Owning a historic home is both an immense honour and a huge responsibility.
When you have a home that represents a piece of history, it can be extremely rewarding—but only if you commit to its maintenance requirements. Performing proper maintenance on a house that's frozen in a moment in time includes taking care of the windows as well.
Finding the perfect historic replacement windows can be quite a challenge, because a distinctive and architectural look is one in a million. On top of retaining its authentic appearance, you also want windows that are of modern and reliable quality.
Luckily, having the best of both worlds won't be so hard when you have this guide to replacement windows for historic homes. Take note, because this is one for the books!
Replacement vs. Restoration
The first factor you need to take into account when giving your historic house an upgrade is this: replacement or restoration? Which one would your home benefit most from?
Before making a decision, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are your old windows causing your energy bills to increase?
- Is the damage beyond repair?
- Would the costs for a replacement be worthwhile?
- Would the house look better after a repair or a replacement?
Of course, it all boils down to your specific preferences. However, advice from the experts, like Clera Windows + Doors, can really help you determine if your historic house windows are due for either a replacement or just a repair.
When is Restoration the Best Option?
When professionals go about restoring historic windows, they know how to avoid causing damage to retain the windows' authentic appearance.
Restoration is a viable option if the issues are minor. This includes weatherstripping that needs maintenance or upper sashes that always seem to get stuck.
When is Replacement the Best Option?
We know that it's hard to let go of something that carries sentimental value, but when it comes to windows (historical or not), embracing the new could do a world of good.
Many types of modern windows come in styles that blend beautifully with the aesthetic of historic houses, so there's no need to worry about compromising your home's authentic, historic essence.
Your historic windows are due for a replacement if they no longer fully protect your home from the elements, such as rain, drafts, and excessive heat.
Also, if the wood is rotting, it's best to take the leap and replace them.
The overall benefits of historic window replacements include optimized insulation, more robust protection from harsh weather conditions, a smaller carbon footprint, and increased energy efficiency (this means more savings on heating and air conditioning)!
Is It OK to Replace My Historic Home's Windows?
Replacing windows in a historic home is completely okay. Older homes can truly benefit from a replacement, as their windows are typically single-paned, and this design does not insulate the home properly. This means that heat and cold could easily enter the house.
Another reason to opt for historic window replacements is functionality. Windows that have seen more wear and tear are usually harder to open or close. Any flaws that your historic windows may have can be corrected with replacements for the benefit of your entire household.
How to Keep Your Home's Historic Look When Replacing Windows
Let's get to the nitty gritty of the design. Of course, you wouldn't want your new windows to literally look new, right? You want your new windows to blend in with the architectural magic of your historic home.
Our advice, in terms of maintaining that classic aesthetic of your history book-worthy house, is in the battle between wood vs. vinyl.
Should I Stick to Wooden Window Frames for My Historic Home?
Once upon a time, historic homes (before they were classified as "historic") were made with wood frames. If you own one, then you already knew that, but this is a very important element to keep in mind to maintain a sense of authenticity in your historic home.
Wooden window frames will live up to the timeless charm that your house radiates.
Now, here's the downside to getting wooden window frames:
- They are prone to cracking and chipping over time.
- They need to be repainted on a regular basis.
- They need regular resealing from the inside.
- Neglect can cause wooden window frames to weather and rot.
- Wooden window frames absorb moisture, making them swell up. As a result, they tend to be more difficult to open or close.
Why Vinyl Windows Are the Better Choice for Your Historic Home
Here's why we think you should opt for vinyl windows:
- Vinyl windows are largely self-maintaining. They do need care, but only every now and then.
- Unlike wooden window frames, vinyl ones don't easily crack.
- They do not require regular paint jobs.
- Vinyl windows are also available with an insulated core. This provides exceptional protection against heat transfer while blocking out exterior sounds.
- This type of window frame is not prone to condensation.
Historic Replacement Windows with a Modern Twist
Your historic replacement window process gets a modern-day twist with Clera.
As a multi-awarded company with over 44 years of experience in the window and door replacement industry, you can trust that your piece of history will be safe in our hands. Our 40+ sales offices across Ontario have improved more than 250,000 homes. Will yours be the next one to get a much-needed restoration?