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Sorry for the off topic and feel free to delete the thread if it is inappropriate here.

I need to change the windows at home, and some people advice alluminium, others pvc. I have no clue about these things.

Do you have any experience?

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OT is OK every now an then! smile

As for new windows, they've come a long way with window construction and technology. As for me, I have some of the old style, traditional wood windows in my house, which need painting and maintenance on the exterior part. They look good, but require the maintenance.

When I enclosed and renovated my attached garage and made it my music room, I purchased the new, high efficiency vinyl (PVC?) windows. They look great, and will never need painting or maintenance. Plus, they are energy efficient and have a good U-value/R-value rating.

For windows, there is an R-factor and a U-factor. Both have to do with the heat transfer or insulating factor, as well as sunlight UV transmission.

I'm sure the aluminum frame windows are good to, but I like the vinyl frame windows better.

All the best!

Rick


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I have a house built in 1925. The three over one and five over one original windows are a big part of why the house gets the light it gets and looks the way it does from the outside.

Unfortunately, I have single pane windows which can get very cold in the winter. I spent months trying to find replacement windows and could find nothing from the major manufacturers that would not destroy the look of my house and reduce the light.

Eventually, I found Heirloom windows out of Indiana

https://www.heirloomwindows.com/

that makes replica historic windows. They use a 6.2mm, 1/4” double vacuum insulated glass called Spacia that emulates the look of single pane glass. I ordered and received sash replacements windows and now need to find an installer.

Heirloom uses Accoya, a treated pine which is much more dimensionally stable than regular pine.

Anyway, if you need historic windows, check out Heirloom.

A few pictures:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Churchill’s mansion in England was renovated with the same wood and glass options, with 120 windows replaced.

https://www.gowercroft.co.uk/case-studies/templeton-house/

Last edited by LarryK; 12/17/21 09:52 AM.
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Thankyou for your answers.

Im glad you're happy with your vinyl Windows rikster. Have you heard anything about vinyl windows causing cancer?

Larry those are extraordinary windows, but I'm in Europe. Your home must look magnificent from the outside!

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Originally Posted by Ubu
Thankyou for your answers.

Im glad you're happy with your vinyl Windows rikster. Have you heard anything about vinyl windows causing cancer?

Larry those are extraordinary windows, but I'm in Europe. Your home must look magnificent from the outside!

If I ever get them installed, those new windows will look great! It seems that few people know how to remove old sashes or how to replace them. Window companies don’t care about old homes and want to slam in vinyl replacements that make the windows smaller.

Where in Europe are you? How old is your house? My wife is French and she goes on forever about the beauty of casement windows.

I’m happy that my little house has nineteen windows that let in so much light that I never turn on a light during the day.

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To me the real question is aluminum or aluminium. I greatly prefer the latter but as an American who is already trying not to seem a pretentious tool, I can't get away with the aluminium pronunciation.


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Except for a few windows that were custom-made wood because they had to exactly replace the originals for code compliance, we replaced almost all the windows in our house with Marvin vinyl windows of various styles when we renovated. My best advice is to find an experienced contractor who has a good supplier to advise you and do the work.

It is just like getting a piano. The hard part is finding a good technician.


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I don't know to what degree the frames are metal or plastic, but when we re-did our small 1804 house 10 years ago, we used near-copies of the old windows on the back and sides. The new windows have double glazing, and we ordered muntins on each side of the glass so they look decent from the outside. You'd never mistake them for conventional wooden sashes if you looked closely, but they fit the design of the house.

For the larger front windows, we kept the old wooden frames and prepared nearly identical storm windows to seal them from the outside. That meant custom millwork and ordering hand-blown panes, but that's not quite what you are asking about here.

Last edited by Maestro Lennie; 12/17/21 01:41 PM.
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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
I don't know to what degree the frames are metal or plastic, but when we re-did our small 1804 house 10 years ago, we used near-copies of the old windows on the back and sides. The new windows have double glazing, and we ordered muntins on each side of the glass so they look decent from the outside. You'd never mistake them for conventional wooden sashes if you looked closely, but they fit the design of the house.

For the larger front windows, we kept the old wooden frames and prepared nearly identical storm windows to seal them from the outside. That meant custom millwork and ordering hand-blown panes, but that's not quite what you are asking about here.


I fought hard to hold onto the muntin and window dimensions, and profiles, for my 1925 house. So many beautiful Victorians in my neighborhood have been absolutely butchered by the installation of modern windows.

It all comes down to thickness of the glass. Spacia was the best I could do to get a double pane and have windows that look exactly like the originals. I hate storm windows so I had them all removed. Spacia has to be ordered from Japan so it is expensive, but worth it, in my opinion.

Some day soon, I will look through beautifully clean glass windows, without looking through dirty storm windows.

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Originally Posted by Ubu
Thankyou for your answers.

Im glad you're happy with your vinyl Windows rikster. Have you heard anything about vinyl windows causing cancer?

Larry those are extraordinary windows, but I'm in Europe. Your home must look magnificent from the outside!


Yes, there is information on the internet that vinyl windows are possibly carcinogenic, but I did not find any actual data. You might do a bit of reading about vinyl vs aluminum vs wood options.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
I don't know to what degree the frames are metal or plastic, but when we re-did our small 1804 house 10 years ago, we used near-copies of the old windows on the back and sides. The new windows have double glazing, and we ordered muntins on each side of the glass so they look decent from the outside. You'd never mistake them for conventional wooden sashes if you looked closely, but they fit the design of the house.

For the larger front windows, we kept the old wooden frames and prepared nearly identical storm windows to seal them from the outside. That meant custom millwork and ordering hand-blown panes, but that's not quite what you are asking about here.


I fought hard to hold onto the muntin and window dimensions, and profiles, for my 1925 house. So many beautiful Victorians in my neighborhood have been absolutely butchered by the installation of modern windows.

It all comes down to thickness of the glass. Spacia was the best I could do to get a double pane and have windows that look exactly like the originals. I hate storm windows so I had them all removed. Spacia has to be ordered from Japan so it is expensive, but worth it, in my opinion.

Some day soon, I will look through beautifully clean glass windows, without looking through dirty storm windows.

Mine are Pella windows. Can't remember the specific model or spec, but they take paint pretty well and don't give away their modernity unless you get close enough to touch them. For the most part, we weren't literally replacing windows. Some are new, there are French doors, and others were updating older windows with more appropriate dimensions. If there was a one/one swap, it didn't matter too much because we were basically gutting the house and rebuilding from the inside.

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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
I don't know to what degree the frames are metal or plastic, but when we re-did our small 1804 house 10 years ago, we used near-copies of the old windows on the back and sides. The new windows have double glazing, and we ordered muntins on each side of the glass so they look decent from the outside. You'd never mistake them for conventional wooden sashes if you looked closely, but they fit the design of the house.

For the larger front windows, we kept the old wooden frames and prepared nearly identical storm windows to seal them from the outside. That meant custom millwork and ordering hand-blown panes, but that's not quite what you are asking about here.


I fought hard to hold onto the muntin and window dimensions, and profiles, for my 1925 house. So many beautiful Victorians in my neighborhood have been absolutely butchered by the installation of modern windows.

It all comes down to thickness of the glass. Spacia was the best I could do to get a double pane and have windows that look exactly like the originals. I hate storm windows so I had them all removed. Spacia has to be ordered from Japan so it is expensive, but worth it, in my opinion.

Some day soon, I will look through beautifully clean glass windows, without looking through dirty storm windows.

Mine are Pella windows. Can't remember the specific model or spec, but they take paint pretty well and don't give away their modernity unless you get close enough to touch them. For the most part, we weren't literally replacing windows. Some are new, there are French doors, and others were updating older windows with more appropriate dimensions. If there was a one/one swap, it didn't matter too much because we were basically gutting the house and rebuilding from the inside.

I talked to all of the major window manufacturers, Anderson, Pella, and Marvin. None of them could give me a historically accurate window. It didn’t matter the cost, they couldn’t do it.

I traced the problem to the physical thickness of standard double paned windows, which are 1/2”-3/4”. No company will use a product like Spacia because there is no manufacturing plant in the United States and the majors need to move a huge volume of windows to make a profit.

Here is more about the glass:

https://www.pilkington.com/en/globa...ies/thermal-insulation/pilkington-spacia

You have to be willing to accept the tiny micro dots between the two panes, which keep them apart, and the black plug on the face, which is where the vacuum house was attached. Standard double paned windows produce a lot of reflections. So, it’s all about trade offs.

Major window manufacturers don’t really care about old homes because the market is small.

What did you do to the outside of your house? To me, that’s the place to start. My roofing company just finished a four month project to install new pre-stained cedar shingles on the exterior walls, cedar breather wrap, zinc half round gutters, and a high quality asphalt shingle roof. My house would have never had a slate roof so I could not go there.

I now fear no rainstorm. We came through the remnants of Hurricane Ida with just house wrap and the roof membrane, and had very few leaks, so, we’re in a much better place now that the job has been finished.

I think the most important thing to do to maintain a house is to identify rot and address it. That was done in my case.

Last edited by LarryK; 12/17/21 03:57 PM.
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I replaced all my wood windows with vinyl. In 1985. Two of the 30 or so double-panes lost their seals and had to be replaced after 30 years or so. The outside color on those windows that get sun has faded and perhaps should be painted. But other than that for the most part these windows still look and act like new.

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Originally Posted by LarryK
What did you do to the outside of your house? To me, that’s the place to start. My roofing company just finished a four month project to install new pre-stained cedar shingles on the exterior walls, cedar breather wrap, zinc half round gutters, and a high quality asphalt shingle roof. My house would have never had a slate roof so I could not go there.

I now fear no rainstorm. We came through the remnants of Hurricane Ida with just house wrap and the roof membrane, and had very few leaks, so, we’re in a much better place now that the job has been finished.

I think the most important thing to do to maintain a house is to identify rot and address it. That was done in my case.

Cedar shingles on the sides (and the roof). Clapboards painted on the front. It's been 12 years and I'll probably have to get new roof on, as we missed some years of maintenance to get the green stuff scraped off. We did some changing of roof pitches, as there were additions in the 70s that had more of a California than a Federal Cape Cod look. Also, the shed/porch that ran down the side of the house we modified to put a screened porch in with a deck above. That was the only change to footprint, unless you count the stone deck in back near the kitchen.

The motivating factor wasn't so much materials, although we replaced most of what was there. It really had to do with the dysfunctional layout from past renovations. The architect started punching holes and windows on the eastern wall toward the garden, and the rest followed logically.

Last edited by Maestro Lennie; 12/17/21 04:41 PM.
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I am dashing this off quickly, apologize for its length.

ubu: Are you replacing original historic wood windows from an old house or newer windows of lower quality? If you have the good old historic wood windows, I hope you will do some research to learn about the pros and cons of replacement windows before deciding what to do.

The prevailing view for many years here in the U.S. was to just rip out historic windows and replace them with newer double paned ones. New research has however shown it can often be more beneficial to keep/renovate the original windows and a variety of professionals are now saying we should think long and hard before replacing historic windows because it is often better and more economical (in terms of cost and payback and more) to renovate the existing windows.

I learned about windows about five years ago when my husband and I considered replacing our kitchen windows. Here are some take aways we learned:

R Factor:
The additional insulating benefit you believe you are getting from replacing existing windows with replacement windows may not be as great as you think. The R factor manufacturers tout is measured at the time the window is manufactured. Double pane windows invariably begin outgassing and leaking from that point on, soon after manufacture and lose their original R factor.

Original window plus Storm:
A good old wood window with a storm window is equal to or just about as good an R factor as what you will get with a replacement window.

The Pillow Effect:
Here in the U.S. you will see houses whose homeowners went ahead and bought replacement windows and ended up with windows with an unpleasant look about them known as "the pillow effect". These windows do not invite a feeling of quality, in my opinion they cheapen houses. This so-called pillow effect may occur when the double panes of the window begin to leak and buckle inward towards each other. I don't know if this can be prevented - maybe thicker glass?

Old Wood is Better Wood:
The wood in historic windows is old growth, much denser and stronger than the wood being used to build wooden windows today. I was told by one of the window manufacturing companies that their new replacement windows could not match the thin muntin bars of our original wood windows, they had to make them thicker (and clunkier looking) because of the difference in the quality of the old growth wood that was used in older windows. The muntin bars in new replacement windows must be thicker because the wood in use today is weaker. The muntin bars must be thicker in order for the window sash to be structurally sound.

Lifetime of New Replacement Windows:
Many new windows have a lifetime of 15-20 years or so, parts are proprietary to each manufacturer and styles and models often are changed or updated and parts discontinued. If a part of the window mechanism breaks years down the road, you may not be able to purchase replacement parts. If considering replacement windows, be sure to understand the warranty and if the lifetime of the window makes it likely you'll to be replacing those windows a second time if you're still in the house.

Replacement Parts:
Original wood windows can be repaired using simple materials that are typically readily available.

Value/Payback:
The cost of replacing windows means it will take years before you actually start to save money on your heating bills. If you are replacing windows thinking you'll save money, it helps to take into consideration how long you plan to be in the house and to figure out how many years down the road the pay back will begin.

Replacement Window Reviews:
Here in the U.S. when I researched customer satisfaction ratings on line I found many complaints about all manufacturer's windows. I was not able to find any manufacturer's window that had mostly good reviews. Maybe you will have better luck and better craftsmanship in windows manufactured for the European market.

Aethetics/House Value:
How will the new windows look? A neighbor of ours had new replacement windows installed and hated them so much they had the window company who had installed them to take them back out and reinstall their original windows.

Greatest Heat Loss
Sources state that about 35% of heat loss occurs through the walls of a house while 25% is lost through windows and doors. Insulating walls may be a better return on cost. https://www.buildwithrise.com/stories/home-heat-loss

Companies That Specialize In Wood Window Renovation:
There are certain companies that specialize in renovating old windows here in the States. Perhaps there are craftsmen who will do the same for you where you live?

Replacement windows of vinyl, fiberglass and aluminum can deform, fade, warp or fail in other types of ways. Once they do, often nothing can be done, so it's time to buy another replacement window all over again.

I just found this website below that talks about the things I mention above.

https://www.clearywindowrestoration.com/article

And here are a few other websites worth visiting:

https://www.houzz.com/discussions/2639458/repair-don-t-replace-old-wood-windows

Ubu: I see you say you hate storm windows. Do you mean the outer storm windows? There are inner storm windows available as well. Maybe the inner storms would be more to your liking if after all you decide to keep your original windows?

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/windows/21019148/new-life-for-old-windows

I hope this info helps. Sorry this is so long.

I hope whatever you decide to do you are happy with in the long run.

Jeanne W


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Hello Jeanne,

Have we met on other forums? Haha, that's quite a note.

I take exception with this:

"Old Wood is Better Wood:
The wood in historic windows is old growth, much denser and stronger than the wood being used to build wooden windows today. I was told by one of the window manufacturing companies that their new replacement windows could not match the thin muntin bars of our original wood windows, they had to make them thicker (and clunkier looking) because of the difference in the quality of the old growth wood that was used in older windows. The muntin bars in new replacement windows must be thicker because the wood in use today is weaker. The muntin bars must be thicker in order for the window sash to be structurally sound."

So, the window manufacturer lied to you. The real reason that the muntins cannot be thinner is because the double paned windows are so thick that it is not possible to shove those panes into a thin muntin and build a window with true divided lites. It has nothing to do with old growth versus new growth wood. New growth wood is plenty strong to build windows, it is the thickness of the standard double paned windows that is the problem. Just compare the thickness of a single pane of glass to the thickness of a standard double paned window, and imagine how that huge double paned window is going to fit into a thin muntin. It is not possible.

The muntins on standard double insulated panes do not contribute to the structural support of the window because they're all fake, unless you go to the top of the line Marvin windows with true divided lites, and then they look terrible because the muntins have to be made very thick because of the thickness of the standard double paned glass. You cannot win.

So, my muntins are 3/4" wide and have a beautiful narrow profile. No major window company could replicate that for me. With Heirloom Windows, I get the exact same thickness and profile of the original muntins and a double paned glass, Spacia, that comes as close as possible to the original single pane windows. They look identical. Yes, my muntins are fake, but they're the best possible fake. The results are stunning. My five over one and three over one replacements look exactly like the originals. I had a window repair guy over to my house and he mistook the replica windows for windows with true divided lites! I found this especially funny because he was looking at the window from three feet away.

Last edited by LarryK; 12/17/21 05:10 PM.
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An article about replica windows:

https://www.oldhouseguy.com/replica-windows/

"TDL – True Divided Light

TDL is an oft bandied about phrase but the ramifications are usually misunderstood. A true divided lite window requires at least ¼” of division (muntin wood) and 3/16” of glazing rebate. So the minimum muntin thickness would be 5/8”. However, most IG units have at least 7/16” of spacer, meaning a minimum of 1-1/8” of muntin is required with no allowance for fit or expansion. Realistically a 1-1/4” muntin is appropriate for use with IG or VIG units ."

Last edited by LarryK; 12/17/21 05:27 PM.
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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
Originally Posted by LarryK
What did you do to the outside of your house? To me, that’s the place to start. My roofing company just finished a four month project to install new pre-stained cedar shingles on the exterior walls, cedar breather wrap, zinc half round gutters, and a high quality asphalt shingle roof. My house would have never had a slate roof so I could not go there.

I now fear no rainstorm. We came through the remnants of Hurricane Ida with just house wrap and the roof membrane, and had very few leaks, so, we’re in a much better place now that the job has been finished.

I think the most important thing to do to maintain a house is to identify rot and address it. That was done in my case.

Cedar shingles on the sides (and the roof). Clapboards painted on the front. It's been 12 years and I'll probably have to get new roof on, as we missed some years of maintenance to get the green stuff scraped off. We did some changing of roof pitches, as there were additions in the 70s that had more of a California than a Federal Cape Cod look. Also, the shed/porch that ran down the side of the house we modified to put a screened porch in with a deck above. That was the only change to footprint, unless you count the stone deck in back near the kitchen.

The motivating factor wasn't so much materials, although we replaced most of what was there. It really had to do with the dysfunctional layout from past renovations. The architect started punching holes and windows on the eastern wall toward the garden, and the rest followed logically.

Was the green stuff moss? If it was moss, it means there is a moisture problem. Maybe this is less of a problem with a cedar roof, I don't know, but it is bad news on an asphalt shingle roof.

When I was having all of my work done, a neighbor came by and asked my roofer for advice. He looked at the moss growing on their roof and said they needed to strip off the old shingles and see if there was any evidence of rotten wood.

The neighbor ignored the advice and had cheap shingles nailed over top of the rotten ones. It took a day and a half. All my roofers could do was shake their heads.

Nobody around me replaces their one hundred year old cedar siding shingles. They just let them rot or they cover the rot with vinyl siding and don't think about the problem. I never felt so good in my life as when all of the ugly vinyl siding and old cedar was ripped off of my old house. With the new cedar shingles, all of the sharp lines have come back, no more of the softy fuzzy look of vinyl siding. Vinyl siding installers cut the corners off of window sills. Those hackers cut corners for a living. My guys designed a little decorative wooden extensions to replace the cut corners.

Last edited by LarryK; 12/17/21 07:08 PM.
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
To me the real question is aluminum or aluminium. I greatly prefer the latter but as an American who is already trying not to seem a pretentious tool, I can't get away with the aluminium pronunciation.

Me too, we have aluminum roof tiles, can anyone beat that!
Mind you, moss will even grow in between those too, so you do have to use a power hose occasionally. I would bother more about insulating the room and making it as comfortable as possible than what is historically correct or even what is perfectly beautyful.The main thing is to protect your piano from an unstable humidity.

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Originally Posted by LarryK
I never felt so good in my life as when all of the ugly vinyl siding and old cedar was ripped off of my old house.
I was relieved after I had the original concrete roof tiles taken off my 1950 house. They were developing holes due the concrete dissolving (which I would 'fix' by injecting sealant), and they would slide out from the apex of the roof in high winds. eek

As for windows, I wanted to retrofit double glazing into my wooden frames for sound insulation, but I was told I'd have to add extra hinges to take the weight, and switch to fake muntin thingies due to the glass thickness. It was also going to be challenging to retain my leadlights:
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So I kept the windows unchanged, fitted draught sealer and had some very heavy curtains made up. This helps with piano acoustics too. thumb

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