what to do with your old, historic windows?
the answer is simple, keep them.
If your house was built before World War II, think of it more as an antique than an old house. Its future value and present charm can be measured to a large degree by the way in which it has been cared for and kept original. Windows are essential fabric in maintaining the history of domestic architecture. Keep them and you will be glad as will future owners of your house and neighbors.
Restoration is recommended when there is significant decay of wood elements, the glass is loose, or more than one third of the putty is either loose or missing. We restore all kinds of windows. Ninety-five percent were made between 1850 and 1950. In this period the mass production of architectural millwork brought very high quality materials and fabrication techniques to residences and monumental structures alike. The evolution of component sizes, profiles, and joinery along with the use of naturally grown (not farm-raised) wood delivers real classics of architecture — design which basically can not be improved.
This service keeps us ahead of other restoration companies. In our facility, with Sapele Mahogany and traditional joinery, we can fabricate precise reproductions of all traditional windows. We do this work with period machinery and modern custom carbide cutting steel. Our installation specialist will work in the shop during a big fabrication enhancing their skills and understanding. We can and have produced 4,000 sash runs as well as one off reproductions.
Refurbishment is recommended when there is no significant decay and the glazing putty is sound. Poor operation, air infiltration, broken glass, and excess paint are among the problems solved. In Washington D.C. buildings built between 1920-1950 are most likely to need this sequence. In this process we do not strip all paint, putty, and glass off the sash.
This sequence of work is for windows where there is no decay and basically all paint and putty are sound. Some windows in neighborhoods like Chevy Chase and Kalorama that have had good paint maintenance through their lifetime need only for hardware and function improvements. The sash are still removed from the frames to replace weatherstripping and ropes, and to improve sash operation, but generally only 10% of those sash will return to the facility for heavier work. Cost for this process is less than half of the cost of complete restoration. We find it is best to allow the craftsmen to determine whether a given window can merely be repaired or rather requires refurbishment. This process rarely applies to every window in a given structure.
WHAT NOT TO DO
What should never be done with your old, historic windows.
WHILE WINDOWS ARE RESTORED, HOW ARE THE OPENINGS TREATED?
Your sash will be gone for 6-7 weeks for restoration. In their place are white corrugated panels. They seal out the weather and let in light.