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3 Window Updates You Can Make in Historical Homes

Window of a historical house
Replacing windows in historical homes can be tricky. Part of a house's charm comes in its appearance, and windows play a large part of that appearance. The frame and glass for the window need to present a look that at least complements a historical façade, if not mimicking it.

When you need a window replacement, though, you may want certain upgrades that improve the windows' energy efficiency or simply stand out. Below are three modern upgrades you can make that complement the appearance of your historical home.

1. Composite Frames

Most original windows in historical homes are made of wood. Wood is a traditional material that's been used in construction for generations. What's more, wood offers excellent insular qualities. That said, wooden frames require maintenance and general upkeep to keep them from warping.

If you want to maintain the integrity of the historical look of your home without taking on the maintenance required for wooden frames, composite frames are your best bet. Not only do they simulate the look of wood, but composite frames feature wood in their construction. Composite frames consist of a core of wood clad in either in aluminum or vinyl.

Besides the wood-like appearance of composite frames, their main advantage is upkeep. Neither aluminum nor vinyl requires the same level of maintenance as solid wood. Indeed, both materials are quite durable with little to no maintenance required.

2. Boldly Colored Frames

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can get a little whimsical with your framing choice. While a sleekly modern metal window might look out of place in your historical home's façade, you don't have to completely replicate the look of natural wood. Instead, you can play with color.

Certain historical house styles, such as Victorian, lend themselves to boldly colored trim, even in the window frames. The key is to match the trim. So, let's say you choose hunter green frames for your windows. You'll want to repeat this color elsewhere in the façade, such as trim around the door or in the gable.

That said, the rest of the window style should be more traditional. Consider upgrading to multiple panes of glass because those windows have a more historical feel. Avoid modern styles such as big expanses of glass or wide panes stacked vertically on top of each other - that's too much modernization for an historical home. 

For your boldly colored frames, you can either order them directly from the manufacturer, or you can paint them your chosen color. Composite frames clad in vinyl can be painted.

3. Double Panes With Gas Fills

Double-paned windows with gas fills don't look any different than your old single-paned windows. You can make this energy-efficient upgrade without having to compromise the integrity of your house's façade.

Double-paned windows consist of two panes of glass separated by a spacer. Alone, these windows already present an upgrade in energy efficiency because the air between the glasses slows down the transfer of heat. 

With gas fill, manufacturers pump a safe, inert gas into the space between panes. Usually argon or krypton, these gases further slow the transfer of heat. Indeed, the two gases are used because their inert nature slows down the transfer.

You can add even one more layer of energy efficiency without compromising the look of your house's façade - window coating. A low-emissivity coating features reflective properties. The coating reflects heat energy back out from the window's surface instead of allowing the heat to transfer. So, before it ever even reaches the glass or gas fill, much of the infrared heat is dispersed.

Replacing windows in your house presents a big investment because you must replace all of them. If you want to add a touch of modernization to your historical home, consider one or all of the above options. Contact Window Wise for help choosing your new windows.

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