Specializing in bringing sustainable residential and light commercial construction to the Decorah Area.
Just because a window has been around for a century or more doesn’t mean it’s worn out and needs to be replaced. Peeling paint, disintegrating glazing, and broken or missing glass can make an old window look not just bad but beyond repair. But few old windows are beyond repair. With appropriate restoration and proper maintenance, windows built from old-growth wood (pre-1950s) can function well for many more years. Their performance can be substantially bolstered by using storm windows, caulk, and weather-stripping. Studies have shown that these simple improvements can result in insulating efficiencies similar to those of new insulated-glass windows.
The cost of restoring and improving the weatherization of original windows is competitive with the cost of replacements. It’s very possible that a century-old window, restored and well maintained, can serve well for another century. This is not true of most replacement windows, which have a much shorter life expectancy—typically 15 to 30 years—and can be difficult or impossible to repair. When these windows fail, there are few ways they can be recycled, and they will likely end up in landfills. This leads to a costly and environmentally insensitive cycle of removal and replacement.
Beyond insulation, economics, and environmental impact, there’s the building’s integrity to consider. The original windows in many older buildings represent an important aspect of the quality, character, and value in the property. Those windows were designed for that particular style of building. As the building’s “eyes,” they contribute greatly to its appearance. Inappropriate replacement windows can make a building not only less attractive but also less valuable. Even some of the better-quality replacements will seldom look like they really “belong” when compared to a building’s original windows.
We have extensive experience and expertise in working with old windows. Our approach is to take a close look at the windows needing work, then come up with a proposal and cost estimate tailored to those particulars, with options/variables specified. This enables the property owner to make a well- informed decision and have confidence in the outcome.
Historic Window Restoration in Homeowners Hands
Wood Window Restoration & Repair with David Wadsworth
David has been long been interested in incorporating the latest in building science, including energy efficiency, into his construction projects. Combine that with an interest in Historic Restoration, and a window preservation advocate has emerged. In 2010, David attended a one week window restoration class at The Campbell Center For Historic Preservation Studies http://www.campbellcenter.org/ taught by preservationist Bob Yapp, who is a founding member of the National Window Preservation Standards Collaborative, and co-author of The National Window Preservation Standards.
The class gave David the methodology and resources to make window restoration work a full time part of his construction business. Since 2010, David and crew have restored windows on over 30 residential and commercial projects.