Replace vs. Restore: The Fantastic Window Debate

Generally, it is preferable to retain old windows and mend them up for energy efficiency — it prevents material from entering landfills, can save yourself money and preserves a specific charm that new windows might not have. However there are drawbacks too.

Experts: On the House in Progress blog, homeowner Aaron (a pseudonym) does a cost-benefit evaluation of replacement versus restoring his windows. He computes that replacing his windows would have cost him $16,000, and he would recoup his investment in energy savings following 30 decades. Restoring his windows cost him roughly $8,800, and he’ll recoup his investment in energy savings in 16 decades.

Cons: However, the hidden costs are time and energy. If Aaron had paid somebody to revive his chimney, then it may have cost more than it might have cost to replace them.

Which window is ideal for you? Read on and weigh the two sides to find out if new or uninstalled windows would be the best choice for your home.

Cathy Schwabe Architecture

The windows on the best of the San Francisco dining area are first; the windows on the left were salvaged from the deconstructed region of the home.

The aesthetic pleasure obtained from restoring — and even salvaging — windows is a very clear motive for using old windows.

Brennan + Company Architects

Jared Edwards of Smith Edwards Architects told a reporter for The New York Times that there were just two reasons to replace windows for more light or to eliminate window maintenance.

DSPACE Studio Ltd

Rotted eyeglasses, deteriorated sashes and leaking air may typically be fixed in window restoration — even a sterile window is not always too much gone for restoration.

But occasionally a home’s windows are actually beyond repair, especially if restoring them would not conserve any type of historic element to the construction. If your windows are 30 years old (or older), restoring them will not make much sense, aesthetically or historically.

Photo by tuppus via Flickr Creative Commons

Ben Herzog

If your residence is in a historical district, such as this Brooklyn brownstone, check if you’re allowed to replace your windows. Restoring may be the only alternative.

Hanson Fine Building

If you have the choice to replace, adding contemporary windows to a historical home can be a wonderful way to bring the contemporary aesthetic in. This bumped-out window was added to a West Philadelphia kitchen with Hanson General Contracting for a more modern look and a little additional space.

Schwartz and Architecture

Occasionally new windows may have a feel. In this 1907 home, Schwartz and Architecture installed new windows at a fourth-floor dormer expansion nevertheless retained the classic aesthetic of the home.

Inform us Are you really going to replace or restore your windows, and why?

Energy-Efficient Windows: Understand the Parts
Energy-Efficient Windows: Decipher the Ratings
Update Historic Windows for Charm and Efficiency

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