replacing windows in an old brick house

eye_joshMay 25, 2006

Alright I am new here and I saw that you guys actually reply to people,

I am trying to figure out how to replace my windows in a house I bought last


The windows I have now are pretty much wasted, the previous owner decided to

paint them without removing the old paint, re-glaze without cutting the excess

glaze of, and also painted EVERY single surface that should never be painted

(rails, etc.).

I have 24 windows that will need to be replaced so even doing it cheap is a

load of money.

My question is can I use replacement windows or do I need "new construction"


also I am sorta confused about how to finish the outside: as should i use

brick mould w/caulk or aluminum? I have looked around at other peoples houses

and a lot of them have what looks like colored sheet metal around the outside.

And some sort of grey caulking, I've seen this caulking on about every brick

building i have looked at and I do not know what it is.

In one of the photos below I pulled the brick mould off to see what was

underneath, expecting to find the edge of the window frame, but found a 1X4....

any help or advice would be appreciated.


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I wonder why you want to replace the windows. I don't see anything in your photos that indicates the windows need replacing.

Judging by the storm window hangers in one photo your house is a few years old; probably at least 50. New aluminum clad windows would not be in keeping with the style of the house.

I'd scrape and patch and paint. Even if there are multiple layers of paint you can do a little scraping and these windows will look better than anything you will buy today.

If you are worried about energy efficiency, you can get some storm windows or even spend a little time making the existing double hung windows more weather tight. It takes a long, LONG time to recover the cost of new windows in fuel savings.

An excellent book on maintaining old windows is 'Working Windows' by Terry Meany. You can get it at several on-line booksellers.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 12:02AM
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I agree. As I looked at the pictures, I thought that your windows look better than the ones I've been stripping and reglazing. I'd love to have those storm windows. Restoring those windows will take more time than skill, but the result will look better than any vinyl replacement window. Your muntin profile gives the windows a dimension that will be difficult, if not impossible, to find in a vinyl replacement window. The tape between the glass or a removeable grill will never look the same. Easy doesn't mean better.

I know this will be a minority opinion. I also suggest you give very serious thought to keeping those windows. You can also add an insulation strip to the inside of that great storm window to decrease any air infiltration.

Please price a wooden replacement window, installation, and new storms. Compare that to the cost of restoring your windows. An energy audit will help you determine where you have heat loss in your home. It is incorrectly assumed that simply replacing windows is the answer to energy conservation in older homes.

(If i can do a window, anyone can.)

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 6:49AM
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Im not replacing them for the energy savings, I just want to be able to open them. I have seriously debated restoring them and just don't have the time. This window is not as bad as some of the others. Also on the front of the house and one side, the last owners replaced a set of 4 and 2 sets of 3 of these mulled together with an aluminum sliding picture window. I will try to get some more photos, and the house was build in the early 30's.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 7:36AM
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Sounds like you have a real dilemma. There is a contributor named "paint guy" who offers some great advice about windows. I hope he sees your post and is able to help you. Please let us know how it works out.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 8:47AM
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Is the house masonry (2 layer brick walls) or veneer (1 layer of brick with internal framing)?
You wil have very hard time finding anyone who will replace windows in a masonry house with anything but smaller windows set into the existing frames. The sashes are stripped out and new windows installed into the wood left behind.
If the house is brick veneer you can find a few installers who will do the job by removing the entire existing window.

The windows are actually in pretty good shape and do not need much work.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 2:15PM
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I have a 50 year old brick vaneer home and we replaced all 27 windows in our home with Weld-Jen double hung vinyl windows. All windows were custom made to fit the openings perfectly and no bricks were ever bothered. The interior sills were left alone and the windows fit like they had always been there. In main areas we have wood tone interiors which looks for the world like real wood. The windows tilt in for easy cleaning which can be a real plus if you have a two story house. All of the windows are low e thermopane windows and they have cut our utilities about 40%. You can also have muttons between the panes if you like that style. Suggest you obtain some bids from local window companies.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 6:06PM
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Well, since you are determined to replace...

You can probably use either type of window, though to be honest, it's always harder than window companies describe. I just put in a couple of Marvin Infinity windows (fiberglass insert replacements) in our 50 yr old house, and I must say, they look a h*ll of a lot better than the original wooden junk with aluminum triple-track storms. And they work.

The standard advice for which type to use is to look at the frame condition. If they are rotted, or out of square, they should come out, and new construction windows go in. A pressure treated frame can be built inside the opening if it is a masonry house. If they're not, you can use inserts, which are available in wood and fiberglass, too.

The outsides were originally wood, and then sometime later someone added aluminum casing to them. This is what you'll probably have to do also. You can hire someone to do this for you, or the window company can do it, or you can get the tools & materials to do it yourself. The caulking is fairly standard stuff that is usually paintable.

I don't know if in the end this will be much quicker then restoring the old ones, but you'd probably like everything to match. Either way, you're looking at a good bit of $$$. I'd probably hire this job out to a company that makes the window style you like. Or do a couple a year, like I am!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 1:19PM
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"A pressure treated frame can be built inside the opening if it is a masonry house. "

Or you can anchor te windows nto the masonry using tapcons and not loose the opening size (1.5 inches each way).
Lining the opening with wood os a shortcut used when the installer does not know how to anchor to masonry.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 7:53PM
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Well here is an update, I thought I could try to "restore" them, so I started with the screens and the storm windows, got a heat gun and started striping paint, thatÂs a freaking job there. The storm window and screen I got done look great but it takes an enormous amount of time. Also the parts that needed to be replaced are unavailable at any lumber yards around here things like shoe molding to hold the glass in the storm window, or my brick molding that is rotted out. So im just going to replace them one at a time, does anyone know where I can get the colored aluminum to pan/flash around the outside of the window? All the old houses I have looked at with replaced windows seem to have the old wood brick mold and sill/stools covered with this. Home stores sell replacement windows but not the stuff to install themÂ..

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 7:11AM
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There are several companies out there who make custom size replacement windows. Personally I would not look to one of the big box stores for a solution.

You are going to have to decide where your budget is taking you. Wood, wood clad, glazing, etc, along with the quality of product you are willing to invest in.

I would be looking at both functionality and energy efficiency. Installation procedure is going to depend on manufacturer, and the construction of your home, which is not visible in your photos. You may be best served by using a manufacturer who provides a turn key solution.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 3:46PM
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I have replaced 17 windows in my 60 year old double brick house. I used vinyl replacement windows. They look great and they work. One window had a rotted frame. I built a new frame and sill with material you can purchase from any lumber yard.(not home store). I had one sill that was rotted which I repaired with a two part epoxy. It was a lot less work than stripping, painting and reglazing.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 2:39PM
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