There is a lot to think about when you’re renovating a home. You need to make many decisions, starting with what contractor to use and how much money you want to spend. It helps if you have a clear vision for how you want your home to look when you’re done. If you’re not sure what it is that you want yet, take some time to look through my blog. I’ll discuss everything from home additions to flooring materials to appliances and fixtures. These articles will help you get a sense of the possibilities for your home renovation, and help you narrow down your options. Eventually, you’ll decide on the renovations that are right for you.
Older homes have character, but they also have many problems. One problem that troubles owners of older homes is drafts coming from windows. Old homes were not designed with energy efficiency in mind. One way to make older homes more energy efficient is to install new windows. However, many older homes have problems which could affect the installation of new windows.
If you would like to replace the windows in your older home, there are a few important things to understand about how your home was built and the changes you may need to make before you can do window installation. Here's what you need to know.
Problems with window sizes and shapes
If you want to preserve the look of your older home, you'll want to keep the same sizes and shapes, such as arched windows. However, this may not be an easy task. You may need to have new windows custom made, depending on the window sizes and shapes your home has.
It may be possible to have new window panes installed in the existing framing but this can take some time. The wood can be reused and used to frame a new pane of glass. To do this, a millwork company would need to take the removed windows to their shop to prepare the new windows, which means your home will be exposed to the elements while you wait.
If you do not want to preserve the appeal of your older home or you cannot feasibly order the same window sizes and shapes, you'll likely need to install new windows in different sizes. Given that you won't be able to fill in any gaps in the exterior, such as when a smaller window is installed in a large opening, you'll want to go with larger windows. This can present an entire different problem with the structural framing of your home.
Problems with your home's structural framing
Many older homes have balloon framing. In a balloon-framed house, the exterior wall studs run the height of the house. In simple terms, this means that each wall stud in the exterior walls is bearing some load. Therefore, you will not be able to cut wall studs to make larger openings for windows unless you first take the load off of those studs with diagonal bracing and header placement.
For this to be done, the entire interior wallboard may need to be removed to gain access to the framing. Do not do this without the guidance of a structural engineer. Cutting a load-bearing stud could seriously affect your home's structural integrity.
Also, with this type of framing, there were no window headers installed at the time of construction. Therefore, even if you do not need to cut into the wall studs for larger window, you will still need to build new headers to install new windows to stay within the confines of your local building code regulations.
Problems with your home's wall surfaces
Of course, the wallboard will need to be replaced. To keep the character of your old home, you'll need to hire a plasterer who is experienced in renovating older homes. However, many homeowners in this situation choose to install drywall instead of re-plastering. It's important to make this decision before the original walls are removed. That way, you can ask the demolition crew to keep the thin wood strips that are the underlayment of the plaster.
Preserving the exterior will be easier if you go with larger windows because then the exterior materials can simply be cut. However, the material may contain asbestos, which can be harmful to your lungs if it's inhaled. Hire an asbestos abatement service to test your home's exterior for asbestos before work begins.