Replacing Your Old Drafty Wood Windows

In many older homes, the download windows 11 iso still have the old style sash weights and pulleys and are single pane glass units. Not only are these type windows inefficient against heat loss, most are glazed with glazing putty that has cracked and dried from age and is most likely missing. Take a good look at the your windows and check the sash weight cords to see if they are broken as well. Missing or badly frayed sash ropes can be dangerous as it makes the window difficult to open and close and by using a prop stick to hold the window up in warm weather, you are inviting an accident when someone accidentally knocks out the stick and the window comes crashing down on tiny fingers perhaps or even worse a neck!

If your survey shows the windows to indeed be old style single pane windows it is time to replace them with new thermally efficient and much easier to operate units. Replacement windows come in all shapes and styles today. Most commonly seen are white or brown vinyl types as these are also the cheapest to buy. Many manufacturers will make custom colored units for your project. All brands are not the same however. The cheapest units feature one piece vinyl extrusion frames that will allow the exterior cold to transmit directly through the frame materials and emit cold into to the inside of your home. The inside of the frame is about the same temperature as outside. Brrrrrr. A better quality window will have what is called a “thermal break” located approximately halfway through the frame made of insulating material that will stop the cold at that point. Much better idea. Glass types. Again there are many choices. Insulating glass which consists of two panes of glass with an inert gas in between is far better than single pane windows anytime.

A step up, is when the inside of the glass is coated with what is called a “low E” coating. This lets the suns heat radiate into the home but won’t let it go back out. It is a few dollars more but with today’s energy costs for heating fuels, it is well worth it. Down side? Most vinyl windows are manufactured only in white or brown colors. Some companies produce custom colored vinyl but again these are more money. A second type of replacement window is made with a vinyl clad exterior and an exposed wooden interior. This provides a maintenance free outside that you do not have to paint and allows painted interior side that you can match the color or perhaps stain, to match the decor of your room. Some companies produce these types in colored exteriors as well and I have seen red, green, blue but remember the windows will be there for a very long time! You cannot change the outside color once they are installed. Lastly, there are all wood replacement windows available but with all the other options, unless you love to paint outside on a ladder they are not the best choice. An exception would be a historic restoration where matching the window style is critical. Even wood windows come today with thermal breaks and low-E glass. Vinyl replacement windows fit right into your existing window openings.

Another great advantage to replacement windows is the window sashs tilt inside for easy cleaning. No more hanging out windows or balancing on ladders. Most windows have two slide type locks on the top of each sash and by simply sliding the sash up a few inches and pushing on the locks, a slight tug on the sash top, tips it into the room for cleaning. When done, simply push the sash back into it’s track. HINT: When cleaning these windows, pull and tip the lower sash inside first but clean the top window first and replace it into it’s frame. This helps prevent dripping your cleaner on the bottom window. All vinyl windows I have found so far also feature a pull out tab lock on the upper sash on each side to prevent the lower sash from being lifted more than a few inches when the tabs are in the open position. Their use is twofold. Windows can be left open a few inches for ventilation without worrying about someone getting in from the outside. Of course if they really want in, they will simply break the glass. These tabs are not burglar proof. The second and more important reason for the tabs to me, is to allow you to leave the window open for ventilation but small children cannot climb out the window and suffer a nasty fall. All windows also come with one or two sash locks for home protection. Depending on the width of your window, the manufacturer decides how many locks the sash requires for the best protection. Lastly, many windows also feature an adjustment screw that allows you to stiffen the amount of pull the window requires to slide it up and down. The window is adjusted in the factory and seldom needs further adjustments.

ORDERING WINDOWS- Ok, we have decided to replace the windows. With a writing pad, pen and measuring tape making up you order is quite easy. You are going to take a minimum of 5 measurements for each window opening. HINT: Do not assume two windows are the same size because they look the same. Measure them all! Older windows were hand built and can vary 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. If your too big, you wasted a window, if you are too small, you will have to re-trim the opening and end up with an unsightly finished product. Ok, you must measure the width of the opening three times. Once at the bottom, once in the middle and once at the top. You measure inside the wood parting bead where the old sash rides against the frame. DO NOT measure parting bead to parting bead. You want your new window frame to slide into the old frame. Hence three measurements. This will tell you the narrowest part of your old frame and this will be the size you order your window. Example:

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