was a decent compromise, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping those priceless windows in place. Even a historically appropriate replacement window wouldn't have "wavey" glass, I assume. I think we have an obligation to preserve old homes in the manner which they were intended, even if it means extra maintenance.

Bill said...

Who's the contractor? Looking for window work myself.

Rick Bonasch said...


Email me at for a personal referral.


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Mac said...

Window replacement represents one of the more substantial investments you can make in your home. The replacement of old or under-performing windows can effectively reduce your monthly utility costs and give your home a bit more curb appeal. There are a wide variety of window replacement options to choose from, including vinyl, storm and custom wood windows as well as bay and bow windows.

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Herb said...

Having an old house window has this historic value. Most of these old windows have antique glass panes. However, due to its old structure, these single-pane windows are not ideal for saving energy. Also, they must be maintained often to ensure that they work properly.

Universal Windows Las Vegas said...

Good read! If windows is very old and useless, then it should be replaced with new window because this is worthless if money will be spend on old and cracked window.

Double Pane Window Repair said...

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