Phone: 503.974.6801

Why Restore

Most of us have experienced the difficulty of trying to open a sticky, old window - we struggle to lift it up and fight to get it closed again. Layers of paint have made once freely moving parts stationary and the glass in the sashes rattle every time someone walks past. Drafts blow in and it seems like money is flowing out every time the furnace kicks on.

These symptoms, among others are what have fueled the replacement window industry since it's inception some 30 years ago. Its attempt is to offer frustrated homeowners a way to eliminate window problems and maintenance. Through aggressive marketing and dubious claims of efficiency and lifetime warrantees, they have managed to convince many homeowners that it's the best solution. However, as replacement units have had some time to show how they truly perform in the field, it becomes increasingly evident that these windows fail and must be replaced, every ten to fifteen years in many cases.

Our belief is that the original windows never needed to be gotten rid of in the first place. Less money is spent restoring a wood window to make it perform properly than the cost and installation of a mid-level replacement. What's more, the restored window can achieve the same level of efficiency as a modern window.

How can this be? Everything that we hear about new windows promotes the efficiency of double and triple layer glazings with inert gas desiccants and sun blocking coatings. Surely, these modern methods and materials have brought us a long way in the quest for conserving energy. The truth is, studies used to support wild claims of superior efficiency necessarily make comparisons to an old wood window that has not been maintained. When put against an original wood window that has been restored and has a properly fitted storm window, efficiency measures are virtually the same. Consider that a properly maintained wood window only needs a full rebuild every 40-60 years, the facts supporting original windows begin to stack up.

Original wood windows need to be saved for reasons other than purely cost effectiveness. They were built at the same time and in the same style as your old home was. The wood that was used was of virgin, old-growth lumber - highly resistant to decay and structurally unmatched. They are working examples of a type of craftsmanship that is hard to find in our time. When these windows are replaced, the overwhelming majority of them end up in the landfill. Any embodied energy is lost and many times more energy must be expended to replace the cast off.

We have a wealth of information available that illustrate facts and addresses myths that surround window restoration and replacement. Follow the links below to read more.

We're always on the lookout for new and pertinent information on historic windows and their preservation. Look for updates on our Facebook page as well as on our blog.