Old window resource ideas?

ks_toolgirlDecember 5, 2010

Hi, all. I've been thinking a lot lately about my old windows & what I'm going to be doing to them to get them back to their best. Missing hardware, some interior sills need replaced, (thanks, PO, for the new water heater, but did ya REALLY have to chop off a window corner to put it in??), many windows have been replaced with NOT wavy-cool glass over the years, I'd LOVE to put old glass in those...

Anyhow, I was thinking about possibilities for getting some wonderful old stuff & not paying crazy prices. In our area, there are no architectural salvage companies - (and wouldn't I love to start one!) - but there are several replacement window companies, including small local contractors. I'm considering the idea of contacting them, regarding the OLD windows they remove prior to installing their, um... "Stuff". Maybe they'd let me dumpster-dive, at the very least?

Has anyone tried this? Do liability issues prevent them from doing anything but send them to the landfill?

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Have you checked craigslist or freecycle? I have gotten plenty of old windows for my greenhouse that way. Some I paid a little for, but most were free.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 3:39PM
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Thanks, rafor, I haven't - but I will.

The windows that get ripped out, (for plastic replacements), have been on my mind lately. (And wood trim, flooring, etc). The "junk" that SOME (not all, I know) contractors fill dumpsters with that would benefit "PLU" ("People Like Us"). :-)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 4:03PM
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ks, Here are my 2 cents worth:

1. Get yourself over to oldhouseweb.com, General forums, and read any/all posts by jade mortimer. She restores old windows for a living and has tons of advice.
2. If you don't already have one, get a copy of Terence Meany's 'Working Windows'. It's the homeowner's bible for restoration work on old windows.
3. Familiarize yourself with John Leeke's website...

Please (I beg), don't rip out your old windows for plastic without learning what you can do to keep what you have!!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 5:18PM
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Patser... WHAT?? Lol! I think perhaps I didn't word my post correctly! Yikes - no worries, here.

Seriously, does Jade have an official fan club, yet? I've thought of starting one, lol!
Ironically, John Leeke's site was the first one I frequented when I started getting really into (obsessed with?) the cool-factor regarding the age of my house. That's when I decided Jade was who I want to be when I grow up! (But if I haven't "grown up" by now, I probably never will). :-)

I also frequent OHW, as a lurker only, & if you could have seen the look on DH's face when I hollered... "OMG, Jade posts here, too!". (The eye-rolling was at ME, not her - lol). But I think if the poor guy hears me say "Jade says..." one more time he may want to put his head through a window! (But he won't, because Jade would say "don't damage that old window"...) :-)

My question wasn't about replacing MY windows with vinyl... But using poor old replaced "period, local, landfill-bound" windows to replace destroyed or missing parts of mine! Sorry for confusing you - hope I didn't make you swallow your gum, lol.
Side note... I just spent the evening at DH's company Christmas party, at The Country Club, lecturing everyone with an old house about NOT replacing their windows, etc! :-). They weren't surprised. He's mentioned me & my "fettish", people I hadn't actually met before asked me how I feel about vinyl window replacement, just for fun. surveyors & engineers + OPEN BAR make for orneriness. ;-)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 6:27PM
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What type of windows?

Double hungs?

Resource Conservation Technology (Baltimore, MD) has plenty of gaskets and seals that can be installed into old double hungs to tighten them up without anything showing.
Most of the actual 'improvement' in newer windows is the gasketing to limit infiltration.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 7:38PM
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toolgirl- I had to laugh when I ready your post about the Christmas party! I thought I was the only one who did that!

There is a local window company here that sells vinyl windows, that has workers lurking at several of the local home improvement companies, and they ask EVERYONE who comes in if they want information about their windows. I think they know not to harass me anymore after I've told them a hundred times that, "I don't put plastic in my house!"

Seriously though, the advice about getting the book 'Working Windows' is great. Also, I used Spring Bronze to tighten the seal on my old double hungs and it works wonders! Also, you might consider placing a wanted ad in your local Craigslist stating that you are looking for old windows. I live in an area with a ton of salvage places so they are hard to come by on Craigslist, but you might be able to find them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spring Bronze

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 1:01PM
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The advice given here is great...when I bought my first "house I'm going to stay in for 25 years" (that I promptly was forced to give to my now ex wife...lol), it had 22 double-hungs in serious need of restoration (1865 farmhouse). Everyone and their mother told me I was nuts for not installing the new "super triple pane inert gas gonna cut my heating bill in half" windows and wanting to restore the original, structurally solid, but seriously in need of attention windows.

I'm handy, but not in the trades by any means. With some online research, the "Working Windows" book, and some trial and error, I was able to figure it out..without too much problems. Probably restored about half of them before the marriage fell apart....luckily over the years, I was able to convince the ex (who which I remain on good terms with) that this was the "right" thing to do (definitely not the "easy" way to go, though), and and her new dude have continued the restorations and not gone for replacements (I am at the house all the time to pickup/drop off the kids as we have 50-50 custody, so it would KILL me to see plastic replacements in that house!

My current house that I closed on this fall is from 1870....a Victorian with awesome all-original windows. Better shape that the first place, really just need to tidy them up and maintain them....oh, and of course, INSTALL THE SPRING BRONZE...I did that in the first house and it really helps keep a tight seal...excellent advice.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 2:40PM
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Wah-hoo, all! I only made one call so far, and got permission to "dumpster-dive" on the 1st try! The guy was really nice, considering I said right off that I don't want new windows & that's how he earns a living. :-) ...now, if I can just convince them to gently set the best ones aside without throwing them in the dumpster in the first place... Oh - and maybe keep my measurements in their pockets & call me when they find a dandy that'll fit. (My WINDOW measurements I mean, lol!). ;-)
Brickeyee, yes, they are double hung, spring-lock, heavy, unbalanced (as are the occupants, so I say that makes them "oddly appropriate", lol), no sash cords or places for them. Just the spring-pins and holes to keep them up. About as plain as they get. I'll look into R.C.T., perhaps the spring bronze as well as that book.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 4:25PM
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I'd say that if you want them to "gently set the best ones aside" you're going to have an uphill battle. Even if the business owner wants to help, it's tough to get the installers to cooperate. Typically they're under pressure to finish the job and move on, so they have little incentive to preserve the windows they rip out.

I wonder if you might have better luck getting in touch with one of the guys who actually does the work, and offering to BUY used windows from HIM for a good price. It would have to be high enough to make it worth his while to spend the extra time being careful with the windows.

BTW, another possible source of used windows is Freecycle.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 4:42PM
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Well I would go to one of my favorite places; Habitat Restore. Being in eastern Kansas, there are 3 within easy driving distance. Their inventory changes constantly as they get donations in so you have to keep looking. My guess though is that you can find something there given a little time and patience. Here's a link to their locations.

Here is a link that might be useful: Habitat Restore

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 2:29PM
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We had guys, restoration guys take wavy glass out of old windows and make new windows exactly what we had .Its expensive but I love em $800 per window.22+ windows



    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 9:56AM
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My house had about half the original windows, and the other half were failing vinyl replacements. I restored the originals, and actually got lucky with the rest- a neighbor down the street with the exact same house was getting new ones, so I asked the installers if I could have the old ones. The guy in charge thought it was a little funny, but was very excited not to have to take them to the landfill and made his crew stack them on my porch. I got new to me old windows in the exact sizes I needed for free. He gave me his card and told me to call whenever I wanted more.

You might have luck like I did just asking when you see them being removed.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 9:59PM
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