Window Restoration Estimate

schroadsFebruary 28, 2011

I wanted to post in this forum first because the Windows Forum is very pro-replacement windows. I have 30 original, wood double hung windows that vary between 8/1, 12/1 16/1 and 20/1 panes. My wife and I want to keep the windows because we love the look and style. I have zero skills in construction other than manual labor, landscaping and outdoor equipment, so I am looking at hiring someone to restore these windows.

Of the 30 windows, 28 are working well and 2 have broken chains. All the windows have new storms. I had a quote to restore 5 of the living room windows. These windows have the worst glazing and are in the roughest shape. The contractor is providing:

Sashes are removed from openings, storm to serve as

temporary window while wood sashes are out. Exteriors to

be stripped down to bare wood, all glazing removed, glass

left in place. Windows to be repaired where needed and

reglazed with high quality flexible compound (to be named), primed with oil based primer and top coated with two coats of latex white finish paint. Zinc weatherstripping to be applied at all friction and meeting points to insure tight fit around entire perimeter of both sashes. Existing parting beads and stops to be reused. Newly glazed sashes to be re-hung in openings with new chain and salvaged hardware. Sashes to ride smoothly and quietly and

meet in the middle evenly. No refinishing of interiors is

included except minor touch ups where necessary because

of removal process.

The cost of $360.00 per window. I have two other quotes coming next week, but I am curious if anyone is familiar with the costs and if the estimate is high, middle or low. My initial reaction was a little high, but I am not too sure. I am in New Jersey if that helps.

Thanks for your help!

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That is a tedious job - So cost is reflective of the manual labor of this time consuming task

I had my windows restored 6/1 80yrs old -
they removed windows, re-weighted where necessary (guy drives around with cast iron window weights :) - Glazed where needed (minor in our case), all new parting strips - I would question this, as typically this is what causes double hungs to get caught up - simple to do with windows out. All new roping

No painting - this was $200/window 5.5 yrs ago

I don't know about the "zinc weatherstripping"
This may help about weatherstripping old windows
TOH weatherstripping,,1120083,00.html

Here is a link that might be useful: TOH

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Unless the glass has been out and in within the last 10 years, it really needs to come out now and be re-bedded. You're not really getting any value otherwise, and most of the labor is wasted. It will increase the price. But without that step it's a half measure.
They can't really get the windows operating smoothly unless all the contact points have all paint removed, this includes the inside of the sash and the window stops.
The item should read stops will be reused unless degraded or broken during removal. parting bead to be replaced as required with (heart pine, heart cypress, white oak, mahogany; a weather-resistant wood).
For the amount of work the price seems really good; it's not cheap to install interlocking weatherstrips.

Here is a link that might be useful: Interlocking zinc w-stripping

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:41PM
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I just finished having mine done: between $300-$350 each for everything you mention except I did all the painting. Terrible job--but so nice to be done with it! Many of the windows were painted shut, especially the upper sashes, and many had broken or missing ropes and weights. Many needed new glass. I did 3-4 per year until all 15 were done.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 3:16PM
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I think that is a good price. Last year we had our windows mechanical restored only - for about $225 per window. They took out the window and then we reglazed our 30 6 over 6 windows. It's a long tedious task. It did save us a lot of money, though. We did the same on the second floor - 30+ Windows ten years ago.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 6:26PM
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sombreuil - thanks for that link, it's the first time I've seen a source for new interlocking weatherstrip. I have it on my windows and it's the best thing ever! Once I rebuild a window there is no air leakage. My stucco & plaster help but that stripping wonderful. I laugh at my friends with their expensive, chilly replacement windows and when they brag about their 25 year warranties I lose all restraint. I am (slowly)restoring mine for the first time after 98 years and most are still in pretty good shape.

Schroads, if you are at all handy and if cost is a big issue, consider rebuilding your windows yourself. It's not that difficult, especially if you are willing and able to take some time and approach the job methodically. There are good books that dissect their construction and offer good information on how to do it. I don't have mine handy right now but there are good information and references at this link.

Here is a link that might be useful: John Leeke's Historic HomeWorks

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:55PM
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Killian hardware is another source for the zinc weatherstripping. Our house had the original zinc interlocking weatherstripping on all but one window (the ugly step child?). We ordered it for this window and I was impressed with the heft of the new stuff...comparable to the old. In the link below, they've lumped the zinc weatherstripping in with the spring bronze; just scroll to the bottom for zinc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Killian hardware zinc weatherstripping

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 6:10AM
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Killian is a retailer/reseller, Accurate (and Zero international) are manufacturers, and have their full lines. The options are just staggering. I never knew they made special press-fit metal strips to seal metal casement windows, for example.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zero

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:52AM
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Thanks for the comments. I have spoken to a couple of other individuals where I work and they advised that the labor and time need for a good restoration/upkeep makes the $350 figure fair. I liked the contractor and thought he was thorough. I have to see if the budget can handle it.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:17AM
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For what it's worth, I've restored about 8 old double-hung windows in my (now my ex's) old 1860s farmhouse. They were all identical, about 62 x 32 I think...all 2 over 2.

I took them out, removed glass and old glazing, completely stripped the paint of the sashes as well as the interior of the frames, repaired with wood epoxy where needed, then reglaze, prime and paint, install new sash cords, etc, reinstall sash locks, etc. I went with spring bronze weatherstripping, had never heard of the zinc I guess.

I would estimate I spent about 40 hrs per window. Now I am a weekend DIYer so am no where near as fast as a pro, but I am happy with how they came out and 8 years later they still look great.

For what you are getting, I think that estimate is pretty reasonable. And I APPLAUD YOU for getting them restored, not drives me nuts when people take the easy way out because of the sales pitch from all the window manufacturers about cutting your utility bills in half...that is such bullsh*t.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 12:02PM
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Thanks to this thread (and reading several others), I'm going to push my boyfriend to reconsider restoring our approximately 60" x 32" original 2 over 2 double hungs. We only have 10 of them, thankfully.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 12:18PM
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I restored my 1858 windows (74"x37", 6-over-6's), much like Mkroopy, over a period of years & I can honestly say that there is no way I would do it for anyone else for $360/per window - or any price near that! That sounds like a bargain if the work is decent.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 4:46PM
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schroads, who are you considering for your window work?


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 5:09PM
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Mkroopy - Thanks for the kind words. The wife and I thought it was a no brainer. The house is 85 years old with chestnut and pine windows. There is little to no rot and all the wavy glass is still in place. The size and weight of the windows demonstrates that they are not going any where any time soon. They should be good for another 15-20 after reglazed and repainted with storms. Finally, they look so much better than anything else made today.

johnleeke - We are looking at WMG Restoration, JRB Historic Restoration, and local painter who does historic painting and window work (Welsh Painting).

Thanks again for all the comments and it looks like we are going to do it in phases--over the course of 3-4 years.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 12:58PM
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John, I noticed you are in Portland ME. Any recommendations for a wood window restorer in the Concord NH area? I have a 1780 colonial with windows that need help! TIA

schroads: I think your estimate sounds like it is in the ballpark.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 2:14PM
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rafor, have you contacted Dave Bowers of Olde Window Restorers in Weare? He did 25 windows in our Contoocook house over a period of a couple of years. We're very pleased.

Here is a link that might be useful: Olde Window Restorers

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 9:13PM
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Where were you all 20+ years ago when I was doing this job myself?! :) By the trial-and-error process I got through all 16 but I don't know if there even was a price high enough that I would have accepted to do it for someone else-- it was tough. Unfortunately I am now almost 53 years old and ready to start it again in a few weeks. Not looking forward to the process at all, but we will probably be selling in the next 5 years or so and the windows should look good.

I just hope that we can find a nice, young, energetic couple to sell the house to...

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 9:33PM
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