Need advice on drafty wood windows

I have a 'sunroom' that has double hung single pane glass. This room is on the North side of the house (odd for a sunroom) and is always cold in the winter, especially when it is windy.
A contractor has given me a bid to replace the 10 windows with totally new units, however I can get a 'sash replacement' system from the local home improvement store for about 6o % of the contractor bid cost. According to the manufacturer this replacement system can be installed by a reasonably skilled homeowner in about 20 minutes per window, and all of the work can be done from the inside. If the manufacturers marketing information is to be believed, installing the replacements would amount to less than 4 hours of my effort with a savings of more than $1000.
I have also considered putting up storm windows, but I would like to do something with all of the windows in the house, and am not crazy about climbing around on a ladder to do that job.
My question is does has anyone had experience with a 'sash replacement' system such as this, and are you happy with the results?
Thanks in advance,
Don
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Don,
I can't answer your question but from your description you do not have a sunroom. Artists like North facing rooms with lots of natural lighting. Your room is an artist's studio. It would also be good for photography.
Dave M.
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Dave,
I would agree, it gets very little direct sunlight, only in morning and late afternoon on the East and West sides of the room.
Thanks,
Don

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I have casement ( crank out ) windows double pane glass I have removed the window to replace the wood sash, the windows are 2X6 in size they are kind heavy, I did the work from the inside, its not to bad of a job if you take your time. I saved $150 in labor to R/R the wood sash myself.
Tom.

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I've never done this work but I've heard from plenty who have. Forget the 20 minutes per window working time. You can also forget most of what the manufacturer tells you. They want you to buy their windows. The wood sash windows can be made weather proof for much less cost and work than sash replacments or new windows. If I were you I would head over to the Old House Journal web site (http://216.25.63.4/talk/index.shtml ) and search on 'windows'. There have been dozens of threads on window repair vs. replacement. You'll be an expert by the time you finish reading everything there.
There is also http://www.windowrepair.com/index.html
Greg
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My thanks to all that responded, I appreciate the pointers on experience, and warnings. I plan on doing additional research before I tackle this job. I will take a look at the informaiton on the TOH site and work on becoming an 'expert' (hasbeen drip under pressure).
Thanks again,
Don

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Opps, meant OHJ...
Thanks again,
Don

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What kind of sash replacement windows are you looking at? Are they the kind where you take out the old sashes and install a new side track and then install the new double hung sashes in the new tracks or are they one piece single hung windows that fit in the exissting frame once the sashes are removed? I have installed both types (I had been in construction for 20 yrs) and the my advise would be go with the latter. Unless the old frames are dead square(and 99% in old houses are not) the first type is a pain to get them to fit right. Sometimes they end up being worse than what they are replacing. As far as installing storm windows you still have the problem of air leakage on the old prime windows. Not to mention the fact that the old prime windows are just plain worn out. Sure you can try and fix them but it is a lot like trying to make a silk purse out of sows ear. The best solution is to replace the sashes with new vinyl single hung windows made to fit the openings. You will want to measure the openings very carefully and Order the new windows about 1\4 inch smaller in width and height. Just be sure the thickness of the new windows is the same as the total of both the old sashes. If you have never done this before figure about 2 hrs for the first couple of windows. Now for taking out the old and installing the new. First of all you will have to remove the inside trim mouldings that seal the inside of the old sashes. For this I recomend buying a 5 in 1 painters scraper. It looks like a wide chisel with a kind of a point on one end. Carefuly remove the old inside trim against the old sashes. You will need it to put it back up once the new windows are installed. The inside sash will now come out. Pull the sash towards you and cut the ropes on both sides that are attached to the weights. Set the sash aside. Now looking at the outside sash you will note a small piece of wood holding it in place on the sides and the top. This is called a parting strip. There is a channel in the frame that this fits in to. Pry all of the parting strips out of the frames. Now the outer sash will come out like the inner one did. At this point you will notice that there are a double set of pulley wheels in the upper part of the frame on both side that the old sask ropes went through and were attached to the weights. I have found it easiest to just hammer them flush with the frame. One other item you will need to order with your windows is a filler stip for the sill. The sills are angled and the bottom of the nsw windows are straight. This will create a gap at the bottom of the windows on the outside. Fisrt of all install the filler strip on the sill. After this is done cut the outer window stop about 8 inches from the bottom and very carefully remove it. you will need to put it back after you have installed the new windows. Now take the new window and remove the screen and the bottom sash. Lift window into the opening and put it in bottom first. Then push the top untill window is upright and against the outer stops. Install the bottom sash and lock in place. Caulk around the window and reinstall the old inside trim. Open the window and put the pieces of the outside stops back in place. The job is done except paint touchup and you never had to leave the inside of your house. I hope this helps you.
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The 'latter' also comes in double hung.

They simply need to be shimmed. The new windows need to be square...and plumb.

This is a BAD idea. The windows are ALWAYS built and shipped a 1/4" smaller than what you tell them...to allow you to square the window in the opening. So if you give them a measurement that's 1/4" less than actual, you'll get a window that is 1/2" less than actual.

How would he do that? That measurement isn't even advertised...nor is it important.

Just cut them? Wouldn't he then hear a loud thud? lol
And why cut them? He can more easily just take the knot out of the inner track of the window and gently lower the weights.

How can you POSSIBLY do this? lol Anyway, there's only a couple of screws that hold that pulley into the cavity. Take them out...and the pulley easily comes out. Maybe your windows look different than mine.
Those holes should then be stuffed with insulation.

It comes with the window frame.

Very bad idea. The vinyl frame is flimsy...and will change its shape if you take out the sash. The window should be installed with all sashes intact.

Inside part of the outer stop should be lightly caulked first. New frame will push against the caulk...and give you a tight seal.
Also, the top trim piece should be stuffed with insulation and installed over the top before inserting the window. You won't be able to put that piece in later.

How is he keeping the new window in the old frame? lol He needs to install the screws that will mount that new window into the old wood frame. The caulk alone certainly won't keep it there.
Then he needs to adjust the wing nuts at the center of the vinyl frame...by popping off the inner trim on the frame. After the frame is trued with these wings, the sashes should be tested for proper operation...before the trim is put back on.
I don't mean to sound critical...but some of your steps seem very unusual.
Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving season...
Trent
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I was looking at the JeldWen Zap Pack replacement windows. You pull out the interior stop and remove both sash, then put in new tracks, and new sash. The attractive thing for me is that the new sash are double glazed, and from what I can determine the new window tracks would be 'tighter than the current aluminum tracks which seem to have a lot of flex in them.
I probably should explain that the current windows are 'only' about 20 years old, double hung with spring counter weights. They are a 'builders grade' level window, and probably at the low end of what you could get for a wood double hung unit 20 years ago. These windows seem to leak a lot of air around the tracks at the top of the lower sash.
I would be glad to try to install better weather striping to improve the current windows, and have even thought about putting on storm windows. We are now getting ready to put an addition onto the area adjacent to this room, and would like things to blend in on both the interior and exterior of the house. My contractor says he can match the existing windows with new windows in the addition, with the exception that the new windows would meet the new double glazing requirement that goes into effect for new construction starting at the first of the year. This may be a State of Georgia requirement.
Again thanks for the input.
Don

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wrote:

This may be an indication of another problem, Don...that installing the windows may not solve. Many utility companies will do an energy survey for you...that can help pinpoint the problem areas.
But...if you simply want something newer looking...and probably more energy efficient in general...<more>...

Here's a link I found for ya, Don...
http://www.lowes.com/lkn?action=howTo&p=Improve/RepWindow.html&rn=RightNavFiles/rightNavDoorsWindows
Watch the wrap.
I also have a video site that I went to...that came suggested with my windows. But I deleted it. I'll try to find the paperwork again...and send the link to you. It was very helpful.
I just put 4 of them in, Don...into a sunroom. My situation was a little different, however. The room never had any windows...just storm windows covering the openings. So I took out the storms...and put in the vinyl double-hung with inside-the-glass cross bars. There were never any stops installed, of course...so I rebuilt the frames to fit the windows...that I got on sale. I paid $79 each...at Lowe's.
What you'll need to do, basically...
1. Take off the trim.
2. Take out the inside window stop.
3. Take out the inside sash.
4. Take out the weight pulley.
5. Take out the outside sash.
The new window gets installed/pushed into the outside stop.
That's pretty much it! There's a lot of minor stuff, of course. But that's pretty much all there is to it.
There's a trim piece for the top...to make it fit tight there. And there's a piece that goes on the bottom...to compensate for the angle of the sill.
I think 20 minutes is too conservative...at least for the first window. But you should easily be able to do 1 an hour.

I personally prefer storm windows...because you have a double barrier against the wind. All of my windows are the old wood double hung...except for the 4 new vinyl I just put in.
But I had NO windows where I put those 4! And to replace the storms...which were all pretty shot and dirty brushed aluminum...was gonna cost about 3/4 of the cost of the vinyl. So I went with vinyl.
Good luck. Be glad to answer any other questions you might have.
Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving season...
Trent
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