Old Windows in New Walls

Jan_SJune 10, 2008

We adore the original windows in our 1949 bungalow and want to keep them even though almost all the exterior walls in our remodel plan are supposed to be bumped out or rebuilt. Is it possible to remove the old windows and then re-install them into the new or remodeled walls?

We can't find any new windows that come close to the quality and feel of the originals and we'd be heartsick to lose them. We've asked around, but so far everyone just looks at us like we're crazy. To us the age and grace of our little house as it was originally built is worth a lot. It needs work almost everywhere from the basement to the roof so we though this would be a good chance to do the remodeling, but I'm having second thoughts even after 18 months of planning with an architect.

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Why don't you ask the architect about the windows? There may be good structural reasons why the old windows won't work, but maybe not - you need to ask the right people though... we're just guessing after all!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 8:59PM
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Yes, you can reuse the windows. It's done all the time. I wouldn't rely on the architect. I'd post your question on oldhouseweb.com and ask the folks, particularly jade, over there.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 9:43PM
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It's perfectly possible to reuse your old windows. You just need to reuse the old jambs that the windows are in now. Structurally there's no difference. The window opening needs to be large enough so that the old jamb will fit with a little extra space for shims to plumb the jamb. You need a carpenter that knows his trade.

The only real problem you might run into is your local building code. Some locales insist on dual pane windows in any permitted work.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 9:52PM
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Thank you for the replies! I'll check oldhouseweb and keep on the quest to find a sympathetic and talented carpenter. We've already gotten approval for single pane windows from the city so we're hoping the old ones will be allowed too, or at least some of them. We're in CA so we have very strict Title 24 rules, so you're right, it's an issue. thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 10:05AM
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