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Energy efficient and authentic: home windows for old house styles

Iris Price

You love your old house but when outside temperatures drop or soar, you might find yourself missing the comforts of a more technologically advanced home. If you aim to preserve the historical characteristics of your home, energy-efficient replacement windows that look fine on newer homes many not fill the bill for your Queen Anne or Craftsman. So, what are your options?

Restoration or replacement windows for your old house?

To retain the most historically accurate details of your old home, windows may need to be restored rather than replaced. Restoration is the usual route if you have leaded windows, especially if they are rare stained glass found in some American homes built during the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

You may also want to choose restoration if your windows are a non-standard size and will require custom replacements. Restored single-pane windows with storm windows are reputed to be extremely energy efficient.

Steel casements, popular on Tudor homes, may be rusted, but partially-corroded steel frames can be restored. The work is performed at your home, but it's labor-intensive and costly. Steel-Arte, a thermally broken steel replacement window made by a Swiss firm and distributed in North America by Dynamic Architectural Windows and Doors provides an authentic replacement option. Their windows offer the latest energy-efficiency and functionality but may cost considerably more than what you would pay for aluminum-clad replacement windows from an American company.

Replacement windows for old house architectural styles

A less expensive option than steel, Andersen Windows offers a variety of wood species window frames and the latest energy-efficient technology in styles compatible with the most popular forms of old house architecture including these:

  • Craftsman Bungalow
  • Georgian/Federal
  • Spanish Colonial
  • Queen Anne
  • Prairie
  • Tudor

If you love old homes, but want the comforts of a new house in one of the popular old house styles, Andersen's Architectural Collection and Architectural Style Library of pattern books help homeowners, architects and builders plan window choices that accurately represent some of the most popular styles of the past. Their A-Series windows offer architecturally authentic trim colors, grille options and hardware for popular home styles that feature windows like these:

  • Craftsman Bungalow windows are generally casements or double-hung and have stained wood interiors with vertical or square -- never horizontal -- grilles in the upper windows. Accent windows are popular.
  • Queen Anne window styles are usually double-hung with decorative and/or colored glass or grille work on the top sash. First floor windows frequently feature tall bay windows with unequal sash.
  • Tudor homes typically have casement windows, either singly or in groups separated by mullions, sometimes topped by a transom, and bay windows on one side or the other of this asymmetrically shaped home. Grille patterns are typically diamond- or rectangular-shaped.

Whether your house is old or you are getting ready to build a new "old house," you have more technologically advanced choices than ever to continue the tradition of the most cherished American home architecture.

About the Author
Iris Price is a single Baby Boomer whose antidote to a lack of retirement funds was to launch a long-delayed career as a writer. While others her age concoct bucket lists and travel the world, she bought a new-construction home and obsessively creates lists of must-have home improvements and personal realization goals. She specializes in writing about home services and self-motivation.

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