Double or single-paned for replacing vintage casement windows?

artemis78March 13, 2014

One of our original casement windows in our 100-year-old house blew out in a windstorm last night, so we need to replace it and its twin (which has some of the same issues that apparently made the first window vulnerable). We are getting identical windows as far as the number of lights, style, etc. but I'm undecided on whether to do single or double-paned glass. Double-paned obviously has some insulation benefits, but these are small windows and are honestly likely to lose most heat through the seals as the house shifts, not through the panes themselves. They are along the front of our house facing the street, so they're very visible. I'm not sure whether they'll look different aesthetically if they are double-paned or whether it really doesn't matter at all. Single-paned is cheaper, but the cost difference is negligible. Any thoughts/advice? Thanks!

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Your post does not mention your location, which might have some influence on your decision. Double paned windows help to save on heating bills as long as the rest of the window is installed properly. However, if cooling is the main priority you may get faster payback from low-E glass and solar screens. If you are in a cold weather area double panes are probably worth it. They also may be the standard for your area, so it saves explaining later why you did not use them.

Since the windows face a main street, double-paned may work better as a noise barrier, but you did not mention that as a priority.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 7:13AM
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Thanks! Should have mentioned temperate climate so heating/cooling isn't too much of a factor. We do get a draft in this area now, but I think it's more from the fit of the old casements than the glass itself. Not sure there is a standard as most homes either seem to have the original windows or had them replaced with double-hung or fixed windows; I rarely see new casements. So perhaps we can go either way with no worries...

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:05AM
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Duplicate post!

This post was edited by artemis78 on Thu, Mar 13, 14 at 11:34

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:06AM
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Circus Peanut

What kind of storm windows are you using with them?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:55AM
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No storm windows--happily (or sadly for lovers of seasons!) we're in Northern California, where the climate is pretty temperate. (To wit: we've been able to just lean a board over the opening where the window once was for the past week...)

At this point we've ruled out insulated glass and are down to deciding between laminated glass and just sticking with single-paned. (We learned that insulated glass will look quite different because the muntins need to be shallower to accommodate the thicker glass; this is apparently less of an issue with the laminated glass because it's thinner.) Still not sure we will get enough benefit from the laminated glass to be worth the extra cost, so it may just come down to the final estimates, which I hope to have today--but still welcome any other thoughts!

This post was edited by artemis78 on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 14:34

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 2:31PM
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Just my two cents' worth: It seems to me that if you live in a temperate climate, single-pane should suffice. Whatever you do, don't replace your windows with vinyl! Vinyl is thermally unstable and irreparable--if any part of a vinyl window breaks, you have to a) live with it or b) replace the entire unit, thanks to each unit being factory-assembled and unserviceable.

A good old-fashioned wooden frame with single-pane glass like the original might not be the sexiest kind of window to install, but I guarantee you will be the simplest and cheapest to repair if another storm comes along, or an errant soccer ball, or what have you. Just my humble opinion. :)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:05PM
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Thanks! We got our very last bid today, and ended up deciding to split the difference and go with laminated glass, which will give us some sound/insulation benefits and some protection against shattering while still preserving the look of the windows. We are doing wooden windows, sticking as close to the original design as possible, so that feels like a good middle ground.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:32PM
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