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new windows?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
hi - our house was built in the 50's and i think we need to replace the windows. we'd like to improve our energy efficiency, plus some of them just won't open, which makes me nervous for fire reasons.

has anyone done this and can it be done on a budget? i haven't started researching, so i don't know options, yet...

thanks in advance!

frugally yours ,
post #2 of 11
OT: I have a Talula, too. I don't see the name often.
post #3 of 11
We replaced most of our windows last summer. (We're in Portland, too.) It wasn't cheap. We could have gone cheaper, but figured this is a big purchase that affects the value of our home, so we got the best windows we could afford, and were sure to match the style of the home. (Our previous windows were original to the house - 1913!)

It has made a huge difference in the comfort of our home. No more nasty drafts, rattling every time the wind blows, and they all open!

I think it's worth it to get several estimates, but mainly it comes down to the brand of window you buy. Some are more expensive than others (Marvin, Andersen, Pella), but I think this is one area where you get what you pay for.

Depending on the style of window you are replacing (like if they're double-hung), you can by do-it-yourself kits that replace only the window/sash and not the entire frame (like Marvin's Tilt Pac). Some look a little crappy though, IMO, and you lose some light because you are fitting a new window frame into the existing frame. Here are some links about DIY replacement.



If you're looking for a good company locally, I recommend Classic Sash and Door, that's who we used. They carry Marvin windows. Their show room is inside the Rejuvenation store on SE Grand. Happy shopping. And be prepared for sticker shock. Windows are not cheap. Might want to look into a home equity loan/line of credit.

One more thing. I personally think it's more frugal to buy quality the first time, than buy something cheap that will need to be replaced again.
post #4 of 11
Even the really expensive double pane windows in the US will not last very long. The seal holding the air tight space between the panes will only last about 10 years. After that, condensation will form between the panes. There are ways to design energy efficient windows of a high quality that will last, but there is no one in the Portland area who does them.
post #5 of 11

We need to do this too. This year we put plastic weatherstripping on the insides of the windows and what a difference. It's kinda ugly though and We really need to replace our windows too (1940s). The caulking is even loose or missing around much of the glass and they're so drafty.

We did get estimates from a couple companies but they all were doing the hard sell thing. THey'd only give us that 'special price' if we signed an agreement right then, that the offer wouldn't be valid in the morning. We don't play that way. We want to research and shop around, so we still have no new windows! Brrr!
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Mamablue - [our girl is SUCH a talula...!]

Nancy - thanks so much for the info...it's a little scary, but you are right. we really don't want to do it on the cheap, but there are other things we need [new stove, for one] that have us trying to figure out a budget for this. i have been through the upstairs at rejuvenation when we needed a door and you're right about the shock...! but quality is a good thing..*sigh*
[OT: maybe i'll see you at suena one of these days..]

Madrone - that's a bummer. you'd think portland is large enough to have a resource

Rebecaa - good luck - i hear ya! brrr

post #7 of 11
One more thing. I personally think it's more frugal to buy quality the first time, than buy something cheap that will need to be replaced again.

I would approach new windows with caution. The only thing worse than a nice old house with tacky vinyl windows is a nice old house with a tacky new front door.

Our house is old and when we bought it, the home inspector told us we needed to replace all the windows and some of them were definitely in very bad shape--but not all of them. So we saved money by replacing the four worst windows, which were on the sides of the house that get the brunt of the bad weather. We bought Pella architect series windows that exactly match our original windows. They're expensive but worth it.

The remaining windows are in great shape and just need their sash cords replaced which is a DIY job.

So my point is, maybe you can get away with replacing a few of your windows rather than all of them. Or stagger the job: do a few this year and more next year, etc.
post #8 of 11
talulasmom - it's not because of the size of Portland that they don't have a source of quality windows that will last. It's the technology of windows in the US and there not being someone who knows how to make double pane windows that will last. It's really hit or miss on the location in the US on whether there is someone. A double pane window that will last has a pane that opens, for cleaning and joint replacement. The two panes that are permenantly sealed on a metal frame is just a poor design to start with. When the seal joint fails, the entire piece has to be replaced. And there are businesses around just to do this. With starting the window design differently, a lot of waste (translated into money and jobs) could be eliminated.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by madrone
talulasmom - it's not because of the size of Portland that they don't have a source of quality windows that will last.
got it -thanks for the explanation
post #10 of 11
When we lived in our 100+ home w/o insulation, we replaced the windows. We got Simonton windows. We loved them, and they did help a bit with energy costs. They are little known, but make a good product. We got the Reflections 5500 series. Good warranty, and transferrable to the next owner (for a fee).

One thing you may want to consider is doing a little at a time. We had 18 large (32x70) windows, and doing them all at one time would have been too much. So, we did 6 windows at a time. It doesn't look weird if you do a whole side of the house.
post #11 of 11
Windows are a good investment for a house. We replaced a bunch of ours a few months ago. I'm so happy we did. The draft coming from the old windows is terrible. We got vytex windows http://www.vytexwindows.com. They came with a lifetime warrenty, even for the glass.
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