Friday, August 23, 2013

Beautiful New Windows to Match an Older Home

We needed to replace our windows--we had needed to for quite a while. I realized it would solve a few problems, but what I hadn't counted on was how much nicer our home would look with well-made new windows.

We live in a 1920s shed-roofed bungalow. When we moved in the windows on the top floor had been recently updated, but they were low quality and improperly installed. Leaks were visibly damaging our walls, so it was getting urgent. On the ground floor we had beautiful windows that were original to the home. Unfortunately you could feel the drafts in the winter or the heat cushion around them in the summer without even concentrating on it. Plus, the single pane glass was doing nothing to keep out the noise pollution from a town that had spent 90 more years growing after our house was built there.

Paul recommended the Andersen Eagle line with aluminum-cladding on the exterior and wood on the inside. The Eagle line offers more color options than most manufacturers and makes high-quality architectural matches. I wanted the exterior to be something other than white. I always envied the homes with painted window casings in our old neighborhood. They seemed to have the striking curb appeal. We ended up choosing a red similar to our ground floor brick, since matching the two would mean the window color wouldn't affect paint color choices in the future.

Since the original windows offered so much architectural detail to a house of this period, I was bracing myself to be disappointed by anything new. I was resigned to it: a thing we have to do before the studs start to rot. I was completely on the wrong track in my head. These windows look amazing. They are fresh and new, but they look just as solid as what was original to the house. They are far more beautiful than the ones on the second story that had been previously replaced. Plus, I had been focused on what they would look like outside, but they also renewed the interior. Now that the trim is patched and painted and looks crisp and fresh, I can't bring myself to cover them again with curtains.

There are several other things I had not expected that turned out to be immense improvements. The windows tilt inward for cleaning. The grill work snaps out, again for cleaning, yet it appears to be sturdy and permanent. Several of the original windows had been lodged shut since before we moved in. The new windows not only open, they slide up and down effortlessly if you want fresh air on a nice day (or something is burning in the kitchen and I am dashing around opening them as quickly as possible before the smoke alarm goes off). We now have screens for all of them that keep the mosquitoes out when we do open them. The edges of the screens match the window clad color. The screens pop out easily for storage during the seasons that they won't be gliding up and down.

If you are considering new windows, the key is to choose something that meets your needs and that emphasizes both form and function. This will improve the look and the feel of the home you love.

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