Even before closing on the house, we bought these windows from The Rebuilding Center, a great non-profit building material warehouse here in Portland. They accept donations of surplus or salvageable building materials and sell them at a reasonable price. The profits go to fund the warehouse and their community programs. While much of their stock is from 70’s and 80’s, you can occasionally find gems like these old casement windows.
We really thought that they would go well in our kitchen, and we were excited that they were fir, which would match all of our other woodwork. Our excitement did not adequately reflect the following issues which our spontaneous purchase would set into motion:
Negative #1) The size and shape of these windows would require a complete re-frame of the long (19′) wall of our kitchen.
Negative #2) They required stripping to get rid of the lead paint. Luckily, we did find a great local place that could do that for us at a reasonable cost (Houck’s Stripping)
Negative #3) Since these casements had no frames, we’d have to build them ourselves. That ended up taking a LOT of time and a surprising amount of money.
Negative #4) Some of the glass was broken and would have to be replaced. Julio’s original plan of replacing all the glass with wavy glass didn’t work out too well, because just about every piece broke either when removing it from the old frame (we bought junky old windows at the Rebuilding Center) or when installing it into these windows
Negative #5) Old, single pane windows are nowhere near as energy efficient as new windows, especially when the windows are warped, which makes it difficult to weatherstrip them well. Eventually, we are going to make some storm windows that we can put up in the winter.
Once the windows, the stripping, the wood, the “new” hinges (we had to buy antique ones at Rejuvenation, and they cost a small fortune), not to mention the dozens of hours of labor, we easily ended up spending about as much as we would have on new windows. But, they really do look fantastic, and EVERYONE assumes that they are the original windows. So while there were a lot of negatives, we’re still glad that we did it this way.