100+ yo House - New Windows or Restore Old?

Hi All,
I've got a 100+ year-old house which has the typical 100+ year-old windows. They are covered in lead pain, hard to open, and drafty. They are also big, filled with original glass (wavy and in some sashes, leaded), and beautiul.
The lead is the real issue here, since one of our kids, who is 4 1/2, tested high last year. Most of the rest of the lead in the house has been covered, but the windows remain... and due to this, we mostly keep them closed.
My wife really wants to get the windows replaced with Marvin "Ultimate Inserts" from an installer she knows. He wants about $800 per window for labor and materials. We can't afford to do the whole house, so this would be a two here, two there process.
The question to you experts is this: for the value of the home, am I better off getting the windows restored, and maybe getting some higher-quality storms put on, than replacing them completly? The windows themselves are in decent shape, though they stick and tiny fragments of wood and dust come down when you open/close them, etc. Anyone have an idea what a quality stripping and restoration should cost?
Note the lead issue will diminish in 18 months or so, when the kid turns 6 (when the physiological impact of the lead is reduced), after which the wife's major motivational point will be gone.
Thanks for your time.
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That might be a sticking point if it's ever necessary to put the house on the market again.
Better get someone in to look at the situation unless you're really sure you can do it. Houses that old are often plank-built, not studs & coverings as most people are used to. It could be quite a job to accomplish.
I think you're right to consider it, but also check your local codes. Make sure there are no surprises there such as historical requirements or worse, if you touch this, then you must also do that kind of thing.
Luck!
Pop
: Hi All, : : I've got a 100+ year-old house which has the typical 100+ year-old : windows. They are covered in lead pain, hard to open, and drafty. : They are also big, filled with original glass (wavy and in some sashes, : leaded), and beautiul. : : The lead is the real issue here, since one of our kids, who is 4 1/2, : tested high last year. Most of the rest of the lead in the house has : been covered, but the windows remain... and due to this, we mostly keep : them closed. : : My wife really wants to get the windows replaced with Marvin "Ultimate : Inserts" from an installer she knows. He wants about $800 per window : for labor and materials. We can't afford to do the whole house, so : this would be a two here, two there process. : : The question to you experts is this: for the value of the home, am I : better off getting the windows restored, and maybe getting some : higher-quality storms put on, than replacing them completly? The : windows themselves are in decent shape, though they stick and tiny : fragments of wood and dust come down when you open/close them, etc. : Anyone have an idea what a quality stripping and restoration should : cost? : : Note the lead issue will diminish in 18 months or so, when the kid : turns 6 (when the physiological impact of the lead is reduced), after : which the wife's major motivational point will be gone. : : Thanks for your time. :
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It IS possible to save your windows AND have a safe and comfortable place to live.

It is possible to do to "Lead-Safe" housekeeping to control the lead-health issue. See the following document at my Historic HomeWorks website:
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/education/WindowsHandouts/leadsafetybk.pdf
To learn more about working on your windows go to:
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/reports.htm
and see the publication Save Your Wood Windows, then click on "View Sample Pages," where you will see a page that summarizes lead-safe work on windows.
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Closing the windows in not helping the lead problem. It may make no difference at all, but OTOH, opening the windows will disperse any lead in the air making it safer. Is your kid eating the windows? Simple contact is not a big deal.
Is there historical value to the existing windows? If so, it may well pay you to strip them and refurbish them. There are methods of removing lead paint safely. With windows, you can take the sashes outside. You say they are beautiful and in that case, I'd want to restore them if at all possible.
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Actually, the primary danger from lead paint in windows (assuming the paint isn't flaking/peeling, which ours aren't) is in opening/closing them. Each cycle produces lead dust (due to surface rubbing) which then gets distributed inside the house. Keeping the windows closed eliminates the biggest threat from them.
If a kid is actually chewing on them, that is another story....
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New Low E argon glass and sashes are much more efficient winter and summer than storm windows, Tri pane is best. The Low E and Argon definaly work, a dual pane is apx R3.3 tri pane apx R5. You may only have R 1-2 now and thats about it for storms added as they dont truely air seal, You will save alot in utilities with Low E Argon. Tri pane if you can afford it may offer 20% savings if you are near R 1 and save in summer as well with AC mode. I put in dual and Tri pane they are worth the upgrade.
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20% savings seems a bit hopeful. At $800/window it's gonna take a long time to realize those energy savings. I don't know how many windows the OP has but I'm sure to do them all would cost $10k atleast, even if you save $2-300 per year, that's 30-50 years to just recover your initial outlay.
I'm in a similar situation and I am not replacing the windows. I do have storm windows and they do help.
I'm going through, window by window taking the sashes out, removing all the old paint from the window frame inside and out and the sashes. Removing the old glazing and the glass (very carefully), priming everything (with oil based primer), re glazing and painting (with Latex) and adding weatherstipping. Replacing ropes with chains, cleaning the pulleys etc etc. It's not quick and it's not easy, but it's not rocket science either. To see the bare wood of the sashes and the wooden pins in the joints and realize how long they've been around is just amazing. The windows fit the house and if that is important keep them. The windows I've done don't rattle, glide nicely and look great.
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The savings are provided by independant and Gov sites, it is all year around, research it. I cut my utilities by apx 60-70% overall by redoing everything, 20% is possible with a leaking single pane glass, air infiltration and summer cooling is an often overlooked issue that must be figured in.
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Took you up on your challenge and I did research it further, here's what I came up with
http://www.nfrc.org/press/morewindowfacts.aspx "Household energy costs in most U.S. homes could be reduced by up to 15 percent by installing more energy-efficient windows." that's UP TO Here's something specific: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=windows_doors.pr_savemoney#1 "Estimated savings for a typical home from replacing single pane with ENERGY STAR qualified windows are significant in all regions of the country, ranging from $125 to $340 a year."
So I'm paying about $2500/year for gas heat in the winter and Electric A/C in the summer. So if I replace 27 windows in my house at an approximate cost of $800 each or total of about $20, 000 it'll take 66 years before I break even, if I save $300/year. OK so there are many other factors that come into play here, but the gist of it is that from a financial perspective you'll realize a small drop in utilities but it will take a long time to actually see a Return on Investment from replacing all your window. I'd still advocate stripping each window and renovating them, you'll remove the lead, add weatherstipping and improving their quality so they last another 100+ years.
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They are using averages. I'd say the average house has much less than 27 windows. You may, in reality, get payback in only 45 years.
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Add energy savings into the equation when you consider whether $800 is too much; also get some other quotes from other installers for other brands.
snipped-for-privacy@eml.cc wrote:

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