Don’t Buy Replacement Windows For Your Old House
If you own a house built before 1960 that has its original windows, be grateful. Nothing will ever look as good. And, contrary to what you may have heard from the building and remodeling industries, new windows will not function better. They will not save you buckets of money in energy costs. They may not even last until you have finished paying for them.
Mathew Cummings, AIA, an architect based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, has worked on some of this country’s oldest houses. He is unequivocal on the subject.
“Never, never, never throw away old windows,” he says. “People replace 200-year-old windows with new vinyl ones that are guaranteed for five years. They are made of oil products and evil gases and soon their useful life is over and they end up in the landfill. Old windows are made of clean wood and glass, and, once rebuilt, are good for another 200 years.”
That’s the beauty of it: Old-house windows were built of higher-grade wood than what is available today, and were designed to be endlessly rebuilt. That’s also the downside: most aren’t.