repair or replace

mkoenigMarch 27, 2013

I own a 1922 Dutch Colonial Revival twin. We are in the process of repairing the sunroom (which is also the main entry on the house) and we are debating whether we should repair or replace the windows of the structure. They are, as far as I can tell, original to the house. Thus, (and being this is a sunroom) they are quite large. We have already decided that we need to replace the door (it is beyond repair). There are a total of 8 windows, plus a small transom above the door. Repair would cost us between 1,500 and 2k. On the low end, we had a quote of 4k for replacement to vinyl (these would be smaller windows - I don't have the exact measurements in front of me, but roughly 5" shorter than existing. The "gap" would be made up by increasing the height of the knee wall, which needs to be insulated anyway). I think that the new vinyl would stick out like a sore thumb, as none of the other windows in the house have been replaced to vinyl. They are all the original double hung windows, single pane glass. They operate with varying degrees of efficiency. Currently, the windows on the sunroom do not operate at all (the genius that owned the house before painted them, including all the hardware, shut). The contractor that we are going with (who specializes in finish carpentry, etc) assures us he can restore and make them operable. However, I'm not 100% sure what is the best option. If we do go ahead with restoration, we would like to add storm windows panels over the windows to increase energy efficiency. What are your thoughts on that?
I'd like to get some thoughts from the experts, so I feel more comfortable with our ultimate decision.
Some points to weigh in...
- I really would like to keep the architectural look of the entire house cohesive. I've seen one or two neighbors go with more modern smaller vinyl windows on the room (to save money) and it just looks wrong. On the flip side, we live in an economically depressed area. The SD is in the bottom 15% of the State. We will never see a huge increase in the value of the house if we go to sell (which we do not plan on doing, but throwing it out there as a caveat). Current value on the house would be between 100K, not more than 125K. At the height of the housing market (a few years back), a neighbors house sold for 170k. This was right before the bubble burst, so I doubt we will see figures like that again. All the houses on the block have the same floor plan and architectural features.
So, knowing all this, would you repair or replace?
I can add additional details and / or pics if needed.
The windows themselves are all about the same size - 76" high, by 37" wide.
Thanks again!

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Did the $1,500 - $2,000 in restoration include the storm windows?

If so, I would say that is a fine option and even more so give the fact that you want to keep the aesthetic reveal consistent.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 9:00PM
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Given you have the original double hung windows everywhere else, I'd definitely repair them, and then I'd consider adding storm windows after you lived with them for a year and decided if you needed them or not.

Seems to me storm windows added for higher efficiency would be better applied in areas like the bedrooms. Frankly, it's likely less about efficiency as it is about comfort. Make the rooms you spend the most time in the most comfortable from a draft perspective. If that's the sunroom, and you enjoy that space a lot in the winter months, then you might choose to add them there.

It sounds like you're opening walls for insulation, so you're likely going to realize significant improvements from that (spray foam would be a good choice). Take care to properly insulate around the old window frames. Chances are you have counter weights in the walls for the original double hung mechanism, which unfortunately you can't fill with insulation and keep operable, but you should be able to seal things up pretty well.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 4:39PM
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Good advice TT.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 7:57AM
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