Our house in Bremerton, Washington, has been in the family for over 50 years. We're all do-it-yourselfers, so the house has been very well maintained. Nevertheless, I'm wondering about scraping, sanding, filling and repainting the twelve window frames one more time versus buying replacement vinyl windows. What are the economics of the situation?
Hi, It can be a tough decision to make; stay with the old original windows that require maintenance on a regular basis or upgrade to the modern energy efficiency of vinyl windows. There's no doubt you'll probably experience a lot of energy savings if you go with the vinyl windows. I'm not sure what type of windows your 50 year old home has, but my 90 year old home has single pane windows and I can feel cold air coming through them during the winter. I don't know how cold it gets in Bremerton, Washington in the winter, but I know Washington can be very damp and I'm sure vinyl windows with a good U-Factor rating would probably make a big difference in your heating bills and probably in your cooling bills as well if you have air-conditioning.
On the other hand I understand wanting to stay with the original windows in the home as that's what I have done. I'm actually in the process of prepping my wood window frames and my orignial clapboard siding for repainting right now. It can be a lot of work, but I keep costs to a minimum by doing the work myself which sounds like what you are doing as well. You might want to give some thought to what I plan to do for my old house windows and that is to purchase some storm windows. Storm windows can give your old house some of the modern technologies like Low-E glass and retain the look of your original windows; they should also give your entire window unit a better U-Factor rating.
You might want to have a window rep come out and give you a price for installing storm windows and one for vinyl replacement windows. You should also ask them about storm windows with screen panels that allow you to leave the storm windows on your home year round.
Vinyl windows are a great product and I have installed them in many homes, but in some old houses they just don't look right; it all depends on the styling of the home. They might look perfectly fine in your home and there are a lot of accessories available that allow you to customize them to your architectural style and your individual tastes.
There are even wood replacement windows available which is something I considered for my old house. They aren't much more expensive than vinyl windows and some companies offer you choice of grid patterns and even true divided lites which your home's orignial windows might have.
I suggest getting a window rep out to your home and finding out what all your options are and the costs involved in each of them, but don't forget to factor in the potential long term savings you can get from upgrading to a more energy efficient window even if it requires a little out of pocket money now.