June 21, 2017

6 Historic Window Renovations That Keep Their Charm

  • By: Lindsey M. Roberts, Houzz

What's better? To replace historic windows with new, low-emissivity windows and save energy? Or to keep the windows with their historic character and not save as much energy?

The debate rages between preservationists and designers-environmentalists, but there is a middle ground: renovating historic windows for the same performance as new windows. And there's a substantial argument for saving them.

Not only do they add character that makes a house unique, but old windows are generally thicker and last longer than today's windows, says the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Plus, as preservationists like to say, the greenest building (or window) is the one already built. No trips to the landfill. No new resources used.

Take a look at some of the ways that you can update your windows for energy efficiency, for a win-win situation.

  • Historic windows are often wholly unique, like the elaborate stained-glass entry in a historic Chicago home seen in the first photo above. It's unlikely to find similar windows in today's newly built houses. Related: See More Front Doors Lined With Beautiful Stained Glass Designs
  • If you're faced with leaky, old windows, Heritage BC, Canada's version of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, suggests starting by repairing the existing frame, sash and glass.
  • Windows can also be draftproofed and insulated with appropriate caulking and weatherstripping materials. For wood-frame windows, Natural Resources Canada suggests using a quality, self-adhesive plastic V-strip weatherstripping.
  • Adding indoor or outdoor storm windows and heavy drapes will help reduce the load on your heating and cooling systems. Related: Shop Window Treatments to Enhance Your Historic Windows Here
  • The U.S. Department of Energy says that storm windows don't add to the insulating properties of single-pane windows, but they do reduce the movement of air in and out, thus reducing heating and cooling costs. Related: How to Make Plantation Shutters Work in Your Home
  • Adding extra locks to window sashes will help tighten a window's seal, preventing air inflow and outflow.

By: Lindsey M. Roberts, Houzz

Have a story idea that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience? Read our Contributor Guidelines and email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

More posts by guest authors (137)

Your charitable donation will support our work to save America's National Treasures.

Donate