The Case for Repairing Wood Windows

Old House Journal|July - August 2020

The Case for Repairing Wood Windows
Jimmy Carter was President the first time I wrote an article like this one. I have no problem saying it all again.
Patricia Poore

My own house, once on the market as a tear-down, was completely renovated in 1998. The 1904 windows, rebuilt or repaired at the time, continue to serve. My new production windows, added when rear porches were converted to living space, have lost their double-glazing seals and are coming apart at the seams. Not long ago, I saw a trade memo that stated “new window life expectancy” to be 8–20 years.

There will always be good reasons to buy new windows for old houses, including major renovation and additions. Very high-quality windows are being made, with many options available for materials, energy efficiency, and customization. These premium windows are understandably very expensive—and prohibitively so, when considering replacement of most or all of the windows in an old house.


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July - August 2020