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TALKING: Windows; To Repair, Restore or Replace?

March 16th, 2011 · No Comments

Published: November 12, 1989

FROM almost every source – television, radio, direct mail and print ads – homeowners are being bombarded with promotions for thermal-pane replacement windows. A homeowner with an aging house and no restrictions on exterior modifications can find all this quite tempting.

The old windows may have unslightly rotted frames, which can let moisture and insects in. They may have deteriorated sashes, which make them hard to open and close. They may leak air, which results in heat loss. And the wooden muntins – the vertical and horizontal dividing bars – can be an annoying visual barrier and make cleaning difficult, although they also may add style and authenticity to a facade.

But before deciding to plunge ahead there are less expensive alternatives to weigh, for even the most economical job is likely to cost an average of $300 a window, plus installation. In addition, there are so many types of replacement windows on the market that it is important to know the questions that need to be asked. (It is also possible, by shopping around for dealers and installers, to replace the glass alone.) First, some claims need to be discounted. Heat conservation experts insist that, assuming the house already has a full set of storm windows, even old ones, there is no evidence to confirm manufacturers’ statements that there will be a major saving on fuel costs. ”There will be virtually no difference unless your windows leak and you don’t already have storms,” said Peter Judd, an assistant commissioner in the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Thus having the job done just to lower heating bills may be misguided. Further, brokers say, replacement windows will probably not add to resale value. ”It doesn’t make much difference,” said Ruth Brewster, president of Brewster Realty of Elizabeth, N.J., unless the existing windows are so decayed, rusted or warped that the house looks shabby and the fuel bills are far above average.

Tags: Champlain Valley Millworks · energy efficiency · Value-Added Historic Preservation · Wanamaker Restoration · windows

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