Many people have said to me they need new windows because they fear lead paint, want better soundproofing, energy efficiency and easy cleaning. Then the answer is to restore original windows, not replace them. Restoration will cost less and the windows will be lead free, soundproof, energy efficient and easily cleaned. I have trained many small contractors and homeowners how to perform this task efficiently, cost effectively. For those who insist they want tilt-ins for easier cleaning, this system gives them an easy cleaning solution as well. All of this and a new combination wood storm/screen or interior storm cost less than a wood tilt-in with vinyl jamb liners and no storm. This system keeps the sash weights, cuts nothing off the window sash and removes all old paint and glazing. My friend John Seekircher always says, “The reason they call them replacement windows is that you have to replace them over and over again,”
EPA & HUD lead paint regulations are out of control! The facts however fly in the face of this anti-preservation intrusion into our lives. Lead poisoning in children has been depicted by HUD and the EPA as an epidemic. The facts do not support this notion. Children today have less lead poisoning than ever before in history and it has little to do with lead paint regulations. Taking lead out of gasoline and better factory emissions are responsible for much of this.
In essence we should be teaching the uneducated, educated, poor and well-off families to clean their houses. Common sense education is all that’s needed with lead paint. Lead paint is only a hazard if it’s unstable. Removing lead paint from window jambs and sashes is a safe, quick and easy process if the homeowner or contractor knows how to do it. We must start immediately training small contractors & homeowners how to do this. Right now the contractors that are getting lead certified are gouging homeowner’s pocketbooks because they can.
The reason homeowner’s think they need to replace their windows is that the window industry spends tens of millions of dollars a year to convince them to buy their inferior products. It will take a consumer about 40+ years to get any payback from replacement windows with insulated glass and considering the following statements in the window industries trade periodical, Glass Magazine, the industry makes the case for restoration.
July 2001 Glass Magazine, By Editor, Charles Cumpstom, “The consumer’s perception of glass is significantly different from the industry’s. While some in the industry think a 15-year life is adequate, it is the rare homeowner who envisions replacing all his windows in 15 years.”
Another article in 1995 in Glass Magazine by Ted Hart states, “Remember our industry, with rare exception, has chosen to hide the fact that insulating glass does have a life expectancy. It is a crime that with full knowledge and total capability to build a superior unit, most of the industry chooses to manufacture an inferior single-seal unit.” NOTE: Single seal units are still the norm with an average seal life of 2 to 6 years.
As a side note to this, I am not a general contractor. I believe it is a conflict to teach people how to do these things out of one side of my mouth and then try to get their business out of the other. I do however buy endangered, residential historic properties and rehab them. This keeps me in the fray with the least conflict of interest. Outside of my own rehabs, my only professional purpose is to teach cost effective preservation methodology and neighborhood planning.