Vinyl vs. Wood

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Texas_Ranger
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by Texas_Ranger »

triguy128 wrote:
Texas_Ranger wrote:
downtowndahlgren wrote:Well, here's some input directly from a vinyl window installer. The guys who were going to do my Hardie siding (which I cancelled) were ALSO the same guys that the POs had do the vinyl siding and vinyl windows on my house in 1995. While they were schmoozing me towards the contract, the business owner commented "Hey, the windows still look good here. Normally they would have failed by now". If that isn't a self-indictment, I don't know what is.
*snort* I LOVE people like that!

The whole "let's throw it away and buy something new" mentality reminds me of one thing though... about 10 years ago when we were in the middle of our big renovation my mom had a friend's daughter and her boyfriend (now husband) from Germany over for a week. We talked about how we wanted to save and restore the 90-year-old oak floors and what did that schmock of a boyfriend say?!?
"Why'd you want to save that? We always get new floors and every ten years we rip them out and replace them!"

Needless to say what I think about him now... especially considering the other polite insults he dropped during that time.

I suppose it's understandable for many Germans. I remember visiting Dusseldorf and noticing how every building downtown was the same ( I think gernally ugly) 1950's style architecture... then I remembered why.... not many buildings survived the allied bombings. So I suppose its hard to have a mentality towards restoring old things when you live where few buildings are more than 60 years old.
Yes and no... even in cities that suffered extensive bombings considerably more old houses fell victim to "modernisation" after the war than to war damage!
However, I think in most cities you still find beautiful old houses if you get out of the sterile 50s/60s downtons (some cities did preserve their historic downtons though).
The bad thing with electricity : it almost always works.

http://whatapigsty.blogspot.com

Old_House_Jim
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by Old_House_Jim »

I am, of course, in total agreement with the previous messages, here. Sadly, our PO replaced every one of the 46 original wooden window in the house with the crappiest vinyl they could find (at about $150 each ... just imagine how crappy they are.) Like so many others, we're facing some tough finances these past few years.

Should we slowly replace with new wood ? Does anyone make a real wood window, not an aluminum clad wood ? Should we add storms to the vinyl (yes, they are that bad ..) ? I have heard that we could just have sashes made to fit the old wood frames (that "should" be in the wall, still).

Maybe this is a little off the original topic, but, has anyone else who HATES vinyl windows replaced their vinyl for wood? Circuspeanut, where did you find all your old windows to repurpose for your house ? You must have had an amazing carpenter.

circuspeanut
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by circuspeanut »

Old_House_Jim wrote:Should we slowly replace with new wood ? Does anyone make a real wood window, not an aluminum clad wood ? Should we add storms to the vinyl (yes, they are that bad ..) ? I have heard that we could just have sashes made to fit the old wood frames (that "should" be in the wall, still).

Maybe this is a little off the original topic, but, has anyone else who HATES vinyl windows replaced their vinyl for wood? Circuspeanut, where did you find all your old windows to repurpose for your house ? You must have had an amazing carpenter.
hi Jim,

The "carpenter" was me, and I'm a literature professor, not a woodworker. (This is a job in the "If I can learn to do it, ANYone can do it" category. :D )

We found old sash all over: a nearby junkyard, an architectural salvage store, and a guy down the street who was tossing his wooden windows for vinyl (!). I haunted Craigslist for months and picked up pulleys and weights for free.

A lot depends on the age of your house -- mine was built in 1921 and by then many windows around here (Northeast) appear to have been standardized in width, from what I can tell (I kept finding the same widths of 27.5", 30.5", 36") and it wasn't super hard to find the correct dimensions. I did have to cut a few of them down vertically for the shorter kitchen windows, but my sash are uniformly 30.5" wide all over the house.

If you have cheap vinyl, you may actually be in better luck than someone with a proper replacement job. The cheap guys just remove the sash, parting bead and pulleys, cut the ropes so that the weights fall into the cavities, and shove the whole new vinyl unit in. This leaves the window fairly intact for reconstruction. You need to replace the parting bead and find pulleys and possibly weights - you can still get parting bead at good lumberyards (or make it yourself on a table saw, it's just a thin strip of wood). You can pick up brass sash locks on eBay and spring bronze weatherstripping at a number of online places.

Then it's just a matter of restoring the sash themselves. My job was a little harder because we have stained trim on the interior, so I had to sand all the paint off, ugh. I had enough extra that I could replace glass where necessary, and purchased good sash rope and Sarco glazing putty from Andy at Winn Mountain Restorations in New Hampshire.

We did have a wonderful old-timey carpenter make us new wooden storm windows, which are gorgeous and not hideously expensive ($125 each, but I imagine prices will vary a lot regionally). Together, the windows feel about twice as airtight as the old vinyl ones did, and all told the restoration probably cost me around $80/window, plus the cost of the storms.

Thanks to the expert guidance of folks like John Leeke and his excellent Historic Homeworks forum, generous online members like Jade Mortimer, Justin Smith and Allison Hardy, and books like Terry Meany's Working Windows, almost anyone can do this. Seriously.
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circuspeanut
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by circuspeanut »

Oh! And here's a demonstration of vinyl vs wood, halfway through my project. Requires no extra commentary, really:

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Old_House_Jim
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by Old_House_Jim »

Circus ... WOW,

Thanks for the info, resource list and vote of confidence (if I can do it anyone can.)

My first priority is the windows in front of the house and, thankfully, all are the same size. I guess I just need to get of the old house forums and start getting to work. AND there is a ReStore just a mile or so up the road ... guess what Ill be doing today after work?

For good or bad, you planted an idea in my head, not I must go and make it happen.

shizzy
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by shizzy »

when I first bought my house I knew nothing of saving the old ones. I got a few quotes on replacements and soon realized the payback on the "energy savings" was 47 years. :shock:

With this said, I then found out that my heating bills for my 4000 Sq Ft house (duplex, both units share one boiler) with 82 year old "leaky old windows" is comparable to people with smaller and newer houses with the fancy double paned windows.

Imagine my heating bill once I complete all the rehabbing on the original windows and install new storms all around.... 8)

oldhouseluvr
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by oldhouseluvr »

Although I am an old house lover and a preservationist, I do understand why people want to replace their wooden windows with vinyl. Vinyl windows are much easier to clean and no painting required. Where I live in suburban middle class America, most people don't buy the older houses out of an appreciation for the architecture; they buy them because of price, size, and location.

Having said that, we still have the original windows in the original part of our house and we intend to keep them. We finally resorted to paying a commercial firm to come in and clean them. With the triple track storms and 30 some windows, it is too much for us to do ourselves. We also have broken window panes that I would like fixed, but neither DH nor I will be doing that. The reality is that it is a lot easier to replace an entire window than it is to find someone to come in and repair a pane. Hoping someday to find someone we can hire to replace our broken panes.

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