Restoration Guide: Introduction to Windows and Doors

Barbara Marquand

Editor's Note: This is article 1 of 12 in the Chapter 4: Windows and Doors of the Old House Web Restoration Guide. This guide was developed and edited for old homes from original materials in the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rehab Guide.


The Old House Web has summarized the nine-part U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rehab Guide to give you easy access to state-of-the-art practices in old-home restoration. Whether you're a homeowner, architect, engineer, or tradesperson, this is the place to look for comprehensive information. Throughout this guide, you'll find links to relevant articles on Old House Web to provide more in-depth guidance for your home restoration project.

This volume reviews the various styles of windows and doors, and covers the techniques, materials, and tools you'll need to repair or replace them. It also focuses on new performance technologies to protect your home against the elements and improve energy efficiency as well as products that improve function while still maintaining the character of your old house.

Perhaps no other elements of a structure must serve such contradictory purposes as windows and doors. They must be designed and installed to keep out moisture, heat, and cold, while also providing views, fresh air, and access to the outdoors, all the while enhancing the appearance of your home. Needless to say, making the right choices for windows and doors when undertaking a remodeling or preservation project is critical to the function and look of your old house.

Keys to Successful Window and Door Remodeling and Preservation

The Existing Windows & Door Overview summarizes the different types of windows and doors and how to evaluate and select them. It also covers ratings and standards from the National Fenestration Rating Council; installation; and costs and benefits of repairing or replacing old windows and doors.

The following chapters (3-5) cover the new generation of glazing, window frame, and storm window materials, and provide information for how to select, repair, restore, or replace these elements.

The Skylights section explores new developments to provide light and ventilation and covers how to repair or replace metal skylights as well as how to install tubular skylights.

The Doors and Frames section covers new standards in doors and the key considerations for replacing them, and the following chapter explains the difference between contemporary and traditional casing and how to repair or install trim.

In the next chapters (9 and 10), you learn how to repair or select and replace hardware with original or new components, and you discover the keys to successful installation of flashing, typically among the longest lasting components of any building.

Finally, the Caulking, Sealants, and Weatherstripping chapter covers how to protect your home with proper selection and installation of these materials. The last chapter, Shutters and Awnings, gives an overview of new innovations in shutters and awnings as well as how to repair and replace them.

Windows and Doors Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Existing Window & Door Overview
  3. Glazing
  4. Window Frames & Replacement Units
  5. Storm Windows & Screens
  6. Skylights
  7. Doors and Frames
  8. Hardware
  9. Caulking, Sealants & Weatherstripping
  10. Shutters & Awnings

Sources for Window and Doors Guide

The content for this volume came from manufacturers and suppliers, trade shows, conferences, reports, home restoration publications, trade organizations and building research centers. Key government sources include:

  • Residential Windows: A Guide to New Technologies and Energy Performance, developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy Window and Glazing Research Program
  • Consumer's Guide to Buying Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors, published by Natural Resources Canada
  • Repairing Old and Historic Windows: A Manual for Architects and Homeowners, by the New York Landmarks Conservancy

Trade magazines also provided valuable information:

  • Fenestration
  • Window & Door Fabricator
  • Old House Journal
  • Doors and Hardware

This information was adapted from the U.S. Department of Urban Development's Rehab Guide. For more information visit: http://www.hud.gov


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