Windows, doors, and other original features of historic houses can make a major contribution to the overall effect of a period home. To that end, whenever possible, these features should be maintained, rather than updated or replaced, but what do you do when a historic home's original windows become inefficient, break, or begin to cause problems? You'll be happy to know there are many options that retain the original window while improving safety and efficiency, as well as a few options for replacing old windows without sacrifice design.
Consult And Plan
Before you even decide whether you want to repair or replace, the first thing you should do is check your local laws to see what is possible. Many homes' windows can be replaced without permission as long as the replacements have a similar appearance to the originals, but in other situations (especially listed historical homes), changes must be approved by the local planning authority. This is to ensure that the building's historical integrity is maintained.
Repairing And Improving Originals
If your historic home's windows need fixing up and you are committed to retaining the original glass and framing, you have a couple options.
- Secondary glazing - In secondary glazing, the original window is left in place and an additional window pane is installed inside the window (or behind it). This is a good fix for old homes suffering from heat loss and noise pollution. The new pane adds an additional barrier between outside noise and the inside of the home, and the air pocket between the old window and the new window slows the movement of cold air from outside the home to the inside.
Weather stripping and storm windows - Drafty old windows can be renovated with the simple addition of some weather stripping and a wood or metal storm window. Storm windows are usually mounted to the outside of your the original windows. In addition to saving your old windows, storm windows also improve energy efficiency, protect your historic windows, reduce street noise, and are easy to install.
Replacement and Renovation
At times, it becomes impossible to save the original windows. In these cases, custom window manufacturers can replicate the original design--style, material, section size, glazing bars, muntins, etc.--as closely as possible. With this option, there will almost always be some limitation to creating a perfect imitation--some materials available then are no longer used in window construction, for example--but the differences are invisible to most passersby.
If the home is situated in a conservation area, new windows must meet some stringent requirements, which typically include:
- The same dimensions and configuration
- The same mode of operation
- The same design details (glazing bar style, sash weights, etc.)
- Putty or beading, depending on whether the panes are single or double glazed
For more information about your options when replacing windows in your home, contact a company like Cheaper Window Glass.