Whether you’re a newbie DIYer or a seasoned professional, tackling window replacement in a home might be daunting. So many important decisions need to be made, and the consequences will affect you and your home for decades to come – no pressure, right?
So, we’ve outlined the six main elements you need to consider to make sure your farmhouse window replacement project is a success. Keep reading to learn everything in detail!
Table of Contents
Windows Replacement in an Old Farmhouse: Your Checklist for 2023
1. Do Your Windows Need Replacing?
Unfortunately, windows don’t last a lifetime. However, older windows installed before the 1960s tend to last substantially longer than modern units. Older windows are built from a higher grade of wood than modern ones and can last for a lifetime. However, here are a few signs that your windows need replacing:
- There is visible damage;
- Condensation builds up on the inside of the window;
- The windows do not dampen sound;
- You notice a draft;
- The furniture around your windows appears faded;
If you notice any of these issues with your windows, it might be time to replace them with modern energy-efficient models.
2. Retrofit or Full Frame Window Replacement?
Full frame window installation means the entire glass pane and wooden window frame are replaced during the refit. Whereas for a retrofit installation, new units are inserted into the existing structures. Which is right for you? Here are the factors homeowners need to consider before investing in new windows:
Are you tight on budget?
As a rule of thumb, full-frame window replacements cost around 20% more than a retrofit installation.
Are your window frames damaged?
If there is moisture damage on the window frame, you may need to opt for a full-frame refit. However, it’s important to note that the damage may not be noticeable until the windows are removed. So, take a piece of the old casting from the bottom corner of the frame to assess the condition of the wood.
Do you want to preserve the look of the windows?
Retrofit window replacement will maintain the existing look of the house. So if your windows are not much damaged and you are a big fan of your existing traditional farmhouse windows, you may just want to freshen the units up without going for a complete replacement.
3. What are the Best Window Styles for Old Farmhouses?
Single or double-hung windows are favorites when it comes to farmhouses. Not only do they match the aesthetic, but they are efficient to use.
Casement-style windows are also a good option for old farmhouses. Although they don’t have the same panelled look as single or double-hung windows, they fit the aesthetic but add a modern edge. They also open outward instead of upward, which some homeowners prefer.
Regardless of your preferred style, make sure you choose the most energy-efficient windows. You want your new units to perform their best to keep your house at a comfortable temperature throughout the year, right?
4. Wood or Vinyl Windows?
Unlike residential replacements, where vinyl windows are an absolute leader, when it comes to farmhouse window replacement projects, there isn’t a right or wrong answer here, but rather a few factors to consider. Here’s some information to help you make the right decision for your home.
Pros for Vinyl Windows:
- More affordable, usually costing around 50% less than wood.
- Lower maintenance than wooden windows.
- Comparable energy efficiency as wood and will likely remain at this efficiency level throughout its lifespan.
Pros for Wood Windows:
- They last around 40 to 50 years, whereas vinyl only lasts between 25 and 40 years. However, wooden windows require regular upkeep and are more labour-intensive to keep in good shape.
- It will fit the aesthetic of your farmhouse home much better than vinyl.
- You can change the appearance of wooden frames by painting or staining them in different colors. This way, you can change up the overall look of the home without committing to a particular type of vinyl.
- Decent energy efficiency, however, can be affected by rot or damage.
Another factor to consider is the weather where you live. For example, wooden windows are not recommended for houses in very wet or humid climates, as moisture increases the risk of rot and warping.
Ultimately, both are good options, and the decision depends on your priorities. Essentially, vinyl is the budget, low-maintenance option. In contrast, wood is the aesthetic and longer-lasting option.
5. How to Dispose of Old Windows?
You need to establish if your windows contain asbestos or lead. If your home was built before 1978, the paint probably has lead in it. If so, they will be regarded as hazardous waste and must be turned over to your local solid waste facility. Your window installation team should be able to help you with this.
Additionally, some windows can be dangerous and very labor-intensive to dismantle, so they should be disposed of.
However, if your windows do not contain hazardous chemicals and are relatively easy to dismantle, the glass can be repurposed, donated, or recycled.
6. Are There Any Eco-Friendly Window Options?
Yes! Composite window frames are regarded as the most eco-friendly window option.
This is because they are composed of wood shavings and recycled plastic.
Are eco-friendly windows any good?
They are surprisingly durable but will not give the same classic appearance as a wooden frame. Composite windows will not rot and have similar durability as vinyl. However, extreme wind and hail may damage and dent the windows.
Replacing windows in your farmhouse is a significant and expensive project. However, these tips should help you make all the big decisions about your window installation. First, do your research, and consider what you are trying to achieve in the window refit. Is it purely functional? Do you want to change the look of your home? And what is your budget? Answer these questions, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful window replacement project.