“New” Replacement Windows
I am planning to replace the windows in my 1910-vintage house. The existing windows are double-hung with a partitioned top sash and a single pane on the bottom sash. Throughout the house, there are about 3 sizes that repeat.
I’d like to replace these with a high quality double insulated window. I know the regular drop in vinyl replacement windows would be easiest to install, but partly I don’t like the looks of them, and the bigger problem is that a lot of the exterior sills and surrounding trim is deteriorated and needs to be replaced. The window sills on the inside are no prizes either, nor is the interior trim. So I’ve resigned myself to going back to a rough opening on the inside and out, and putting in what would essentially be new construction windows. One other issue is that in 1962, the house was aluminum sided, right up to and covering some of the original outside wooden trim. I eventually plan to remove the aluminum siding, as well as whatever is underneath, and re-side the house with something nicer looking.
So, can anyone recommend a brand or catalog line of windows for this application? I’d like painted wood on the inside, and something low maintenance on the outside. Any suggestions for how to remove the original exterior trim without getting into too much trouble with the overlapping siding? What pitfalls should I worry about? What’s the best way to make the new windows waterproof at the junction of the siding?
Thanks for helping me think about this somewhat daunting project.
I would recommend the Jeld Wen (formerly Caradco) wood windows. They are wood sash with an exterior made of PVC so they are weather resistant but can be painted as I would assume you will. Screens are also available.
CARADCO IS CRAP..... the wood sash will rot faster than you can save the money to re paint
USED TO BE! Jeld-wen now has Aura Last which completely protects the wood down to the core. This gives them a 20 year warranty...better than Andersen! It's like Thompsonized for clear wood.
So, can anyone recommend a brand or catalog line of windows for this application?
Marvin. Check into Kolbe and Kolbe as well if you can get them locally. Stay away from anything in windows that looks like a fly by night outfit (Any window just $129.95!!), or the second hand stores.
I'd like painted wood on the inside, and something low maintenance on the outside.
Many lines offer cladding of one sort or another. Some are metal, some are plastic. One interesting way to see the difference is to visit a window retailer and look at the cut out displays where you can see the whole assembly in section view. You'll see some with paper thin cladding, some with 1/4" extrusions wrapping the whole thing. Big difference in quality and durability. Actually, Norco isn't really a "high end" window, and I think they're owned by Jeld Wen now, but their extrusion and attachment process is noteworthy. But for my Money, Marvin is still the most value for the dollar.
Any suggestions for how to remove the original exterior trim without getting into too much trouble with the overlapping siding?
No. You will remove siding to properly install and waterproof the installation. It's part of the deal. Again, I'd steer clear of anyone giving you a bid that just slips the unit in and caulks what's left. All the $ you spent on windows will be wasted.
What pitfalls should I worry about?
If you're not doing the work, look for someone reputable with the ability to offer you a turnkey service. What I mean by that is they give you a bid to complete the whole job. Some might replace the window, but leave you hanging when it comes to casing, or drywall patchwork, or finishing the unit. You want a good window, you want them installed properly, flashed properly, the siding replaced / patched as necessary, any drywall issues taken care of, casing installed to match, walls and trim repainted to match.
What's the best way to make the new windows waterproof at the junction of the siding?
See above. Proper flashing seeks to provide a pathway for water that may enter. You simply cannot, 100% of the time, keep every drop out in every situation. So rather than fight it, flashing should keep all the water out most of the time, and give it a non-destructive place to weep if and when it does get behind the siding.
"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." - Mark Twain
If you're going with new construction windows, Andersen 400 series DH would be a good choice. Vinyl clad exteriors, clear pine interiors (or if you're doing white interior color you can have them prefinished at the factory for just a few more bucks). Standard glazing is low-E, argon filled. Don't forget to order extension jambs if you'll need them, they are worth the few bucks and probably cheaper than milling yourself. Good assortment of standard sizes. I have also heard rumors that Andersen is about to, or recently has, expanded into the replacement market. Not sure if this will be a new product or if they are buying an existing manufacturer but I'm watching for this. Slipping new windows behind aluminum siding properly will be a b#tch! If you're gonna replace the siding anyway, rip the aluminum off, sell it for scrap value, and use the proceeds to help finance new siding. Will make doing a house full of windows much, much simpler (i.e. less expensive in the long run).
Andersen Woodwright Windows look very nice in older homes; you may want to check these out. High Performance glass, True Divided Lite with High Definition grilles inside and outside. The sashes tilt. Very high quality.
Ditto on Marvin windows and also their Integrity Line. You will actually find its way cheaper to buy a new unit versus the retrofit that slips in the old jamb pocket. I just finished a house with 17 windows. It had aluminum siding. On the west side the ext. jamb trim was checked badly. On one window, when I was removing the storm window frame the silicone bond between the metal frame and wood was stronger than the wood. It split-out the old trim. Just like yours the old trim was partially covered by the alum. siding. I didn't feel comfortable trying to run a skill saw next to the metal "J" channel to cut out the remaining trim. I ended up hand chiseling along that line and breaking it out. Very time consuming! Therefore I second the suggestion to remove the alum. siding prior to starting the windows.
Another idea I thought of was to cover the original trim with new 5/4 using PL and galvy nails. The "J" channel protrudes almost 1 3/4", so the new trim would still be recessed and the head "J" would also still be a drip cap. The down side of this is twofold. You end up depending on caulk to seal between the "J" and new trim and if you ever did remove the siding the 2" of old trim would be exposed and have to be dealt with.
Working around the aluminum siding is so time consuming and interfears with making decent exterior trim to a great extent. My vote would be to remove the siding before working on the windows.
I'd like to replace these with a high quality double insulated window
By your profile you will likely still be alive in 20-30 years. Many will say "but the double pane windows are MUCH better sealed now".... BS.
If it were my house in MA, I'd go with high quality storm windows (for instance, magnetic seal versions) and since you are redoing the sill, etc, and are still young enough to have lots of energy, consider making your own replacement windows with good seals.
Why are you replacing the windows? Those old windows are likely made with very tight grain old growth wood that will last forever.
A good Storm window and propertly weathersealed older window will get you near the same energy efficiently as replacement windows.
Try Adams Architectural (http://www.adamsarch) in Iowa. The make custom made old fashioned storm/screen combo units for about $200 for a large DH window. Excellent quality and service.
In an ideal world, the windows could stay. Reasons this is not an ideal world:1) existing storms are all deteriorated and need to go
2) some jambs and casing are rotted
3) many years of sloppy paint jobs - some windows painted shut
4) no sash cords anymore
5) some broken / cracked panes
6) some spots where cable installers drilled through trim
7) even those that are not painted shut are either stuck or very looseSo anyway, I was thinking replacement made the most sense.
Only reason #2, the rot, if there's a lot of it, is sufficient to decide to replace the windows. All the rest are fixable.
Even the rot is fixable. Abatron makes a 2 part epoxy formula to consolidate soft wood and a 2 part epoxy putty to repair missing wood. The I was designed to expand and contract at the same rate as wood, so it won't crack and fall out.It takes some time to restore the windows, but in the end they will outlast the replacement windows.I had a replacement window salesman in my house. He refused to sell me replacement windows. He told me the typical vinyl window has a useful life of 7 to 10 years. He told me to never replace my windows. Best advice I've ever gotten. I sent the salesman a very nice Xmas gift.
It's always a judgement call on rot. For instance, if you have a lot of bad muntins (being small they seem to get it the worst), it may be more cost effective to set up the router table or shaper and make a run of muntin stock. I'm saving some old growth 2x3's from what I demo for that.
1) existing storms are all deteriorated and need to go2) some jambs and casing are rotted3) many years of sloppy paint jobs - some windows painted shut4) no sash cords anymore5) some broken / cracked panes6) some spots where cable installers drilled through trim7) even those that are not painted shut are either stuck or very loose
(I pasted your reply so I could remember it all....)
I agree. Only #2 is a good argument for replacement and that is where the wood is pretty much completely gone. Storms are replaceable. Sash cords can be replaced with springs that let you fill the weight pockets with insulation. Panes can be replaced after you remove the old paint. Trim is replaceable.
I've done it both ways. On a 1905 (I think) house, we replaced all 36 (I think) windows with Loewen windows. The old windows were all rotted. The new windows were great (and factory painted white - excellent job). That house had some windows that were 4' wide x 8' tall. I think the windows wound up costing about $16k plus installation. No matter how well that turned out, the look still isn't the same as old windows. Don't get me wrong - repairing/restoring the windows is a time intensive process, but the cost is much lower.
If you do replace the windows, please make sure to save the old glass though. There is a pretty big market for it.
Good luck in the path you take.
Whatever you do, do the siding and windows together at the same time. It'll be less expensive than sealing the new windows to old siding, then later new siding to the existing windows. It also puts responsibility for any leaks clearly on one GC who does the whole job. One phone number for you to call, no finger pointing.
Also, think carefully before trashing your existing windows. Are they falling apart, or are major parts of them crumbling into fragments? If they're falling apart, but the parts are solid, they can be disassembled, cleaned up, and put back together better than any new windows you could buy. Replacing a few rotted or termite eaten parts may also still be worthwhile. Rot that isn't too bad can be fixed by soak-in plastic consolidants like Arbitron. Only replace them if the wood is crumbling into nothing. And in that case, save as much of the old wavy glass as you can. You can sell it to people who restore old houses.
look at their sizing charts and see what works best for you. base your decision on several things: sizing match, style match to existing, local availability, local support, dealer reputation and of course price.
carpenter in transition