Historic windows can be a real conundrum for some people. Sure, they are a gorgeous part of every old house, but they can be a real energy waste if they haven’t been properly maintained and weatherstripped. But just because they aren’t energy-efficient now doesn’t mean they can never be efficient.
If you have the means to restore your old wood windows you should definitely do it. You’ll regain their functionality and beauty in addition to really upping their efficiency. But sometimes you can’t afford a full restoration of your windows. While restoration is usually cheaper than replacement, it’s still expensive. Your best option is likely adding exterior storm windows.
With that in mind, here are three ways that historic storm windows can save your old house:
1. Big Energy-Efficiency Gains
Most replacement windows today are double-paned glass units, and window manufacturers are quick to tell you to throw out your old single-paned windows and buy replacements. But you can get the same performance by adding historic storm windows to your original windows for a fraction of the cost.
At around $150-300 per storm window, they’re well below the cost of a replacement window, and you get the energy performance of a new double-paned window.
Here are the facts: The addition of exterior storm windows alone can cut air infiltration by 64.3% bringing it below 2009 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) standards, which most of the US currently uses. Source: //windowstandards.org. 63% is a HUGE leap in efficiency that’s not often accomplished in remodeling.
2. Protects Your Historic Windows
If you’re reading this, I hope you are planning to eventually restore your historic wood windows. These windows are fantastic and there are so many reasons to save them. So, whether you have already restored your windows or it is somewhere in your future plans, adding exterior storm windows does wonders to protect your old windows.
Storm windows can dramatically extend the life of your existing windows. By keeping them protected from the elements, you minimize the regular maintenance that is required as well. Paint, putty and wood all will last longer and require less work when storms are installed.
3. Maintains Historic Character
Historic storm windows are extremely simple to add to your house. They don’t require any modifications to your existing windows. Historic storm windows fit in the same frame as your original screens and utilize the same hardware already in place.
While aluminum storm windows can be nearly as effective, they certainly don’t fit the look of an old house. Historic wood storm windows fit right into the exterior elements already in place on your house.
And let’s be honest, if adding storm windows keeps you from tearing out your drafty old windows and replacing them with vinyl, they have done wonders to save the historic character of your house.
Whether you want to protect and enhance the efficiency of your restored historic windows or you need an affordable alternative to window replacement, storm windows are the way to go.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.
55 thoughts on “3 Ways Storm Windows Can Save Your House”
My question is about storing the storm windows through the spring/summer and into fall before putting them back on. My father had a method for hanging them in our 1950’s brick two-story home’s basement but the life of me, I cannot remember the type of bracket (wooden) he used.
Any one has any thoughts?
I love your blog!
I have an arts and crafts 1908 house on Cape Cod – waterfront property. It has been in the family since 1952 and trying to keep it so we do most of the work ourselves. We make the mistake of getting new windows a few years ago on some of the windows. They are not the divided light window, which were way above our budget. I’ve been saving up to replace the windows facing the water. After reading you blog, I’m debating that now. The original window are beautiful but wind goes right through them on a stormy day. I’d hate to do all of the work you are saying only to find that there is no difference in the weatherproofing. I am looking into getting the interior window inserts.
Given that I live in a cold, windy climate, do you think this would be a case of going with new divided light windows eventually would be better for the efficiency of my home despite them being historically inaccurate?
Thank you very much
Oh my goodness thank you for sharing. We absolutely do think there is an excellent solution that involves keeping your original windows. One of our friends in our window rescuing network works out of MA and I think you should absolutely get ahold of her and have her come look in person and save you money and save your windows!
Best of luck to you!
-Alyssa at The Craftsman Blog
I have a Craftsman that was built in 1929, and unfortunately, every window has been replaced with vinyl, most of which are failing. The front of the house however, has huge 4′ x 7′ double pane picture windows with no frame. I can’t imagine that the house originally had picture windows, and I’d like to replace them with something that is correct for the period. What are some resources I can look at?
You got my attention when you said that you can make sure that your windows are going to last longer and will require less maintenance if you will invest in storm protection windows. My husband and I are planning to renovate our house. This is going to be one of our biggest investment this year, so we want to make sure that our money is going to be worthy. It will be ideal for us to install storm protection windows that will guarantee us that we won’t have to replace them after a few months.
I have wood storm windows that I’m adding to the windward/weather side of the house (for starters). In strong wind-driven rain, water drips down from the top, splattering, and leaving puddles where I wish they weren’t. On the first set, I had room to slip sheet metal between the stop and the storm, which isn’t ideal, but it worked (plus it makes taking storms off and on more problematic). On the next one, the fit is too tight for anything to slide in. Is this just part of life, or has someone come up with a great solution?
thanks for this blog
My daughter bought an old victorian (100 years +) in Alameda, C A. She is seeking advice on reframing/restoration
people in the area [zip code 94501] If one uses the indow insert, does the exterior of the frame without a storm suffer and deteriorate more rapidly? Can you recommend restoration/reframing people in the area. How much should she expect to pay for reframing and keeping the old glass as it is the real old wavy glass? For restoration of a frame? Don’t believe any storms were left in the house when she purchased.
Elizabeth, check the directory on my site for a local restorer at https://thecraftsmanblog.com/directory. Hopefully you can find someone local. If you can’t feel free to contact us at Austin Historical as we restorer window sash across the country that our clients ship to us.
As far as storm windows an exterior storm will definitely protect the window better than an interior storm like Indow which is mainly for energy efficiency.
This article is very good, useful style… Thanks for sharing such a lovely post
Hope you are having an awesome day!
Thank you very much for this advice on storm window save
I am waiting for next posting.
We have a newer home (built in 2000) with double pane, tilt in windows. I hate the way that the window sill gets so dirty, especially when it’s windy or rainy. Also, I’m pretty sure all of the water will eventually cause some type of damage. Are there any options for storm windows here?