The Great Debate

The windows were one of the first items/topics that I began researching when I decided to undertake this project. The cost to replace them was factored into my budget as a given. But I wasn’t so sure. However, I thought better to have the money there if I decided to go through with it than not to.

Even though the window amount is a big chunk of the total budget, windows are expensive!


This is one of the sideways sashes turned sleeping porch enclosure.

I scoured the internet. To replace or not to replace? Obviously the historical preservation sites justify not doing it.

Windows are an easy target and are all too often blamed for energy loss. Commonly, people jump to replace their historic windows because companies promise that their replacement windows will not only save them time and money, but that their products and services are the “green” thing to do. In fact, a thriving industry has grown around the perceived need to replace rather than restore.  Via PreservationNation.

I was determined to do my research and called a few places to talk to their window guys. When one of them came out to give me an estimate, I got a figurative slap in the face. He told me based on his assessment of my block, I shouldn’t do anything but vinyl. Excuse me? I asked you here to give me a quote. Tell me it is going to be $60,000 for the 36 wood windows I want and then I’ll decide what to do.  Window RAGE!

The more crappy, vinyl windows I looked at and then the $46,000 quote I did receive (from another guy) for wood interior, aluminum exterior windows pushed me in the direction of just keeping the old windows. And at one of the crappy, home remodeling convention things, a rep from Mr. Rogers Windows, A REPLACEMENT WINDOW COMPANY told me to keep them. So I told Scott, “I’m going to keep the windows.” He said “…okay.” From the beginning, the tub was his only point of contention. Everything else was up to me.


Dun, Dun, Duuun.

I changed my mind. Most of the windows weren’t that bad but the thought of doing all this work and fixing the house only to default on my mortgage because I kept the old windows. My heating bill forcing me into foreclosure was not a chance I wanted to take. Even after internalizing the above statement from the preservation peeps.


The second floor sleeping porch with the makeshift sliders had to be redone anyway. The third floor already had one replacement window and several were going to need some serious work. So although it pained me deeply. I said yes to the vinyl replacement window.

I also justified it because all the windows, except two smalls ones on the third floor, were single pane windows and didn’t have any decorative divided lights. Divided lights would have been another story completely.

Still, I’m a turncoat.


The guys started by taking all the storm windows and aluminum wrapping off the old windows. This was the step that brought out the most dumpster divers. Or at least the most obvious ones. One made a huge mess and left glass shards all over the side yard. Another was very nice and asked Scott’s guys if he could have the windows. He was in the dumpster when I pulled up to check on the day’s progress. He was very polite and professional enough to scrap the aluminum in the dumpster so that no glass got in the yard. And in what has become standard form, let me know he does other projects and was happy to give me his number.


Once the windows arrived, the guys sprung into action. We also had several nice days in a row and they were intent on using them to the fullest.



The guys once again indulged me and saved several of the single pane windows and all the divided light sashes from the sleeping porch. But this images still pains me. If they weren’t doing so much work in the basement too, it would probably look more like the dumpster. I’m really trying to control the hoarder tendencies to keep all the old house scraps.

Dave and I just happened to be walking the dogs when they were working on the second floor porch.


This is close to what it would have looked like when it was an open air porch. They are evening out the spacings for the new windows.


I snapped this picture and they kept going because this sucker isn’t open anymore.

I feel like a traitor and should probably be burnt at the stake. But you can’t deny it; it is starting to look good.


Screenshot 2014-12-06 19.20.35

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