Waiting room reading / windows

Warning: Don’t fall for the okey doke sales pitch (historic windows discussion)

I took the screens off my windows so I can repair them…that was before I realized I have to remove the sashes.  I thought I could scrape and paint the sashes right in place but that is going to be a lot of work to do it in a way that they will not wind up sticking.  I have to  buy the storm windows for the outside  so I can remove the sashes.  I will not leave the windows with nothing in them because:

  1. If I have nothing on the windows the bees and wasps will think that is an open invitation for them to move in and/or
  2. If I cover it with plastic the thieves will be thinking I am inviting them in to steal all the junk I have that no one really wants.

So I started looking for storm windows.  Now as you know my house was built in the 1940’s or somewhere thereabout.  It was originally a sweat and tears  log cabin built by Mr Gates (and friends and family) for his wife Georgia.  It was later added on to with additions by the next owner, Mr Walker.  The wood is hand sawed and milled from the tress on the property.. Cedar trees that is, so there is zero insect damage to the house.  That’s the fantastic part.  The part that is not so fantastic is I have no earthly idea where they got these freaking window sizes from.  Mr Walker worked for the old Hardware Store down town for many many years and I can  usually find replacements in there for many of the house things that go awry because guess where they came from?  Right.

The windows though…that’s a different story…a sad story.  The windows are an odd size and it is killing me to find them.  You might ask…where are the windows that were there before?  Well on the non log cabin side of the house they  put in wood screens instead of  storm windows. They are a plain wooden frame on hinges that you can tilt out.  They have screen only in them…no glass.  New they should have looked  like this

 photo wooden-storm-windows_zps3495292a.jpg

Mine were inoperable because they were sealed shut and they looked like this…rotted and needed to be replaced
 photo IMAG0050_zps587fc851.jpg

They are so fragile that they were crumbling as I moved them.  Interestingly enough the worst damage was at the bottom.  The windows had to be pried out because of all the caulking all around.   They (the experts) tell you to never caulk the bottom of separate screens or storms because you want to have an outlet for water that seeps in…otherwise it will rot the wood.  Okay so now we know that is true!!

I don’t feel bad replacing the screen windows with storm windows because  the rest of the windows around the house have storm windows  and once they are all replaced my windows will be matchy matchy!

When I started shopping for windows and talking to the sales people I might as well had a recording of a cash register playing because that’s all I heard in my head, that and violins (when they were trying to sell me on buying new vinyl energy-efficient  windows).  When asked if I have 2- track or 3- track windows my answer was a pathetic   I DON’T KNOWWWWWWWW …and my temporary ignorance triggered the sales guy to think that he had an opportunity to take advantage of me.  But I am not that stupid people. I went home and did my research and now I know I  have triple track storm windows on the outside and plain ole wood 4 lite sashes on the inside.  The window sashes are in terrible condition but when I removed a window and salvaged the sashes to be used as a door for my nifty little wall nook in  my kitchen, it came out perfect, and now I know I can find the weights by taking off one piece of wood,  I can reglaze the window panes,  I can sand down the wood, fill in any slightly rotted areas with  wood filler and it will be strong as new and I can paint it and make them look pretty darn good as compared to the old!  The only thing I have not tried is putting in new glazing points.  Why?  Because I’m scared that’s why.  I think if I break a glass that will be a deal breaker on me moving forward with my project so I am taking the avoidance approach.

before and after
 photo window12_zps7aea2708.jpg   photo IMAG0076_zps357dc425.jpg

So back to the sales story…after listening to the ignorant expert tell me  how inefficient these windows are and how I should upgrade to vinyl windows that don’t require storms or at least get some good storm windows and leave those God awful, ugly aluminum windows alone I was exhausted and tired of hearing it.  I wanted to say: Listen  here Mister salesman, I want to retain some parts of the original integrity of the house and replacing my wood windows with aluminum storm windows with vinyl windows is not on the list!  I hate vinyl windows and I hate vinyl siding and I hate vinyl fences and I hate vinyl wood-looking floors so vinyl is not the ticket to a high commission emotional sale from me.  But I didn’t.  I just went home, tailed tucked out of shame for not even knowing what I was shopping for.

I went home and did some more research…and I came across this NPS (National Preservation Society) brief  which stated (paraphrased):

“Storm windows. Windows are a primary source of heat loss because they are both a poor thermal barrier (R factor of only 0.89) and often a source of air infiltration. Adding storm windows greatly improves these poor characteristics. If a building has existing storm windows (either wood or metal framed), they should be retained. Assure they are tight fitting and in good working condition. If they are not in place, it is a recommended measure of a preservation retrofitting plan to add new metal framed windows on the exterior. This will result in a window assembly (historic window plus storm window) with an R factor of 1.79 which outperforms a double paned window assembly (with an air space up to 1/2″) that only has an R factor of 1.72. When installing the storm windows, be careful not to damage the historic window frame. If the metal frames visually impair the appearance of the building, it may be necessary to paint them to match the color of the historic frame .

Triple-track metal storm windows are recommended because they are readily available, in numerous sizes, and at a reasonable cost. If a pre-assembled storm window is not available for a particular window size, and a custom-made storm window is required, the cost can be very high. In this case, compare the cost of manufacture and installation with the expected cost savings resulting from the increased thermal efficiency. Generally, custom-made storm windows, of either wood or metal frames, are not cost effective, and would not be recommended in a preservation retrofitting plan.”

THANK GOD FOR THE INTERNET….NO LONGER DO WE HAVE TO BE SUBJECTED TO THE SALES PERSONS MERCY!!  In the old days all they had to do was sound convincing like they knew a litle something something but now a days unless you are just the type to shop with no research, they have to know what they are talking about.  Nothing worse than to go home, look up what they told you  and realize they told you all lies just to get a sale.  I don’t know about you but that’s a sales relationship breaker for me.  So many experts out there trying to get you to throw away your good but old stuff so you can buy their new crap that usually they won’t stand behind for more than a year!

No matter…I have windows in terrible shape and I noticed a huge difference with  the storm windows so I am searching for aluminum triple track storm windows and that is the end of that!!!  I been to the Habitat stores: nothing; searched Craigslist: nothing.  I WILL FIND THESE WINDOWS AND I WILL NOT PAY A FORTUNE FOR THEM.  Mark my words

That’s my story for the day.  I will get back with you on this later.In the meanwhile, if you have a source for fairly inexpensive windows or you have some input or wordly insight into all this please feel free to comment.  All you handy men reading my blog been mighty mighty silent…leaving me to the wolves.  LOL

For all you local people….here are the sizes I need.  Feel free to comment or send me a message if you know a good source.

2- 20-1/2″ w x 47-1/2″ h (width can be up to 23″)
1-20-1/2″w x 40″h (optional…this is for the bathroom and it would be nice to get a window I can open and let the air in)
2-22″w x 53″ h (also optional…one window is broke and I bet it will be cheaper to replace the whole window rather than have it repaired.)

and I need a plain old storm that is stationary (meaning does not have to open at all because the window behind it does not open) 2- 22-1/2″w x 26″h


6 thoughts on “Warning: Don’t fall for the okey doke sales pitch (historic windows discussion)

  1. I feel your pain! We have an older house (1920’s) with the original windows. We priced getting new windows when we first moved in but the quote to replace them all (we have 23 windows) was around $10,000!!! I wanted the same type window that we have which is 4 over 1 and in a sand color. I still dream of those pretty windows, LOL! The previous owner installed INTERIOR storm windows! They are made out of plastic and they have a metal frame around them. There is a metal strip they installed around the windows and they stick in place by magnet. They actually work pretty well and seal out the cold air. This might be something you would consider.


    • Thank you Karen. I looked it up and I think you are talking about the Defender window http://www.defenderinsulatingwindows.com/. I put together one window (on the website) to see what the cost would be and, if I did it right, it looks like it is about $17 a window which is certainly cheaper than a storm window. Thank you for that! If I don’t find the storm windows this is certainly an option for me!! If I had to start over from scratch I would do them all like this.
      When I first read your comment I thought GREAT DAY 23 windows? And then I counted mine and realize I have 18 windows in this little bitty house BUT I have so many trees I lose the light effect (boooooo). I wish I could cut down the bulk of the trees out here. I hope you can enjoy the luxury of yours!! And yes it is certainly expensive to replace all of them at one time. I will only consider wood windows and I never got a quote for the whole house but my sunroom has 6 windows and it was THOUSANDS for the room with labor. I was in shock. My last house I only had 4 windows believe it or not LOL…a townhouse…ugggh it was terrible.



  2. Your windows are exactly like ones I grew up with that are still present in my parents old house built in the early 1950’s. The windows may have more problems that what you see on the outside. Water seepage may have damaged the frame the window sits in, and that wood may need to be replaced. Begin by removing the inside sill, and trim to prevent further damage to this wood. Cover window area on the inside with heavy black plastic as insects tend to think it is a wall. Wasp problem – spray the plastic with wasp spray on the side that will be against the inside wall. Let it dry before putting up on the wall as the wet spray may cause spotting. Then go outside and remove old screen and start removing wood trim boards holding the window in place. This is the only way to get to the framework underneath to check for damage. If you have any questions or problems feel free to private e-mail me. I have and continue to work on my own home as well as my parents old home which my sister now lives in. I am a 60 year old female, so understand how you feel with all the problems.


    • Hello,
      I grew upin NY so I am 99.9% sure I grew up with metal windows. No metal or vinyl LOL. I sure hope there are no hidden problems. I find enough of them with EVERY project I do. It would be nice for a project to go smoothly for once LOL. I have taken the screens off already and besides the paint peeling on the sashes I have not seen anything but that does not mean it is not there because I only did a really quick check. My work has come to a halt for now as I hurt myself really bad last week and I am in a lot of pain. . Remove the inside sill? As silly as this is going to sound I did not know that they could be removed. LOL. I will look it up on YouTube. No better tool for a visual than youtube. I do have someone working on the house for a week and my week is up Thursday. I wanted to do the windows myself but now I am thinking maybe I should let him check because he is going to be on a big job starting Thursday and after that I am completely on my own again.

      PS I am 51 and this handyman stuff is getting to me so you make me feel inspired!!


  3. I agree with you on the vinyl windows. I am not a total fan. BUT this is what we have and have had for the last 10 years in various houses. The upside is they are so nice and easy to keep clean and you never have to paint the vinyl and they do not stick because of the paint like painted windows do. And crazy me as much as I love color I also love the white around the windows. We have 12 windows in our whole 1375 ST FT house but we also have four glass doors which let in a lot of light.7 of the 11 windows are 46 inches wide and I forget how tall 60 inches I think.

    Going to look into the inside storm windows. I have been using shower curtain liners on rods for winter. Of course you can not see through them and it would be wonderful to be able to see out in the winter and still have a dead air space for warmth.



    • I definitely agree that vinyl windows are easy to maintain and they look good on some houses. Unless they are clouded over, something about the gasses escaping? If I had them on this house I would not get rid of them but I doubt they were in production when the house was built so I prefer wood. Wood can look good as heck if they are well maintained. I have filled in rotted wood with wood putty and sanded them down and they came out looking brand new. I agree also that white looks good on windows but I think I am going to use a pop of color this time. I have always had neutral color houses so this is a bold step for me. I wish I could show you how its looking now but I am waiting till the guy finishes. I think it is looking really nice. My handyman says that he understands the green door now. He hated it before LOL. Two of them and they both hated it. It is coming together slowly but surely. I don’t know what this style house is but I am treating it like a craftsman. It feels like a crafty kindda house to me LOL.

      I did use your shower curtain idea on the inside of one window. It worked well. In fact I guess it is now safe to take it down LOL. I forgot all about it because of them being hidden by the curtains.


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