In the spirit of getting caught up with some of the things that have been going on around here but haven’t been mentioned on the blog, for today’s post I wanted to share one of the biggest improvements we’ve made on the house in a long time — a window upgrade! More specifically, replacing the front windows.
To give a bit of background, the windows we started with were of the simple wooden pane variety, old enough to have that wavy effect from where the glass had settled over time, and weren’t in particularly good condition overall. Of the six individual windows, only one was in working order to actually be opened and closed, which could be frustrating on days when it would’ve been nice to let in some fresh air or a cool breeze.
Here’s a view of the old windows, taken way back when we first moved in — notice how they also had an outer pane of glass (or storm window) hanging over the front:
As far as requirements went for replacing or upgrading these, it was a pretty short list:
- Functionality – intact screens, able to open and close (so pretty much the bare minimum)
- Aesthetics – we wanted to keep the same basic shape and look of the old windows as much as possible.
- Energy Efficiency – because if we were going to the trouble and expense of replacing them, it just made sense.
We actually pulled the trigger on this little home improvement project last October, via this company, which was able to deliver on all three of our requirements while also offering a low-interest financing option (which we’ve since paid off in full). This is probably one of those projects where you could save a bunch of money by doing a DIY installation, but for something like this, we knew we would be in way over our heads and it was time to call in the pros.
The installation happened on a Saturday, and for a few hours our living room looked like this:
The tarps they hung up did a good job of keeping dust off of our furniture while they were ripping out the old windows and everything. Although I have to admit, it was a little unnerving to see the front of our house looking like this, even temporarily:
Before replacing them, I somehow hadn’t really noticed how much space was between each of the windows — about six inches or so — and it turned out that this was completely hollow, empty space, with no insulation or anything. But happily, the window guy went ahead and added some insulation during the process of installing the new windows.
And now for the fun part — before and after pics. This first photo was taken shortly after we bought the house, and shows the old windows:
And here’s a much more recent photo from the same angle, showing the new windows:
We were able to keep the same overall look with six individual double-hung windows, and even the same vertical dividers on the upper half of each of the windows (the new ones are actually between the panes of glass to make for easier cleaning, which is nice.) Overall it’s a pretty subtle difference, and I like to think that they don’t detract anything from the Chicago Bungalow character of the house — or that an onlooker might not even notice anything had changed unless they actually saw them being installed.
The only drawback was that by the time the new windows were installed, the weather had turned too chilly to have them open, followed by one of the longest and coldest winters in recent memory — although in that regard, the improved insulation and energy efficiency of the windows couldn’t have come at a better time. Not the slightest hint of draftiness or cold seeping in, even when the temperature plummeted to the insane lows seen here and here.
So far, we’ve only replaced the front windows — we’d eventually like to upgrade the rest, since they’re all just as old, energy inefficient, and barely-functional as the front ones were, but for the time being these were at the top of the list due to being the most prominent from both the outside and the inside (since the living room is where we spend most of our time).
Anyway, that’s one more item to check off of our (seemingly endless) home improvement to-do list! It’s a good feeling to be plugging away at these things one chunk at a time, even if we aren’t quite ready to move forward with the major attic remodeling project just yet. But as they say, “all in good time, my pretties,” and then tend to their flying monkeys.