Windows – A Disposable Commodity?

When did the windows on our old houses become disposable commodities?  Replacing the original windows on a great old house, because they a little scuffed-up, is a little bit like replacing an entire wall of your house because there is nail-hole from where a picture once hung.  We don’t replace entire walls of our homes because of cosmetic imperfections and we shouldn’t do likewise with our original windows.

Yet the scam perpetrated by the new window companies that original windows are somehow inferior couldn’t be further from the truth.

Let’s stay with the new wall analogy for a moment.  The walls on your old house are likely made of some type of durable siding (stucco, brick, or clapboard,)  slow-growth lumber (both the sheeting and the studs,)  and finally lathe and plaster.  Your replacement wall would likely be made of vinyl siding, oriented strandboard (if you’re lucky!) and sheet rock.

On the old wall,  the wood is dense and stable,  The lathe and plaster was laboriously hand troweled to make a durable wall.  Breathable and organic Tar paper would be used as a moisture barrier.  These materials are all solid, durable, and of high-quality.

The new wall seems flimsy and temporary.  The siding and OSB and sheet rock are filled with volatile compounds that can off-gas and cause sickness.  The wooden studs are likely twisted and warped.  The one word used to sum up these materials would be, cheap.

Worst of all, all of this would probably be wrapped in plastic and tape and could likely cause mold to develop.

the old materials are much more sound and honest than the new ones.  In short, they are superior.

The same goes for old vs. new windows.  Original windows are made with moisture resistant, resin-rich, slow growth pine that, when properly maintained, will last indefinitely.


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