Repair or replace old windows?
Dear Angie: We have a 100-year-old home with lovely original windows. However, they are difficult to open and we worry about how energy efficient they are, or aren’t. I’d hate to replace them, but are we better off having them repaired or should we just replace them altogether? – Margaret S., Tampa
Dear Margaret: This is a question I get asked often. Older homes like yours have their own unique look and charm, but as time takes its toll, homeowners like you are forced to decide whether to repair or replace those old windows.
Is your home protected by a historic preservation district that would dictate how your project must proceed? That might be something to check out before you start.
Many window companies offer repairs that can help restore those windows to a like-new appearance, for a fraction of the cost to replace them. Plus, they can talk about options that can help make those windows more energy efficient, like caulking and weather stripping and using window coverings.
If the wood frame around your windows are falling apart, or you’re doing a whole-house renovation, then you might need to replace those windows. Of course, the advantage of buying new windows is that you will improve your home’s energy efficiency. Tax credits can also help offset the cost of qualified replacement windows. (For more information, visit www.energystar.gov.)
My advice would be to contact at least three different highly rated window companies in your area and get their input on the various options that can improve your homes appearance and efficiency, without compromising its integrity.