Replacing Windows in Old Homes: How to & When To

Replacing windows in an old brick house

Historic properties are often governed by rules and regulations that are more stringent than standard building codes, and these requirements can differ significantly from one property to another. To help you navigate these complex waters, the experts at Eby Exteriors are here to clarify these regulations, drawing on our extensive experience with historic properties and their owners.

In this discussion, we’ll reveal the key indicators that it’s time to replace the windows in an old house, explore the most popular types of historic replacement windows, and outline what you should consider when choosing an installer.

Let’s dive in!

Signs It May Be Time for Historic Replacement Windows

Historic home with replacement windows

Windows not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home but also play a crucial role in insulation and natural light entry. However, if you’re noticing drafts, difficulty operating them, or poor energy efficiency, it may be time to consult the experts. If you’re uncertain about whether to opt for historic replacement windows, Eby Exteriors can provide an on-site evaluation and offer honest feedback.

Old, Single Pane Windows

Many older homes feature single-pane glass, which lacks the energy efficiency of modern double-pane windows. This type of glass often contributes to higher energy costs and less effective temperature regulation inside the home.

Rotted Materials

Examine the condition of the wood trim around your windows. Is it intact, or are you seeing signs of chipping and rotting? Rot can sometimes be clearly visible, but other times it may be lurking beneath the surface, compromising the structural integrity and appearance of your windows. When the wood starts deteriorating, it might be time to consider a good wood replacement window.

Operational Difficulty

Consider how the windows operate. Modern windows should move smoothly, allowing for easy opening, closing, and tilting. In contrast, older windows may be difficult to operate, often getting stuck or being hard to move, which can be frustrating and reduce functionality. If you’re facing such issues, it could indicate that a historic replacement window might restore functionality while maintaining your home’s classic aesthetic.


Fiberglass, Aluminum or Wood Replacement Windows: What’s Most Popular?

Replacing old wooden windows in a historic home

When planning to replace windows in old houses, it’s required to first get approval from your local historic commission. Each renovation, whether it involves wood replacement windows or other materials, must adhere to specific guidelines to maintain the historical integrity of the structure.

Total Wood Replacement Windows for Historic Homes

For many historic homes, total wood replacement windows are not only preferred by some homeowners but also required by certain historic communities. We recommend Marvin’s all-wood windows, which offer an authentic, historic look. These windows blend seamlessly with the original architectural style, making them ideal for maintaining the aesthetic continuity of historic properties.

Aluminum Clad Windows for Old Homes

Aluminum clad windows provide a practical solution for old homes by combining the classic appearance of wood on the interior with the durability of aluminum cladding on the exterior. This historic replacement window design offers enhanced protection against the elements while still respecting the aesthetic requirements of historic homes.

Fiberglass Windows for Historic Homes

Fiberglass windows are another excellent option for historic replacement windows. They offer superior durability and can mimic the look of traditional wood windows. Fiberglass is less prone to warping and rotting, making it a low-maintenance choice for homes in areas with harsh weather conditions.

How to Achieve a Successful Historic Window Restoration

Historic home with window restoration from Eby Exteriors

Replacing windows in old houses is not a one-size-fits-all project. The construction techniques of the past differ significantly from modern methods, requiring a skilled installer who understands and can adapt to these nuances. It’s crucial to hire a true historic window restoration professional like Eby Exteriors, who not only handles the installation but also navigates the complexities of permits, historic commissions, and suitable products. Here are some unique services offered by Eby Exteriors that set us apart:

  1. Free On-Site Estimates and Evaluations: To accurately assess the needs and constraints of your historic property.
  2. Expert Product Recommendations: Tailored advice on choosing the right materials that comply with local historic guidelines.
  3. Experience with Historic Home Renovations: A deep understanding of the specific requirements and challenges associated with historic buildings.
  4. Skilled in a Variety of Renovations: Versatility in handling more than just window replacements, capable of undertaking comprehensive restoration projects.

Replace the Windows in Your Old House Today

Replacing the windows in an old house involves complexities that modern homes seldom encounter. Navigating historic commissions, selecting the appropriate materials and designs, and managing the entire process can be daunting. However, Eby Exteriors is here to simplify this journey for you. We take care of everything from start to finish, allowing you to spend less time worrying and more time enjoying a beautiful, energy-efficient home. Contact our team today to begin your project or to explore some of the stunning historic homes we’ve successfully transformed.



  • Do your new windows need to be exactly the same as the originals? – When replacing windows in old houses or historic ones, most regulatory panels require that the new windows match the originals in size, appearance, and operation, including aspects like frame thickness, configuration, and color. Marvin windows offer excellent customization options to meet these specific requirements for historic replacement windows!
  • Should you repair the original windows? – It is generally recommended to replace old windows with new ones, as they are significantly more energy efficient. Both we and many historic districts advise upgrading to new windows rather than repairing the originals.
  • Who makes the rules? – The rules for historic window renovation guidelines are typically made by local historic preservation commissions or boards. These entities are often established by municipal or county governments to oversee the preservation of historic districts and landmarks. These rules are designed to maintain the architectural integrity and historical significance of properties while allowing for necessary modernizations.

Have More Questions?

Have a question about historic window restoration that wasn’t answered? We encourage you to reach out to the team here at Eby Exteriors for assistance! Feel free to contact us via phone or email – contact details can be found on our website!

Contact Us Now


Share This: