Just how expensive is it to replace historic Craftsman windows?

kikiqApril 16, 2010

Hi all,

I am looking at purchasing a small 1912 Craftsman bungalow to live in in California. It looks like a sweet deal, except the windows have all been torn out and replaced with ugly vinyl sliders. The house is in an historic district and the City has already filed a "notice of noncompliance" on the issue. The seller wants to dump this thing as-is. I think not wanting the hassle of dealing with the city is why no investors have snapped this thing up.

So here's my question. I keep reading that replacing historic windows is "really expensive." If I'm getting a $30k discount on a house, does that make up for it? It's a small house, so there are about 8 to 10 average size windows involved.

I am prepared to get real quotes from professionals if I am in the ballpark, but since I'm at home with a 7-month-old baby in a city about an hour away, I don't even want to get my hopes up if the numbers don't come close to penciling out.

Thank you so much for any info you might have.

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You need to start at the agency who issued the notice of non-compliance.
Find out exactly what they will accept as replacements.
What mfg. have these.
What vendor, be it a lumber yard or a window supplier such as T.M.COBB

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 12:19PM
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I don't know much about actual pricing. We bought 3 wood double hungs from a house about to be torn down (for $150), just need to refinish and put them in. My comment is about timing. Do you need to replace the windows quickly and will you have the money on hand to do so? If 30k discount is good, does that actually help you replace them right away if necessary?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 7:13PM
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I replaced with custom wood (wide grain fir to match previous, not CVG), 3 and 5 light over 1 light, historically accurate, for my 1919 Craftsman. The windows that were 26" x 49" were $950 each. The windows that were 45" x 49" were $1500 each. This was through a local company in Portland, OR. So far I've only done 6 of them, as I'm saving up for the remainder of the 21 that still need to be done! Oh, how I wish I only had 10 to do! However, the ones with the Craftsman style divided lights on top were the most expensive. I've gotten quotes for the remainder simple double hungs (36"x49") were $750.
Good Luck.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 11:53AM
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We paid about $1000/window in the SF Bay Area for wooden double-paned double-hung windows designed to match the originals, which was on the low end of the custom bids we got and on the high end of the out-of-the-box wooden windows we looked at. (We went custom because the rest of the windows are still original, so we didn't want the two we replaced to look out of place.) You can get simple wooden double-hungs for $500ish in NorCal if the city doesn't care that they be "authentic" (which they may not---in our city, you just aren't allowed to put the vinyl or aluminum sliders in old houses, but as long as it's generally in keeping with the look they don't care beyond that).

I'd give the city a call to find out for sure, though.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 2:06AM
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Hard to say without seeing it. Are the channels for the ropes & pulleys still intact and original sill + trim around the window? Sometimes they just insert those slider things on the sides over the existing wood frame,

If so sashes alone and new parting stops & pulleys (weights may be inside) might cost considerably less than having to reconstitute the whole assembly. Esp. if you were to do the re-assembling yourself. That was the route I took with 2 windows that were missing their sashes  just had a guy make a sash for about $200 ea.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 5:16PM
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Google "Wewoka Windows" in Wewoka, Oklahoma. They're nationally known for their historically accurate, quality work, and the last time I asked about it, normal sized, divided light double hung were not $1,000.00 a window. You can always have them shipped to your location and installed by a local person.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 4:21AM
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I am in the process of replacing windows for a 3 unit craftsman property. We had both handmade and Marvin factory made windows to match what we already have. Both ran slightly under $1,000 per window. The local-made ones looked lovely because they matched perfectly but the finish on the primer coat was really rough. When I refused to take them until they were resanded and reprimed, the owner of the shop said that they were up to the standard of our community. After a big argument. I got enough of a discount from him to resand and repaint myself. My advice is to really look at previously installed work from the local guy. Otherwise the windows are beautiful and historically accurate, but double paned. I'm saving up for the next batch.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 9:31AM
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The first thing you need to find out is if they are going to require you to comply with California's Title 24 (energy conservation,) or if they will give you a waiver. Finding historic windows which are also Energy Star certified is an expensive proposition.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 11:30PM
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I'm currently doing a remodel and if you can, check out Wooden Windows in Oakland. The can do accurate reproductions of your existing windows. If required they can do double panes but it's not always a requirement.

In my remodel in regards to Title 24 (at least according to my architect and contractor) they are looking at the total energy conservation. In my case, I am adding insulation, adding better windows than were existing, LED lighting, etc. I was not required to do double pane energy star windows. I ended up with some nice tight windows that match the existing windows down to the ropes and pulleys and I am meeting Title 24 requirements

Here is a link that might be useful: Wooden Window

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 7:08PM
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