Things You Need to Know About Buying a House with Old Windows

Things You Need to Know About Buying a House with Old Windows

You've found the home of your dreams. It's in the right neighborhood, it's got some of that romantic charm you love, and it has a history. One main problem: the ancient windows are tired, warped, and drafty. You may be prepared for some home restoration to keep the historical charm from crumbling, but are irredeemable windows a dealbreaker?

We discuss the potential issues that can come from buying a house with old windows. With this knowledge, you can plan your purchase with your eyes wide open. 

Things You Need to Know Before Buying a House with Old Windows

Older Windows Will Never Be as Energy-efficient as New Windows

Old windows generally have single pane glass. These panes allow all the warmth to escape or heat to enter, and you'll likely spend a fortune on finding a comfortable temperature in your home unless you replace them with glazed window panes. 

New windows have better technology

Today your windows can self-tint thanks to Photochromic, Electrochromic, or Thermochromic technology. Clear windows can even power your home with solar energy technology. If you care for the birdlife in your neck of the woods, you can consider bird-friendly glass. The opportunities are endless for maximum convenience. Modern vinyl windows are more durable, aluminum windows are built with energy-efficiency in mind, and wood windows have exterior cladding to reduce maintenance needs. Explore our modern window options today.

Historical societies or neighborhood restrictions may complicate window replacement

Before you start daydreaming about your renovation plans, contact your local Building and Planning Department to determine any historical societies or neighborhood restrictions on historical remodeling architecture. You may be limited to only certain upgrades. 

Window restoration is a specialty

Restoring old windows to their former glory may require the help of a professional. Historical renovations can uncover more problems, and you'll need expert solutions for those challenges. With the help of a knowledgeable guide, you can install modern replacements that suit your new home's architectural style.

Common Problems with Older Windows

  • Drafts - With old windows, drafts are a common problem. The seals are worn, the glass is too thin, or there are air leaks around the frame.
  • Water Leaks - Condensation does not limit its damage to the window frame, but it can drip down onto walls and floors. Look out for any water damage or mold in the home. 
  • Warped or Damaged Frames - Where wooden framing may have been a common choice in old houses, you have options of durable material frames today. Warped frames are difficult to repair, and a replacement is a viable choice. 
  • Seal Failure - Faulty and cracked seals lead to drafts and water leaks. Not fun on a cold winter's night!
  • Broken Glass - A small crack in window glass can lead to condensation and air leakage. If the frames are still sturdy and well kept, new glass panes could be all your home needs for its upgrade. 
  • Sticky Operation- Decades of debris and dirt can build up on the window tracks making it difficult to open or close them. Sticky windows are irritating and will only continue to get worse. Cleaning the tracks and making sure the mechanism is lubricated may do just the trick for smooth operating. 
  • Broken Locks and Latches - Locks, latches, and even weights in sash windows can get old and malfunction. These can be a quick fix if the rest of the window is operational; however, finding parts may be a little tricky.
  • Windows Rattle - Windows bear the brunt of extreme weather conditions. After decades of storms, the window panes loosen and shake. Noisy windows are frustrating.

How to Make Existing Windows More Efficient

Apply New Caulk or Weatherstripping

Often, old seals, drafts sneaking in, and rattling windows can be solved with some new caulk or weatherstripping. Caulk can fill cracks and gaps in stationary window parts. You can use different weatherstripping materials for various purposes↗, so make sure to choose the correct supplies or speak to an expert.

Install New Glass

New window and glass designs make considerations for energy reservations. Today you have the option of double, triple, and quadruple panes of glass for maximum insulation and energy efficiency.

Choose Heavy Curtains

Heave curtains not only look lush, but they provide a layer of insulation. If the care of your old windows is limited, heavy curtains, or even thermal curtains, can do an excellent job at blocking out cold drafts. Hang curtains high, wide, and to the floor for the most efficiency. Remember to open them up to welcome light in during the warmest time of the day. 

Consider the Risk

The older the home, the more outdated the artistry. While this isn't always a bad thing because hand-crafted, meticulous efforts stand the test of time, there will need to be upgraded areas. Modern replacements do not have to depreciate the historic nostalgia or features. A lot of the time, modern window replacements can still suit the architectural style. 

Windows and roofs are top priorities in old architectural structures. Make sure you have had a professional assess any damage before you commit to buying an old house. 


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