Not sure how to handle your old wood windows? Get started here. Learn why you should restore instead of replacing them, understand the jargon & anatomy of a window, and get started on repairing them on your own!
Why Restore instead of Replace?
Window Preservation Alliance’s Top 10 Reasons to Restore or Repair Windows
National Trust for Historic Preservation Executive Report Summary: Saving Windows, Saving Money: Evaluating the Energy Performance of Window Retrofit and Replacement
“This study builds on previous research and examines multiple window improvement options, comparing the relative energy, carbon, and cost savings of various choices across multiple climate regions. Results of this analysis demonstrate that a number of existing window retrofit strategies come very close to the energy performance of high-performance replacement windows at a fraction of the cost.”
This Old House Sash Rope Replacement Tip Sheet & Window Jargon Guide If your wood windows won't operate, it could be that the sash rope is broken. It's a pretty inexpensive fix to replace sash rope, and this tip sheet from the Old House Network offers step-by-step instructions -- and helpful graphics! -- on how to do it yourself.
National Trust for Historic Preservation Tip Sheet on Restoring Old Wood Windows A tip sheet on caring for and repairing wood windows, including terminology & basic maintenance.
Preservation Brief 9-- Guide to the Repair of Historic Wooden Windows
Historic Boston Edison District Guide to Historic Window Repair
“Repair goals can range from minimal to extensive. In fact, the less, the better! The ‘How to Do It’ section shows what things can be done, from minimal to restoration. Know what the goal is, then plan just the repair needed to get there.”
Video Series: Working with Videos in Five Parts
In this 5-part YouTube series, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and Michigan State Historic Preservation Office provides "simple steps for working windows.
Historic Chicago Bungalow Preservation to DIY or Hire-Out Fix-It Chart This handy chart identifies a variety of wood window issues -- from mold to missing woodwork to broken sashes and cords -- and identifies whether DIY (do it yourself) or professional solutions might be best. It also identifies general timeframes and estimated material costs for each issue.
Wood windows can be a major lead-exposure risk! Make sure you are working lead-safe, following the EPA’s RRP guidelines.
Are you in a historic district? If you are doing window work you’ve got to make sure it compiles with the HDC standards. Learn more about the HDC & making exterior changes here. Find the window application here.
Local Suppliers for Glass & Materials:
Note, not all of the suppliers have everything needed, call ahead about specific materials or items.
Local Window Contractors:
Save America's Windows by John Leeke
The Window Preservation Alliance has a great library of resources and links, general info, reports and studies, and books to really dig in!
This list was by Brick + Beam Detroit with help from Phil Mayo of Place Restoration Works. This version is from April 2020.
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