The house is 125 years old, and all of our windows are big, beautiful, double-hung, leaky, inefficient, rotting old things. I've read This Old House website and "Repairing Old and Historical Windows" until my eyes bled, purchased a "Silent Paint Remover" to deal with lead paint, and read every site I could find on the web.
Now. It is time. This will be the year. I am primed with loads of knowledge, and motivated by a winter of record heating bills.
Before moving forward, though I would like advice on some things:
1) Storm windows. I hate them. Are they necessary? I am assuming that, if I do the job properly, I won't have any air leaks to worry about, so I won't need storms.
2) Screens. If I don't have exterior storms, are there any alternatives for screens? I'm not so much worried about bugs getting in as cats going out (and down 3 stories) while the windows are open in good weather.
3) Ancillary repairs. While I'm at it, are there any other repairs I should consider?
4) Professional help. While all of the individual steps seem doable (pulling off the molding, sashes, removing paint, re-glazing, reconstituting bad wood, etc.) is there any part that would be best to contract out? I plan on only doing one window at a time, starting with the least important window.
5) General advice. Any would be appreciated.
I'm kind of fanatical about doing this myself, and doing it without significantly altering the mechanics and aesthetics of our windows (we're in a historical district, so I can't, and wouldn't want to install vinyl replacements). It seems like the windows are definitely repairable, and it might not be as big of a deal as I'm making it out to be. However, I just wanted to put this out there and see what people thing.
Thanks for reading! Joseph