One of the most important architectural features on a historic building is its original windows. Besides adding beauty and character, original windows connect the outside of the building to the inside and offer invaluable clues to a building’s history.
Anatomy of a Window
Historic Windows are Original – Replacement windows always alter the historic appearance of a building. Trim, dimensions of parts and proportions of replacement windows almost always deviate from the original.
Historic Windows are Simple – Unlike replacement windows, old windows are easily repaired. Using wood putty, glazing, caulk and paint are simple repairs that can be done by a homeowner.
Because historic wood windows were assembled similar to a cabinet, a skilled carpenter can easily take apart a historic window, repair it, and put it together again.
Historic Windows are Sustainable – Saving existing windows is ‘greener’ than producing new windows. Maintaining existing windows saves the energy and resources needed for new windows and offers hand-crafted woodworking, authenticity and historic value.
Original windows have probably been in service for as many years as the age of the building. Repairs on original windows could last another 50 years before restoration is needed again. That kind of longevity makes historic windows extremely “green” on any sustainability scale.
Historic Windows are Energy Efficient – If restored correctly, original windows will be as (or even more) energy efficient than replacement windows. They will also cost less and provide a payback much faster than the cost of a replacement window can be recovered through savings in energy bills. Retrofits such as storm windows and insulating shades can achieve energy savings at a much lower cost.
For more information, click on YouTube Content in the sidebar. You will find a 3 part video on Preservation of Historic Windows.