Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman.
A friend provided this link to me via Facebook several days ago (and this one). Anyone thinking about replacing windows instead of refurbishing, READ THESE FIRST!!!
Replacing original windows with the Crestline vinyl abominations shown above is certain to get you on the NXNS wall of shame. (And the property in that photo just happens to belong to noted slumlord Bashir Moghul.)
I've done extensive photo tours of various noted slumlords: Danna D III, Gregge Johnson, Mahmood Khan, and Paul Koenig/Pamiko, to name a few. And one of the things that always got to me was how cruddy the windows looked. Preservationists will have our own take on why original windows are often better. And from an environmental standpoint, isn't it greener to NOT put this stuff in a landfill? Especially if a refurbished original window will last much, MUCH longer than a new one?
Furthermore, there seems to be a direct correlation between crummy windows, slummy properties, and bad owners/occupants. Now, I highly doubt I'm going to have some slumlord read this post and see the light. So here's why NoMi homeowners ought to keep and refurbish your original windows whenever possible:
Continually painted wood can last as long as 200 years. Vinyl lasts 10-20.
Older windows were MADE to be repaired. Oldhouseguy says, "They can be taken apart to insert new rails or muntins (cross pieces separating the panes). Broken parts can be remade or whole sashes duplicated fairly cheaply. Rotted wood can be repaired to look like new with easy-to-use epoxy fillers. In many cases, these windows have been in service for over a hundred years with much of their deterioration resulting directly from a lack of maintenance."
Older windows are made of a quality of wood we likely won't see again - ever. "That virgin forest wood is close-grained and resinous. Today’s young lumber cannot match the longevity of the historic wood. To trash your old windows is to trash a superior material that can no longer be bought. A replacement window will need replacement before the old one would have needed simple maintenance."
An original window with a storm window is often more energy-efficient than newer double-glazed windows.
The replacement windows being peddled are most often highly inappropriate for the historic nature of your house. There is a direct correlation between the historic integrity of a house and its market value.
Reusing historic windows eliminates the need for removal and disposal of existing windows, as well as the environmental costs of manufacturing and transporting new ones. The "greenest" window is the one already in use.
Restoration is nearly twice as labor-intensive as new construction, meaning more money goes directly to people instead of product costs.
An associate of mine has recommended Minnesota Window Restoration as a good place to start when considering refurbishing your windows. Another friend has had a good experience with Greg Rosenow of TLC Renovations.
Refurbish, don't replace!