Making Windows Weathertight
Don’t replace those drafty old windows; tighten them up with new weatherstripping
When Kevin O’Connor, the host of This Old House, renovated his 1894 Queen Anne, he never once considered replacing its original double-hung windows with modern ones. “It would kill me to put new windows in this house,” he says. For one thing, the handcrafted sash and blown-glass panes would be costly to replace—as much as $1,000 apiece—and substituting anything less would destroy much of the old place’s charm. Still, he was dismayed by how much air leaked in during the winter, even with outside storm windows in place.
To fix the problem, he needed a product that was both effective and unobtrusive. “I didn’t want anything that would change the way the old windows look,” he says. The solution: a simple weatherstripping kit that uses the same types of seal found in modern windows and is practically invisible.
For about $80 and an hour’s installation time per window, Kevin got the leak-free performance of a new unit while saving a valuable piece of his house’s history, as well as dollars off his heating bill. “The wind is blowing outside,” he says, “but the drafts are gone.” Continue on to see how he did it.
Shown: This Old House host Kevin O’Connor weatherstrips his old wood window sash. When combined with a good storm window, this system is as effective as a new insulated unit at stopping air infiltration.