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Window Replacement Considerations For Historic Homes

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As you can imagine, replacing the windows in a historic home is different and often more costly than replacing windows in another type of residence. However, replacing windows in a historic home has many benefits. Single-pane glass can be upgraded to double- or triple-pane glass. In addition, new windows are much easier to keep clean and have readily available replacement parts.

As a general rule, the original windows of a historic home that are repairable should be repaired. This is the absolute best way to protect the home's historic integrity. However, the windows in older homes are frequently past their expected lifespan, and repairing them is not feasible or economically reasonable. 

If repairing the windows in your historic home is not an option, then keep these considerations in mind when choosing replacements: 

Window Replacement May Require Approval from the Local Historical Society

If your home is listed with a local historical society or in a historic district, you will need their approval to replace the windows in your home. 

To gain approval, you must fill out an application explaining your plan and then appear before a review panel to make your case. 

Once the local historical society or historical district board has approved your plans, you can replace your window.

Replacement Windows Should be Historically Accurate

When replacing the windows in a historic home, it is often mandated that you select historically accurate windows. The replacement windows should have frames made of wood or metal and should not contain any composite materials or plastics invented after your home was initially built. 

For example, nothing makes an older home's exterior look more "off" than installing vinyl replacement windows. White vinyl windows were not produced when the house was initially built. This makes them stick out like a sore thumb because they can't possibly be original to the home.

Windows With Multiple Glass Panes Should be Replaced with the Same Pane Pattern

If your historic home's existing windows have a multi-pane design, this is part of the original architecture and should be retained. 

For example, if your existing windows are a six-over-six pane design, the replacement windows should also have a six-over-six pane design. 

Today's most common manufacturing process is to make windows with one large sheet of glass with wooden or metal frames applied on top of the glass. This makes the windows much more energy efficient and less prone to leaking. However, the windows do not need to be made with small individual glass panes. 

If you do not like windows with a multi-pane design and would prefer to replace them with plate glass, then it is important to verify that this change will be allowed by your local historical society.

Contact a company like Leger Siding to learn more.