Window Restoration or Replacement Windows: What's Right for You?

window restoration
Chemical paint stripper can be one of the options to remove paint.

Chemical paint stripper can be one of the options to remove paint.

When deciding whether to restore your windows or to replace them, the answer will lie with what sort of property owner you are. There are two types: the historian and the pragmatist.

The historian will prefer to keep the windows as per the original building. They are willing to go the extra mile to keep their windows intact. And they are also willing to make sacrifices in terms of insulation and glazing units. It becomes a matter of the value of the windows in terms of emotional attachment as well as in financial cost.

To perform a full restoration on a window, a lot of time and labor goes into it. The process involves stripping the paint, rebuilding the frame, inserting dutchman patches and epoxy resins to replace the rotten wood, priming, and then finally painting. It can be a very labor intensive process to do it correctly.

We often recommend making new sashes particularly when there are multiple lites and an increase in glass performance is required. It takes just as long if not longer to restore the sashes. New sashes can be fitted with insulated glass, as well as with wavy insulated restorer glass, thus replicating the look of the original windows.

In addition, new sashes can have new, modern weather stripping. Attempting to restore old metal weather stripping generally does not yield very fruitful results. Although it definitely has its purposes.

When it comes to the window frame, this is where you can reap the true reward of restoration.  We don't need to remove any interior casings, wall panels, or plaster work. When any of these elements are removed and need to be replaced, the amount of money involved can become significant, depending on the trim work details involved.

All in all, the results of restoration and the remaking of sashes can be very rewarding, although very labor intensive.

When doing a full brick to brick window replacement, a lot of those surrounding details can be destroyed. A brick to brick replacement can be a very aggressive process. If that's not an option, then restoration is a highly recommended solution.

If the property is under construction, for example, then a full brick to brick replacement of windows might be a viable option.

Insert Window

Insert Window

However, for the pragmatist, there are a lot of windows from which to choose. The new windows can be installed as an insert window. This would be a new window with a modern mechanical lifting mechanism.

Replacement windows are a practical option when the cost or time constraints of restoration or fabrication are not options. This also allows for little disturbance of interior casings. And sometimes replacement windows can even be installed from the exterior. A lot of these windows can be accepted by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The drawback, in our opinion, is that the mechanical balance has metal and plastic parts that deteriorate quickly when used with new growth pine. 

If you would like to learn more, give us a call.

What's lost in terms of appearance is gained in convenience. It all comes down to a matter of personal preference.

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Project: 920 Fifth Ave.

Right Path Windows & Restoration restored wooden sash windows in this Italian palazzo-style building. It was designed by noted architect J. E. R. Carpenter and was built in 1922. He lived in the building until his death, as did legendary actress Gloria Swanson. The windows of the penthouse on the corner of 73rd St. overlooking Central Park were in need of restoration

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Project: The Cottage at Seaview

Project: The Cottage at Seaview

This building began its life as a dormitory on Staten Island, housing the workers at the county's "poor farm" from 1916 until the 1930s. At that point, The Cottagebecame the residence of the director of Seaview Hospital before being abandoned in 1973. The property was landmarked in 1985 before being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Complete renovations began in 2014.

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Project: The Hotel on Rivington

Project: The Hotel on Rivington

The Hotel on Rivington helped to usher in a new day on the Lower East Side with its sleek and thoroughly modern design. This twenty-story glass and aluminum boutique hotel towers over its neighbors, primarily consisting  of tenement-style buildings with storefronts. The fashionable destination hotel wanted to keep its appearance fresh and up to date with a new facade that included custom-fabricated windows and doors. along with decorative interior wall panels

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Project: 59 Highland Ave.

This historic home was built in 1897, and it remained in the hands of the same family until 1995. Since then it has seen only two owners, both of whom have made renovations and restorations that were true to the home's original character.

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Project: 45 E. 66th St.

45 E. 66th St.

Completed in 1908, this building was originally called Parkview as it afforded a commanding view of Central Park. Located on the corner of 66th St. and Madison Ave., it loomed over the rest of the low scale row houses that existed on the block.

This building ushered in a new style of living on the Upper East Side, with 13-room apartments and accommodations for staff. Rather than residing in single family detached homes, fashionable New Yorkers of the time lived high above the dust and noise of the street level.

It was landmarked by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1977.

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Acetylated Wood for Windows

Although wooden windows have a unique character and beauty all their own, some owners struggle to justify keeping them when the issue of refurbishment arises. When historic buildings intended to see an extended service life confront the issue of window repair, modern advances in chemistry may be able to provide a long-lasting remedy. 

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The Money Behind the House

In order to gain a bit of perspective about Charlton Hall, we need to take a look back at the first owner's father, David Dows, Sr.  He was born a farmer's son in 1814. When he left his father's home in 1828 to work in a dry goods store, there were fewer than 20 miles of railroad tracks in the country. The nation was poised for expansion and railroads played a major role, not just by physically opening up access to the West, but economically as well. Dows was heavily involved in the growth of the railroad and all of the profits that could be reaped from previously untapped markets.

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The House Behind the Windows

Charlton Hall was built circa 1916 by noted Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer for David Dows, Jr.. Perched on the edge of the Jazz Age, the fortune upon which this house had its foundation was a product of the Gilded Age. While the rest of the country was in a forward-looking mood, this residence was a nod towards times gone by.

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