New-old Windows Restore The Character Of Older Homes


A home’s outward appearance reflects its lineage. When it’s time, replacing old, battered windows with new-old windows is the perfect way to restore its timeless character. The Madison WI area is home to hundreds of historic building styles. To be considered an “historic” architectural style a home has to be at least 50-years-old. Drive around the city and you’ll see homes that qualify almost everywhere. After all, 50 years ago was only 1970.

Homes built in the 1960s are plentiful in the Madison area and these historic period buildings deserve window treatments that reflect their heritage.

Old-style windows lack the high-tech and low-maintenance features of modern creations. But they reflect the personality of the architecture. When it’s time for replacements do you have to make a choice: go with energy-efficient new designs or give up efficiency for the classic look? You want to retain your home’s character without giving up efficiency, right?

Fortunately you don’t have to decide between historic looks and contemporary performance. You can have both.

New-old Windows Capture History

The rewards of owning a historic home include capturing a look into the past. Keeping up with the needs of an older home is a tall order. It includes respecting its historic integrity. You can abandon its period history or embrace it. That’s your choice. Don’t forget a house doesn’t have to be a huge, mansion-style building to be historic. A lot of Craftsman-style bungalows, cottages and ranch-style homes went up in the 1950s and 1960s. They’re home to many Madison area families today.

The most likely time for thinking of historic appearance is when you’re replacing an exterior element like garage doors, siding and windows. When it comes to windows, you have options.

First you decide: do I replace the windows or repair them? Consider:

  • Labor and repeated maintenance – is it worth it to commit to the work and expense of repair and then maintaining the old windows? Cleaning old windows can be a challenge. And, if something breaks finding parts is often impossible.
  • Energy bills – are your old windows contributing the higher than normal heating and cooling bills? New double- or triple-pane windows are far more efficient than old glass.
  • Appearance – the aesthetics of the windows from inside as well as outside play an important role. Do existing windows look worn out? Does your home need a facelift?

Historically Accurate Windows

Selecting the right windows to be historically accurate takes patience and attention to detail. Modern homes are designed from the inside out to accommodate the owner’s lifestyle. Natural light plays an important role. Modern windows are energy-efficient so there are more of them. Older homes have fewer windows because designers understood that the windows they had available were not. If you’re replacing windows you have the option to add more, replace with larger designs or stick with the original sizes.

Historically authentic windows are available with all the high-tech efficiencies of contemporary styles.

Most older windows were wood-frame creations. High-end wooden windows are available as are vinyl and metal-frame windows that can be painted and stained to look like wood. Old styles had multiple panes of glass. New designs achieve the same look with inserts and dividers. Authentic hardware is available in many shapes and sizes.

Your windows are the most vulnerable space on exterior walls when it comes to heating and cooling efficiency. You don’t want to pay more for heating/cooling just to have your home look “historic,” do you?

Fortunately, you don’t have to. You don’t need to sacrifice convenience or technology. Modern windows designed to look old include features like:

  • Double- and triple-pane glass
  • Low-E coatings
  • Historically accurate grills
  • Easy cleaning from the inside
  • Low-maintenance frame materials
  • High-efficiency, smooth operation
  • Secure locks and closures

New-old installations not only preserve the historic timeliness of the home but they increase its visual appeal as well. Your choice of new windows is where charm embraces performance. You can have the best of both worlds.

Installation Key For New-old Windows

How far you want to take keeping the period styling of your Madison home is up to you. Your personality shines through the windows – inside and out. Choosing the right window frame material is a solid first step. Then, evaluate the window makers and professional installers in the area. No consideration is too small or detail too minor to overlook. You’re not only making an investment in your daily life, you’re making one that you won’t redo any time soon.

Installation is an often undervalued part of a replacement window project. It takes skill and experience to do it right. Nowhere is precision installation more important than when trying to match historic windows with new, modern creations. Poor installation not only detracts from the final appearance, it reduces the energy efficiency you’re striving for.

Sims Exteriors & Remodeling has been installing high-end windows in the Madison area for decades. Its experience is unmatched. Its crews are skilled craftsmen. When you home needs new windows you want to work with a team that’s up-to-date on the latest techniques and has all the tools to do the job right the first time, right? When you are ready for new windows in your historic home Call 608-825-4500, or email us and we’ll review all your options. Put our years of experience to work bringing your residence into the 21st century with new-old windows for your vintage Madison WI home.

Window Replacement Services

Pella Wood Windows

Alliance Vinyl Windows

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