talktoearthworms's Profile

Display Name: talktoearthworms
Member Since: 8/24/10

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Here are some good studies on replacement windows vs historic windows, my favorite quote from one of them, "When analyzed as a return-on-investment, the replacement windows actually never show a return." as this was the same conclusion reached in the laboratory I worked for in the early 2000s when tasked with testing for the government. It is very sad that the general population has bought into the false claims of new windows being so much more energy efficient and green, science proves otherwise in many cases.
( i recommend the whole website for those with old homes)

Saving Energy in Historic Buildings: Balancing Efficiency and Value,
John H. Clver and Brad Randall, 2010
An energy model on a rehab project which shows that the energy savings of replacement windows versus restored & stormed windows is virtually identical. When analyzed as a return-on-investment, the replacement windows actually never show a return.

A Comparative Study of the Cumulative Energy
Use of Historical Versus Contemporary Windows, Frank Shirley, Fred Gamble, Jarod Galvin, December 3, 2010. "This study compares the life-cycle costs of two residential window systems in a pre-1940 house in Boston, Massachusetts. One is an original double-hung window with a new triple-track storm unit. The other is a new, vinyl, double-hung replacement window. Our results are obtained from an algorithm that yields the total present value of all costs associated with a window system over its entire life, including acquisition, installation, maintenance, and energy. Our study provided two notable findings: (1) the thermal performances of the two window systems are similar; and (2) taking all costs into account, it is more cost effective to add a storm window to an historical window, and it remains so at all times for the full 100-year life we considered."

Measured Winter Performance of Storm Windows, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, 2002.
Tests during actual winter weather conditions show that adding low-E storm windows gave performance similar to replacement windows, and infiltration did not reduce the performance significantly.

Research into the Thermal Performance of Traditional Windows, 2009, English Heritage Proves Saving Windows Better than Replacing: summary with good quotes, all the window repair methods, scientific methods and data complete, very easy to understand.

many more of these studies can be found on the historichomeworks website.

How Much Did it Cost to Replace Your Windows? Reader Intelligence Request
1/24/14 05:29 PM

@fairfax, and no one in Los Angeles needs them! having curtains is more important to energy savings (cooling) that the type of window in our climate.

Also the majority of wood windows are older than 1950, most are made from old growth wood, which does not suffer from termite attacks like new growth wood. I own a 1913 craftsman home in Long Beach with a dettached 600sqft garage structure that was built in 1982. The structures are separated by about 10 feet, the 1913 home has two minor spots of termite damage, the 1982 structure is probably only being held up by the stucco it is so badly termite damaged.

as for wood rot, very easy to repairs, remove damaged areas with chisel, saw, drill, whatever, brush or pour in some wood consolidant, fill missing areas with epoxy, sand it and you have a like new smooth surface ready to paint.

as for lead paint, you need to invest in an infared heater or a steamer and use scrapers, this removed the paint in large thick gummy sheets, plastic on the floor to bag it all up. you just can't bust out the electric sander. Yes the infared or steam methods involve buying equipment (around $500 investment), but it makes dealing with lead paint your self safe and doable.

How Much Did it Cost to Replace Your Windows? Reader Intelligence Request
1/24/14 04:06 PM

Why not restore? Portland is a pretty mild climate, a restored wood window can perform nearly as well as a newer window and it will last another 100 years as well, your vinyl window will be in a land fill by then. You can restore windows yourself very inexpensively with some minor tool investment it is a very easy learning curve, but it does take a long time to complete a large quantity of windows. There are people out that will restore your wood windows and the price will come out less than buying and installing replacements. Plus it is a selling point in home as old as 1925 to maintain those windows. Having worked in an energy analysis laboratory during my college days and testing old windows vs new windows, the only real benefit to be found was noise reduction. In mild climates, the energy savings from new windows takes well over a 100 years to surpass the initial cost of the replacement windows. Even in cold climates, the payoff period exceeds your lifetime.

How Much Did it Cost to Replace Your Windows? Reader Intelligence Request
1/24/14 03:53 PM

I am a mechanical engineer and my first internship was evaluating windows, refrigerators, boilers, and a laundry list of items for energy and thermal efficiency.

Believe it or not, all this new window technology is quite a sham. You have window manufacturers lobbying for energy credits and touting these claims, you don't really have anyong lobbying for 100 year old windows. There are numerous studies out there that show the energy savings from switching to a modern vinyl, dual paned gas filled window, over a properly working/restored 100 year old wood window, is pretty neglible. If you live in a very cold climate you can utilize storm windows to help further.

Basically when you do the math it is much more green AND cost effective to restore an old wood window than it is to switch to an expensive modern equivalent. Not to mention you are maintaining historic architectural details that only increase an old homes value.

The only thing I can concede that modern windows perform better in, noise reduction. Those extra panes perform considerably better than a single restored wood window.

How Much Did it Cost to Replace Your Windows? Reader Intelligence Request
1/24/14 02:59 PM

Forgot to mention, even though it's been thoroughly covered, fantastic house, and a great job of respecting it while adding some modern touches.

Kathleen & Matt's California Craftsman House Tour
1/31/13 01:13 PM


Possibly not a traditional color scheme as white exterior trim was originally not nearly as popular as a trim choice as it is in modern times. The majority of craftsman homes existing today with white trim did not begin their life that way. Color choices on craftsman homes were dictated by the homes surroundings, the idea was to blend in with nature, lots of browns, greens, and other earthy tones were used, however there are always exceptions. My house for example appears to be a bit of an exception and it was built in 1913. Having done a color sanding test on the siding (siding which was covered in shingles since 1952, preserving the worn and oxidized original paint) I found the first coat to be a brownish red (likely red iron primer) and on top of that a surprising pretty bright yellow that definitely wasn't the norm. Also testing the exterior trim and details I found an ugly oatmeal light grey and better looking light mint green. My personal decision was to keep the pretty yellow siding color, light green trim, but 86 the disgusting oatmeal light grey and replace with dark green and burgundy accents upping the total colors from 3 to 4, I chose these other colors by copying another yellow restored 1905 early arts and crafts home in a historic district near my neighborhood, this made it pretty easy to visualize how the colors would work with each other.

I don't think people should be such sticklers for original exterior paint schemes as you are not causing anything irreversible unlike painting interior stained woodwork. If a previous home owner had decided to paint all the beautiful woodwork in the home featured in this tour, it would take countless hours to try and remove it all and some damage would be inevitable. On the other hand, exteriors are meant to be painted, and will be painted over and over again, stripped, then painted even more. Many of the original color schemes are considered pretty ugly by todays standards. As I said before, these homes were given paint schemes to blend in with the nature and surroundings, and 100 years later the surroundings of these homes aren't always the same. Pick colors that complement your taste, the current neighborhood surroundings, and do justice to the architecture. Craftsmans of this era were traditionally 3-5 colors, the victorian houses that preceded them had even more.

Kathleen & Matt's California Craftsman House Tour
1/31/13 01:11 PM

Wearing wife beaters in the front yard with a chest length beard seems to work for me, I leave my windows and doors unlocked in Long Beach.

High and Low Tech Security Options for Bungalow? Good Questions
9/20/12 10:51 AM

I forgot to mention, bees and humming birds LOVE Leonotis leonurus

Natural Velvet: Plush Plants For Fall
9/18/12 04:09 PM

I have four Lion's Ear (Leonotis leonurus) in my garden, I actually thought the name was Lions' Tail, thats how they were labeled at home depot. Anyway, they grow relatively easy, low water, and get pretty big, my biggest one is 6ft tall and 6ft wide already after 2.5 years, i boguht it as a 2 gallon plant at homedepot for $10. only negative is they get big, bushy and they take on a very branchy appearance if you don't cut off the flowered areas after theyre done flowering. I neglected mine the first year and the bottoms are very branchy looking without many leaves, when I started trimming them every couple months, the tops are now lusher looking with more leaves and lots of smaller branches. So despite not needing any maitenance, i think this plant looks best trimmed up every couple months. Mine flower for a good 9 months out of the year here in Long Beach, CA.

Natural Velvet: Plush Plants For Fall
9/18/12 04:08 PM

I for once would love to have a vintage tiled bathroom like that. I hate seeing them destroyed.

Before & After: Updating a Victorian Kitchen (and Bathroom)
9/17/12 04:15 PM

to answer rexrayfan, you can buy a $20-$40 stud finder off amazon that has an AC and pipe feature. Anyone considering this should do so first. I intended to do this in my kitchen as well however my stud finder shows two lines of AC right where I wanted the cutout positioned. I'm no electrician so paying someone to move it probably isn't worth it, nor is the hassle of building around it. I'm glad I didn't cut out freshly finished drywall just to realize I had wasted my time. A cheap stud finder should be in everyones tool kit, home owner or renter.

Kitchen Storage Between the Studs: 5 Examples of Smart Recessed Cabinets
9/12/12 11:06 AM

Keanes later work is much happier, maybe look for her newer work, she still paints.

Keane Kids For Kids?
8/30/12 05:32 PM

I've tackled every other job in my house, restoring 100 year-old wood windows, kitchen remodel, exterior paint, but this is one of those extremely labor intensive jobs, where there is risk of screwing up as a beginner, that the pros will do for relatively cheap. I had two bedrooms and a hallway done, stained with 3 coats poly, $850 by a local company (this included splicing in a few new boards where old ones were too damaged) that specializes in refinishing wood floors. I honestly don't think it would have been worth my time doing it myself.

How To Refinish Wood Floors
8/24/12 02:31 PM

I hate the majority of these trends.

10 Unconventional Ways to Hang Art
8/17/12 01:36 PM

I am a light sleeper, newspaper hitting the driveway would wake me up. I started sleeping with earplugs 5 years ago. Will never go back. In fact I now have trouble sleeping without them, that's the only negative to it. Regardless, they work great, they muffle out enough sound that outside noise wont bother you, but your alarm clock will still wake you up, as will a pet knocking over some furniture.

Sleep Tight: Dealing with Noise at Night
8/10/12 01:03 PM

Not sure if it's a coincidence or not, but I notice all the stripped tiles are cracked and the painted ones are not. Now they may have been cracked prior too, but it's entirely possible the method used was cracking them, so be carefule.

Steam is an effective and lead safe paint removal method. You need to fabricate or come up with a way to trap the steam onto a small area and be able to hold it there tight and snug while the steam works it's magic. Most clothing steamers can be used with modified heads to accomplish them. It is much much slower than using heat stripping methods but i would caution against those as it may crack the tiles if they are extremely old. As for chemical strippers, i'm not a fan of em. The ones that aren't chemically nasty don't work well, and the ones that work well are really chemically nasty. In this situation you're not repainting (the main reason I don't use chemical strippers where wood will be stained or repainted) so chemicals are worth a go.

What Do I Do with Paint-Covered Tiles? Good Questions
7/30/12 03:58 PM

I walked/road my bike to school alone from the age of 8, I think people worry too much these days. I had a teenage cousin less than half my age visiting from out of the country with his mom (my aunt) a couple months ago. Man that kid had to be told when to use the bathroom at the age of 14. I think some people baby their children way too much, let them grow up and learn to fend for themselves, they'll be much better for it later in life.

When Should a Child Travel Alone?
7/30/12 03:50 PM

I could just dust a 256g drive on music alone.

Facts & Figures: Is 256GB of Hard Drive Space Enough for Me?
7/11/12 01:51 PM

The first thing I do in a made bed is ruffle everything up, I hate being tucked in. Never understood the desire for a freshly made bed but I'm aware I'm the odd one here.

Make Your Bed! For Productivity, Profit and Peace
6/26/12 04:21 PM

whereas it isn't my style, the house is done well. That being said, it doesn't seem like much of the craftsman heritage was embraced, everything has been whitewashed and painted.

Traci's Incredible South Pasadena Craftsman
House Tour

6/25/12 02:27 PM