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Questions on our new home - built in 1902


So we just moved into our "new" house in New Jersey. This home was built in 1902, has a lot of character, but needs tons of work too.

Two questions for those who may know.

1) The ceilings on the first floor are quite high, I would estimate 10 feet. Yet the ceilings on the second floor are really low, say 7~8 feet. I'm 5'8", and can almost palm the ceiling when I stretch my arms. The realtor told us this is normal in homes built around this time. Is that true?

2) There is no insulation to speak of, and all the windows are extremely drafty. Some of which do not even have latches. Since the home uses Oil Heat, and the cost is outrageous, I need to insulate and replace the windows. While I would love to keep the look and feel, with 25 windows needing to be replaced, I can't afford to stay true to the period. Are there any window manufacturers out there that maintain the look and feel, but use energy efficient materials?


Re: Questions on our new home - built in 1902

1] Yes, it was quite common. The downstairs was built and furnished to impress company, while the up stairs was kept utilitarian, sparse, and inexpensive.

2]As long as the window boxes are in good shape you can have replacement sashes made to fit or have the existing sashes reworked and have double pain glass installed.


Re: Questions on our new home - built in 1902

Thanks for the reply. Sounds like a good solution on the windows.

Re: Questions on our new home - built in 1902

I would suggest installing insulation in the attic and not the walls. Capping your house will save you 50% on you heating bill. Insulating the walls will only save you 10% plus it will create one big moisture problem that will come due in ten years with rotten framing. Using caulk to plug up all the air infiltration will save you 25%. Your house needs to breathe. Don't plug up the walls.
Repair your windows, don't put insulated glass in the sash instead put storms up. I am fortunate enough to have my original wood storm windows and they work great. Current testing suggests wood storms and single pane historic windows are just as efficient as any modern window with the added plus that when they need maintenance it can be done. The same cannot be said about "permanent replacement" windows.

Re: Questions on our new home - built in 1902

Learn something new every day thanks Plaster guy

Re: Questions on our new home - built in 1902

My home was built in 1885 and has the original single pane windows and storm windows. There is no cracked glass or anything, but they feel very drafty to my wife and I. We are planning on replacing them but can't afford it yet, we will probably do one or two rooms at a time. Also, we have blown insulation in the walls and second floor ceiling and we used about 550 gallons of oil this past winter. I'm hoping new windows will cut that in half for us.

Re: Questions on our new home - built in 1902

I have the same window situation - tell me more about the wood frame storm windows please. I have 52 windows in the house and all but 3 are original single pane wood sash - my cost is in the summer (Texas).

Are these storm windows merely tempered glass in wood frames? If so i can make those....we typically have storm shutters here, but intalling and closing them means we can't see outside.

I had been told by a neighbor of a new product he saw at a home show....it was like a plexiglass insert that goes on the inside of the wood sash window frames. Trimmed with thin white wood with magnet inserts that merely sticks to the opposing metal strips you install on the interior wood sash. Anyone else heard of this? My concern was moisture build up in the void between the window and the plexi???

Re: Questions on our new home - built in 1902

We bought a house built in 1906 and we expeirenced the same problems with our windows. Luckily my husband has a window and door replacement business. I wanted to keep the old look of our house and he wanted to save on energy cost. We compromised and bought Vinyl single hung windows with no grids and were custom sized to fit the orginal opening. We would of perferred wood windows but they were way out of out budget (even at my husbands dealer's cost). We are extremely happy with the way they turned out. With keeping all the orginal trim work, you can't tell they're vinyl. They are easy to clean and reduce outside noise. Depending on your budget, a window brand called KOLBE & KOLBE makes a wood window designed to look and feel just like the old ones but have superior insulating values. Jeld-Wen also offers a "non clad" window that is comperable in insulating value but has some features that takes away that old wood look. The brand of window we have is Simonton. As a consumer you save around 50% going vinyl instead of wood. Hope this helps!

Re: Questions on our new home - built in 1902

We replaced the original windows on our 1920 Dutch Colonial with Simonton vinyl windows- however, we were able to order one-inch grids for a more original look. We are pleased with them so far -easy to clean, no painting, and much less drafty. 18 windows cost us around $10K a little over a year ago.

Hope that helps!
P.S. I think simonton has lifetime warranty as well

Re: Questions on our new home - built in 1902

Installing or replacing weather stripping on the windows will do nearly as much as replacing them and at a fraction of the cost.

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