Nineteenth Century — Historic Preservation Education Foundation

Update Historic Windows for Charm and Efficiency

dating sash windows

When in use, the stacked sections, which would be toward the center of the window, provided greater flexibility in controlling light and privacy. The second part is a Sub Sill. History of the Box Sash Window Early Developments Early in the 18th Century, what is thought of as the classic glazing pattern of the Georgian window developed. First for the rich and the nobility and then slowly to rest of the masses. This is the area you would measure for shutters and storm windows. Another interesting mechanism, which can often be used as a useful dating guide, is the sash pulley itself, i.

Renovate old windows to keep the character but lose the energy outflow from your home

With chatters under age of 18, they must have permission of parents before chatting on this site. The old ones are generally going to be old-growth, virgin forest wood that simply can't be bought anymore except piece by piece as you hunt them down in antique stores and salvage yards. No drip cap or cornice, no sill as a base, but mitered corners to allow water infiltration. In the first homes, windows were more than a decorative way to light the room. I just purchased a very old Awning Window Transom?

The six-light sash with slender ovolo muntins resembled earlier windows but was constructed of thicker stock. Exterior casings were less decorated than on earlier windows. Unlike Federal period warehouse windows which often lacked sash pulley hardware, most Greek Revival period windows received counterweights and hardware at the time of construction. The window openings tended to be larger than their earlier counterparts.

Instead of six-over-six light sash, fewer divided lights were common, utilizing much larger glass panes. As a result, the windows took on a stronger vertical orientation than had previously existed. More elaborate window enframements were representative of later developments of the Italianate style as the introduction of wood-working machines led to the increased affordability of elaborately carved trim.

With the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, cast iron window trim also became readily available in many urban areas. Constructed in — adjacent to the South Street shipping wharves in New York City, — John Street marked a dramatic change from the traditional Greek Revival architecture of the s and s.

The window shown from this building has paired double-hung sash divided by a center mullion ornamented with a torus that also faces the cavettoed exterior casing which serves as a brick molding. Center window mullions typically required that sash be counterweighted from the sides of the window only; small casters placed diagonally opposite each other were mortised into the stiles to enable the sash to rise smoothly in the channels.

As often the case with commercial buildings, the rear windows of — John Street conformed with an earlier design—in this case the Greek Revival. In residential architecture, formal balance and symmetry characterized the Italianate style. Flat-headed windows continued in use, but window heads also took on new shapes not seen in previous architectural styles, including round and segmental arches. Residential windows emphasized verticality through the use of wide vertical mullions and thin horizontal muntins.

Heavy ornamental lintels further highlighted the windows, and projecting bay windows also became popular during this period. Common window pane configurations in the Italianate style were two-over-two and four-over-four. The Italianate window displayed here comes from Geyer Street in St.

Louis, which houses a typical neighborhood store with upper-floor residences. The segmental-arched head, two-over-two pane configuration help define the window as Italianate. Due to the widespread use of architectural pattern books in this period, buildings in St. The segmental arch, introduced in the early s, represented a significant visual change to window openings that simultaneously reduced cost and responded to high-style design of the previous decade.

Prior to the s, windows in masonry-walled factory buildings consisted of a simple rectangular opening with a flat jack arch or, more commonly, a stone lintel.

The segmental arch window head was to remain the standard for nearly all fenestration openings in factories of masonry-wall construction until the early twentieth century. Set into the masonry during construction, segmental arched window frames provided the principal support for building the masonry arches as well. The wooden window unit was little different from those used in the lintel-headed window.

The head of the upper sash usually remained flat, while the head of the frame was fabricated on a curve only along the underside of the masonry arch. Arch-headed sash with true arch-headed frames were more costly and, therefore, less common in industrial buildings.

The twelve-over twelve, double-hung configuration remained standard until the end of the century. Then the gradual increase in the size of factory windows began to exceed the structural capabilities of existing window technology, and new configurations and operating types were introduced.

Sometimes double-hung windows were paired in the same opening, often with transoms. Pivoting or hopper sash were combined with larger fixed sections in accomplishing the same objectives. The relatively small pane within a multi-pane sash remained a common feature of factory windows, even after the introduction of the steel factory window early in the twentieth century.

This window is from Mill No. It is typical of all the windows dating from the late 19th century rebuilding and expansion of the mill complex.

This general design was commonly used in similar work at most of the other Lowell mills built between the — period. Old and historic window replacement is an epidemic that has a strong negative affect on the curb appeal of your home and neighborhood. Understand that replacing windows will give your house an entirely different look and feel because most vinyl and even wood replacement windows defy the principles of aesthetics. Learn more about aesthetics here.

Because of differences in their material and construction characteristics, wood, vinyl, and aluminum windows do not look the same, although the window salesman will tell you that they do. Wood windows tend to have articulated moldings.

Vinyl and aluminum windows, however, have flat, square, or exaggerated profiles. Maybe these differences are subtle to you, but they add up and alter the architectural balance of the house. The shadows are eliminated and details created by contrasting shadows from sharp details are wiped away.

Remember, the architect who designed your house specified the window design so they would work in harmony and speak the same language as the house. Before we show you window designs to avoid, let us first understand the basic parts of a simple window and what details create interest and character.

Almost everything in architecture is base on the Classical Rules of Design, more simply explained as a Greek or Roman column. There is a capital on top a shaft in the center and a base at the bottom. Window designs also follow this layout. Window casings cover the edge of the window jambs and the rough openings between the window unit and the wall.

Window casings provide a visual frame around the window. Window casings should always be installed before siding. This way the siding butts up against the window casing. Never should the window casing be installed over the siding like many contractors do today with Hardiboard. The vertical side casing is referred to the Jamb Casing. The inside of the Jamb Casing is the Jamb — not unlike a door jamb. All windows — yes each and every window must also have a window sill at the base.

The window sill provides a visual base and a Sub-Sill extends the window sill outward. These features are designed to provide protection, and runoff for rain water.

Aesthetically, these features provide the illusion of structure. This window is a Double Hung Window. The window sashes are the movable part of the window. A double-hung window means there two window sashes — an upper sash and lower window sash. In this example each window sash has one piece of glass inserted. If the window was a Colonial style with six window panes in each sash, it would be called a six-over-six double hung window.

NEVER resize the window casing. A window needs a casing to provide a visual frame for the window. A typical window casing is 1 x 4. If a casing is less than 4 inches wide 3. One exception exists and that is only for Federal Style buildings circa — which can be as narrow as 2 inches.

More contemporary revivals of this style will not work with this narrow width due to the lack of complementary elements. Unfortunately, new windows will always have a narrower casing and the majority of new construction windows and wood window replacements are even completely absent of window casings.

A homeowner may order a replacement window and be satisfied with all the details discussed with the sales person only to discover that the window is delivered with a Brick Mold instead of window casings. A Brick Mold is a wooden trim used on masonry buildings to cover the gap where the brick masonry meets the window sash. A brick mold also provides a visual frame around the window as a casing would do. The width however is only 2 inches at most. This is fine for a brick house since the window is set deeper into the brick opening, but in no way should a brick mold be used on a house with wood siding.

The problem is that the best quality window companies will sell you a window for your wood sided home, with a brick mold that is only about inches when you need a casing that is 4. A vinyl replacement window is sold as one piece, so you cannot replace the brick mold with a normal casing. With wood replacement windows, you do have the option, but you need to specify what you want or forget it. Yes there are some good replacement window companies out there, but chances are you will not get the product you need.

You must specify the window is for a historic building even if it is for a contemporary building so you can speak to a salesperson in the right department that will understand what you are talking about. You must also understand everything on this webpage. On the top of the window you have the window header or head casing. The window header may extend out horizontally to each side by no more than 1 inch per side the window header in the photos below do not extend to the sides.

The window header board may also be taller to appear heavier than the side jamb casings and provide the appearance of structure to support the weight of the building above.

Do not go overboard here — 1 inch is usually sufficient. That means measuring from inside edge to edge. The rain water will roll off the drip cap onto the window sill at the bottom of the window, then roll off the window sill away from the house to the ground. The drip cap, although small also acts as an architectural punctuation — a top and visual separation from the siding. The drip cap must have flashing. Notice in the window designs above, the window header is just a bit wider vertically than the window jamb casing on the sides.

The drip cap can also be incorporated into a cornice or crown molding for a more visual impact and to divert rain water farther out from the building. Each detail of the cornice is based on the ancient orders for proper architectural appearance and practicality. The window crown molding above is currently available in vinyl but is WAY overly done to a point that it looks ridiculous and does not serve the original utilitarian purpose it was designed for.

The problem with modern interpretations of original elements is that they are designed to be a focal point. Instead they should be a team of features working together and speaking the same language contributing to the overall design of the house.

Reproduction window features are overly enhanced and not proportionally correct. Understand that you must have a casing surrounding the entire window — not just the top as the photos below illustrate. Most people would think this window looks good.

The prize winning window is to the right. I have not yet seen such a misunderstanding of architecture to such a degree. Notice the window header extends covering the shutters. The builder that installed them seriously has no idea about buildings. Sure the Realtor may not own the building, but would you want to buy a house from a Realtor in this building? The above window designs should really be an embarrassment to the entire architectural field.

The window casing headers above are just ornaments attached to a window. The manufacturer had no understanding of window designs. They are distractions so the other components are not missed in order to reduce costs. As with a Greek or Roman column there must be a visual base. At the base of the window is the window sill.

The window sill is angled downward to shed away water. NEVER omit this feature. It is both practical and visual as all design features of old windows. Proper window designs allow historic wood windows to last plus years. Lack of maintenance by the homeowner may result in a window replacement which is then repeated every years. The window sill is extended with a sub-sill angled downward away from the window sash and the casing about 18 degrees.

Exterior wood window sill extends out to the sides. An optional apron is below the window sill. This is a window casing absent of a sill at the bottom and a drip cap at the top.

A picture framed window casing style looks like and is constructed like a picture frame with mitered joints at all four corners. Such cheap window designs allowing easy infiltration of water at the corners and from the top. Never ever picture frame a window!

Window are the eyes of the house and poor window casing styles are like shaving your eyebrows or not having eyelashes. NO window casing — just a hole in the siding covered over with glass. No drip cap or cornice, no sill as a base, but mitered corners to allow water infiltration. Above are two not only ugly but poor window designs. Here we have no window casing versus a picture framed window casing.

A picture framed window while slightly better is still a criminally bad window design. What is a proud window? There is no official term for this window. If you describe this window to a window salesperson, they will probably not understand what you are talking about.

They will just say there are different types of windows. So read this, understand this, and be prepared if you must go into battle window shopping. A Proud Window looks like a one piece picture framed window. As with picture framed windows, there is no window header or window sill. This is a one piece assembly with the window casing and sash all encompassed in one. Instead of window sashes being recessed about 3 inches inside the window casing, the Proud Window sash is flush or protrudes is proud from the window casing and the siding on the house.

It looks like a toy window from a childs building kit. The window looks like, and basically it is, snapped into the house from the outside. Window designs like this create the flattest look possible since the window is absent of shadow lines. Shadow lines on a home create the character we all love in architecture.

Compare this window to the image to the right that is graphically corrected. The window sash makes this window look a lot better but the design of this window casing is still unacceptable even for a barn or shed.

This corrected window casing now repels water, shows strength and support for the wall above and creates shadows for beauty. Windows are picture framed and proud sash is flush with siding. Your house can look like this too with these windows! You have seen the photos of bad window casing styles. There are many areas of entire window designs to look at and understand. Let us now take a look at an example of an old window to better understand the measurement details and what you need to be aware of to get the right look.

Here is an example of a profile for a double hung window. This window was constructed in Windows of different periods may vary in size but this window design can still be used as a guide. The main purpose is to understand that these window details have a purpose but also create the shadows that make historic windows look great.

Click on the image to enlarge it or if you have a scrolling mouse, hit the Control key and scroll to enlarge these images if needed. Please kids — do not do this at home. Old House Guy is not responsible for homes with rainbow windows! It holds the Lower Sash in place on the exterior and holds the Upper Sash in place on the interior side interior portion is not visible.

To provide better summer cooling, the upper sash can open by sliding downward in this channel. Earlier windows have a stationary upper sash. There is a sash channel for the lower window sash also but this is only visible from inside the house.

The Blind Stop frames the top and both sides of the window. It rests at the bottom on the edge of the Window Sill E — dark blue. Notice that the front face of the Window Sill connects with the front face of the Blind Stop D-Light blue to complete an edge around the entire window.

This edge is where a storm window or shutter would lay against forming a seal. The shutter or storm window must be sized correctly so the edge will fit inside this purple area. They must lay firmly against the face of the Blind Stop D-light blue and Window Sill E-dark blue on the inside and be flush with the face of the window casing on the outside.

The Sub Sill is angled as the Window Sill for water runoff and extends away from the house so water can flow onto the ground below and not onto the house. Additionally underneath the Sub-sill near the edge is what is called a kerf. A kerf is a sort of drip edge not to get confused with the drip edge at the top.

The sharp edge creates a barrier that the surface tension of water cannot cross creating a drip line. Although probably filled with paint on most old homes, this slot should be maintained for water running off the sill and down the front, can due to surface tension, travel along the bottom of the sill and into the siding.

There is a lot going on here, but the point I am trying to make is the distance between the face of the building and the window sash. The distance from the face of the window casing to the upper sash on an average window is about 2 inches. This recessed space creates a nice sharp shadow. This is what makes old historic windows pop and creates the character we all love!

New window sash replacements change all of this. To accommodate double panes of glass the window sash must be a lot wider. This brings the sash soooo much closer to the face of the casing which prohibits the look we are accustomed to. While a double pane window sash takes up more room, the designers are still moving the sashes closer to the exterior than necessary to allow more interior window sill space.

On top of all this, new windows now have an extra piece of trim around the inside of the window casing which creates an entirely new window design and prohibits the homeowner from a contrasting window sash color. Details for this window design issue is explained on a separate page here. Old brick buildings are more simple and have less that can go wrong merely because most features — window sills and lintels are fixed and composed of brick or limestone.

What can be harmed however is the wood portion of the window. Window designs on brick buildings are a bit different than those on a wood sided building. The windows are set deeper into the exterior wall of the building because the brick gives the wall extra thickness. This provides extra sharp shadow lines giving the windows more character. On a brick house, instead of a 4. A brick mold or brick molding is a piece of wood trim that transitions the brick and covers the gap between the brick and the window.

A brick mold It can be different widths and designs. Different sizes and styles of brick molding can be used to to create a meatier and fancier appearance. Modern brick mold widths are about 1 inch which results in a cheap appearance.

A typical historic brick mold is 2 inches but can be thicker to create a nice boarder around a window sash. A narrow brick mold can make a window look like just a hole in a brick facade. Here is another example with two replacement windows. Notice how much better the window on the right looks along with the proportion of the window lights.

A brick mold trim is not to be confused with window casing. Window casing should be 4. Brick molding will look better wider than narrower, but not nearly as wide as window casings. Brick mold trim and brick mold size is often overlooked when ordering windows for Brick Homes. This is usually because the homeowner was not aware of it, nor were they told about it by the salesperson.

Many replacement windows come with brick molding for both brick AND wood homes. This is one of the reasons replacement windows look so bad in wood buildings.

People think and are told the brick molding is good enough to replace the window casing. On a wood building the brick mold should not be confused with the window casing nor be used to substitute window casing.

Window Sashes are the part of the window that moves up and down. We will mostly be discussing Double-Hung windows. Double-hung refers to the window sashes — an upper and lower movable window. Double-hung windows were technologically designed to cool a house during the summer months. Your original windows have top and bottom window sashes that move up and down. If you lower the top sash a few inches and raise the bottom sash a few inches, you have free air-conditioning.

Opening the window sashes like this creates a draft where heat and humidity leave the house through the upper opening while the cooler breezes enter the house through the lower opening. This natural circulation of cool air replacing warmer air of a room can really lower your electric bill.

However, the upper window sashes of many old windows on houses have been painted closed over time. A putty knife can easily unfreeze that sash and get them working again. This window grid configuration is sometimes similar to the familiar tick-tack-toe pattern.

TDL is a very important term to know. In a True Divided Light window, each window pane is a separate piece of glass. Instead of individual pieces of glass, NON TDL window sashes have only one piece of glass in the top sash and one piece for the bottom sash.

Instead of separating the individual pieces of glass and holding them in place with a Window Muntin, the window instead has a plastic grill to fool the more simple minded with a fake look of separate lights in traditional window designs. With jewelry, when a gem is cut light is reflected off the various angles resulting in sparkle.

Window sashes are similar with separate lights. Windows with true divided lights sparkle when viewed from the street. If the glass is older and wavy, they sparkle even more. Different architectural styles from different periods have different styled muntin profiles. They each create different shadow patterns that dance with the sparkle of the window.

This makes the window pop with life and character, and changes with interest as the sun travels and the lighting changes. This gives old windows the character we love and enjoy. But only if we take the time to stop and enjoy it. The result is a very shallow, flat, and bland, not to mention a cheap appearance. It appears as if window muntins were painted on the glass. Window companies, as a way to increase profits now offer a variety of window sash designs. As the details and costs increase, these deluxe windows no way compare with the original details of an older window.

The window styles they offer are still dreadfully poor window sash replacements. Window sashes with a cheap snap in grill looks cheap but still commands a high price. No matter which of the window styles, low or high quality, plastic or wood, you choose, these windows are not permanent like your original windows. So if you choose a new replacement window you are not happy with, all you have to do is wait about 15 years to replace the replacements.

Although Marvin Windows is one of the better manufacturers, see the poorly styled window sash replacements available. The following are all wood replacement window sashes. With double pane glass, plastic window grids are inserted between the glass layers.

This creates a flat look as if the window muntins were painted on the glass. Window muntin profiles for OLD windows are sharp and nicely designed to make their shadows. There are different muntin designs for different period homes. When looking at a Simulated Divided Light window SDL you can see a space inside the double pane glass between the inside and outside window grids.

Seriously — who do they think they are fooling! Yes this window is better than the window sash styles above but there are sooo many different things to know about new and historic window designs. Marvin Windows does offer an accurate historic reproduction window but you must contact their historical division to get someone that really understands your needs. Make sure YOU totally understand windows first though. Become accustomed to seeing the difference between an old or historic TDL window and a replacement window.

Notice the thick window muntin profile. Replacement sash with 2-over-2 plastic window grids. Notice how thin the muntins are. The base of the window sash is wider showing support and strength. It also creates a visual base. What kind of people would approve this replacement? As you can see, this is a patch up job. Two windows are pieced together to fool the viewer. The window now has a totally different feel. There ARE still people that will say this window looks the same or close enough to the original.

When replacing old windows with a new window sash replacement, a big selling point and advantage that really convinces some people is window cleaning. Window cleaning is much easier with snap-in, snap-out grills. Wood replacement windows with true divided light window sashes are available. Few people will spend the extra money for this better window appearance. Few people are able to recognize the difference!

One very important thing to keep in mind are the window muntins. The profile and style of window muntins are dependent on the period and style of your house. Even with a good wood replacement window, muntins should not be a one size fits all. Another problem with ALL replacement windows styles is the size and shape of the window grids or window lights. All window lights should be vertically proportioned and, on special occasion, square. They, as in all architectural features, resemble the human form.

This is pleasing to your subconscious mind. So basically window designs should be vertical rectangles — no squares or horizontal shapes. There is a hierarchy of windows most notable on Colonial Revival architecture where the 2nd floor windows will be a bit smaller than that of the main floor. In this case, the smaller windows upstairs should have the same size window lights but fewer of them. An alternative is the window lights can be proportionally smaller than the window lights in the larger windows on the first floor.

One option usually works better than the other depending on your windows.

Iamges: dating sash windows

dating sash windows

However casement windows are great on certain types of architecture such as English Tudor and some Cottage styled homes. Reproduction window features are overly enhanced and not proportionally correct.

dating sash windows

So, before you decide to replace your drafty old windows, stop and think. With its two six-light sash, this wood window exemplifies the simple design and detailing of a vernacular Federal style window. They each create different shadow patterns that dance with the sparkle of the window.

dating sash windows

One exception exists and that is only for Dating for seniors free site Style buildings circa — which can be as narrow as 2 inches. However casement windows are great on certain types of architecture such as English Tudor and some Cottage dating sash windows homes. No matter which of the window styles, low or high quality, plastic or wood, you choose, these windows are not permanent like window original windows. Brick mold trim and brick mold dating sash windows is often overlooked when ordering windows for Brick Homes. Old Windows are Part of History The windlws windows you are being peddled will degrade the historic integrity of your home.