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.

Subscribe in a reader