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Replacement Windows for Older Homes

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Older Homes
Energy-Efficient Windows for Older Homes | Window World
Many historic homes still have original windows. For a home to be considered historic, it must be at least 50 years old. Fifty-year-old windows are probably drafty and single-paned, making it hard to keep out hot and cold air. Still, some homeowners believe that replacing historic windows with newer ones can devalue the historic look and feel of the home, as well as its value. Here’s what you should know about replacing windows in older homes.

The difference between restoring and replacing old windows

The windows on many historic homes add to the exterior character and interior ambiance. Luckily, if you cannot imagine parting with your old windows, restoring them is an option. A historic window specialist can repair window panes, install weatherstripping, and even free upper sashes that may have gotten stuck over the years. Restored older windows will still block most drafts when paired with a storm window on the interior or exterior of the home.

However, not all historic windows can be restored. If any of the wood around the window is rotting, there is no turning back. Luckily, you have the option to replace old windows with modern windows that appear historic, which gives you the best of both worlds.

Replacement windows for historic homes

Modern windows often feature double- or triple-paned glass with many energy-saving features. This means that replacement windows will always be more energy-efficient than historic windows based on design alone. The right type of replacement window can maintain the character of your home and earn you a nice return on investment when it comes time to sell.

Maintaining the historic character of your home

When shopping for replacement windows for a historic home with old wood windows, you will benefit more in the long run by replacing them with newer vinyl windows that pair historic details with energy-efficiency. Most old wood windows have a grid overlay, so if you want to maintain the character of your home, look for windows with the same feature. You may also want to consider finding windows that are the same color as your existing windows.

Of course, you’ll need to match the size of the existing window. Your historic home may not be the place to knock out an external wall to enlarge a small old window into a large bay window. It’s best to discuss those types of major changes with your local historic preservation committee for insights that will help honor your historic home’s best qualities.

The cost of replacing historic windows

Wood windows are more expensive than vinyl windows because of their material. But, it is possible to keep the historic character of your windows without excessive costs. Vinyl replacements come in many customizable options, from economical to extravagant.

Once you've decided to replace your old windows, start searching for replacement windows that will complement the style of your home. There are myriad replacement windows for old homes, but not all contractors understand how to maintain historic homes, so it is vital that you find the right window company for the job. At Window World, we have more than 200 locally owned stores nationwide, and our replacement window experts can help you explore your options no matter how old your home is. Get a free quote for replacement windows or visit your local Window World today.

Editor’s Note: This post was updated in August 2020.

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