Replacing wood windows

zazutooJanuary 24, 2011

My house was built in 1929 and has 3 over 1 double hung windows which need to be replaced or repaired when I do a renovation. I want to replace or repair the 16 windows on the first floor.

I have a quote (from last year so it might be a bit low) from Marvin for $300 a window with another $125 to install. I don't want to go vinyl so I am looking at wood. The present windows are original with the house and have wooden storms and screens that are changed out twice a year. I can't even find anyone to repair the original windows, and I am afraid that if I went this route that broken screens or storms would have to be custom made.

The replacement cost would take a big chunk out of the remodel budget.

Any comments, suggestions, or recommendations would be much appreciated.


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What part of the country do you live in?

At this stage, I encourage you to focus only on repairing. Here are 2 contacts - I think both could help with referrals in your area.
Jade Mortimer is the contact person
John Leeke.

About 5 years ago, we bought some Marvin Ultimate Double Hung all wood to get rid of vinyl that a PO had put in. There is no way we paid as little as $300/window.

We've restored some of other other original 1919 windows and it's not hard work, but it does take time.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 5:42AM
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Thanks, Patser. I am in Wisconsin if that is of any help.

My GC is comparing the Marvin's to the vinyl windows he likes to put in new houses, saying that $300 is too much to pay.

My old windows are in pretty good shape, but not all of the work, many are drafty, no insulation in sides, they are single paned, and worst of all, I have to change out the wooden storms and screens twice a year.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 9:36AM
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We used to live in St. Paul, MN. I can't find the card for the window restoration guy we knew but I'd suggest contacting the Twin Cities bungalow Club at this email address for local info.

More info is available at MN preservation.

Also, do contact Jade at Heartland. She posts all the time on the forums at Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: MN Preservation

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 6:10AM
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If you want to try it yourself Conservation Technology (Baltimore, MD) has a large selection of seals that can be retrofitted to double hung windows.

The plastic 'flipper' seals go in t narrow slot in the sides and top of the upper sash & bottom of the lower sash.

Felt seals work at the meeting rail.

Nothing shows when the windows are closed, and not much when they are open either.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 10:23AM
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Zazutoo... keep those windows. We made the mistake of replacing our 1929 windows many years ago... we kept one room with the originals and every time I look around I realize what a big mistake it was. By the way.. anyone know of where I can buy replacements for this period in central NJ? I would love to reinstall

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 5:38PM
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If you replace your wood windows rather than restoring them, you will be making a mistake you will regret forever. There is not window made today that stacks up against a restored old wood window, except a very expensive wood window made by Kolbe -- which is, by the way, made exactly the same way as the old wood windows.

Look on this forum for all the trouble people have with their new thermal windows -- from every manufacturer, not just a few.

The U.S Park Service, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, and scores of other disinterested (ie not window manufacturers) have looked at the merits of restoration vs. replacement, and all have come down on the side of restoration.

Take a look at these sites for more information:

Repair or Replace Old Windows

The Repair of Historic Wooden Window

Your Old Windows

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 11:58PM
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A window of that vintage, with only small defects in operation, should be repaired.

You can get new, insulated storm windows for good prices that will help the thermal performance of that opening.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 8:21AM
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