Historic Window Restoration – The Facts

Historic window restoration projects on historic properties often present a higher degree of difficulty due to the nature of original construction. Our team has to be mindful of framing style, existing decomposition (rot), and present-day code requirements.

Most people living and working in historic buildings have an appreciation for the importance of preservation when attacking problems and deterioration with remodeling projects. Based on the architectural style of these properties and the severity of the problems they are experiencing, our team works to offer ideas for projects that make sense for each specific situation.

The most common historic property owner question we encounter is typically the question of repairing their existing windows (including storm windows) or replacing the existing windows. Here, we explain some of the pluses and minuses of each option.


There is a lot of information aggregating on the internet about Historic Window Restoration. The standard response window replacement requests from many preservation or historic commissions has been against replacement. With the flooding of the window replacement market with vinyl windows in the 80’s, came a tendency towards quick fixes and band-aid remodeling that completely ignored architecturally significant styling. The invention of the replacement window required a lot of innovation to adapt the new product availability with the direct replacement needs. Originally, replacement windows were actually converted builder grade windows. It wasn’t until the 90’s when companies like Andersen Windows “Renewal by Andersen” and Marvin Windows “Integrity” and “Infinity” introduced replacement specific options with architectural integrity.

For homes and buildings more than a century old, the original windows were assembled on site and were essentially devoid of any weatherstripping. Wood frames, wood sashes, and an anchor-line pulley system to allow operation. As fenestration manufacturing improved, windows were equipped with storm windows to add protection from wind and rain while providing increased thermal performance.

When repairing windows in older homes, the process involves removing the old sashes and storm. In many cases the storm is simply replaced due to poor condition. The sashes are stripped of paint (often lead-based paint) and reconditioned with repairs to rotten or weak wood.  A new storm window is added to the exterior to enhance thermal performance.

When replacing a window from this era, the old window sashes, storms, and a window stop is removed. Our sales team works with manufacturers to make a custom-made, complete window unit to be placed in the opening.  The unit is insulated and then stops are replaced to complete the installation.

historic window


It could actually cost you more to repair a window than replace one.  Constant maintenance costs add up to the cost of simply buying a brand new window.  Historic window restoration will help to save you money on energy bills and update the exterior look of your property. The upkeep is minimal and the investment is well worth it.

Window City’s trained professionals will help you along the entire process from choosing the right window, ordering, counting, installing and answering any further questions after installation has been completed.

Related post

More News and Projects

View all news

Window City Renovates Historic Virginia Mill

Window City is part of the renovation team of the Danville Falls project, a multi-use housing and commercial space converted from a historic textile mill.

Window City Contributes to the Preservation Effort of Printworks Mill

Nationwide commercial window supplier and installer, Window City, was called on to be part of a $54 million rehabilitation project at Printworks Mill in Greensboro, NC.

Despite Weather, COVID-19 & Massive Shutdowns, Business Continues to Boom in Nashville

Despite being in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, business shutdowns and constant weather obstacles including deadly tornados and flash floods, Tennessee is still the number one state to which people are relocating.

Why Choose Window City

Window City is a proud member of the United States Green Building Council. Window City is committed to sustainable design practices and recognizes the overall benefits not only to the environment, but also the owners and occupants of these buildings.