Installed my first Window Sash Replacement Kit

Old window interior   

Old window interior

Last month we turned off cable TV. Comcast’s digital on demand was costing us about $85/month. There was nothing on. Well, almost nothing. We will miss Keith Olbermann and some of the DIY programs, but $85?! 

The new part of our house was built around 1845 and most of the windows are original construction. They are all single pane. Most are pretty drafty, rattle in the wind and need to be propped open. Fifteen of the windows are just slightly larger than 28″ x 46″. I didn’t want to replace them with the typical replacement windows, because we would lose too much glass area and damage the look of the house. So I researched sash replacement kits. In the reasonable price range there are two choices. Jeld-Wen Zap Pack sells at Home Depot for between $200 and $300 per window, depending on options, and comes in custom sizes. MW sells at Lowe’s, 84 Lumber and some independents and sells for $80 to $120 depending on options, but only comes in “standard” sizes.

Fifteen of our windows are close enough to the 28″ x 46″ standard size to use the MW kit. I ordered the basic wood window for $80.88. I am planning on replacing a window a month until the job is done. Wood is the better environmental choice. Vinyl or vinyl clad utilize some pretty toxic production processes. Wood looks better on this old house. And I figure some of the existing wood windows lasted more than 200 years and still look OK. No one knows what 200 year old vinyl looks like.

sash kit in boxes
sash kit in boxes

The sash kit came in two boxes. I had failed to specify low-E, argon glass, and I didn’t order it exterior primed, but it came with all of those options. I am not complaining. The instructions were thorough, with the exception of trimming the excess off the foam strips. I had to move both the exterior and interior sash stops. Nowhere in the literature or instructions did it mention that the sash tracks are 3-3/8″ deep. This is much deeper than our antique sashes. Thankfully, the sill lip was shallow enough I was able to finesse this. I had to add 1/2″ plywood filler to either side of the opening. I still have to shave down one side of the window sill a bit so that it will seal across the bottom.

MW only offers a full screen option at a pretty hefty price. We prefer a half screen, since we don’t like to strain our vision. I hope to add that myself on Saturday. It took a total of about three hours to install. I haven’t painted or varnished it yet. The next one should go faster, since I won’t have to spend so much time scratching my head over how to solve the thickness difference.

old window exteriior
old window exterior

 

demolition complete
demolition complete
new window
new window
new window exterior
new window exterior

 The cardboard packing and instructions will be recycled. The old sashes will be used as part of a room divider in the barn. The plywood spacers were made from salvaged scrap. Well that’s one more thing I can no longer say I never did before.

One Reply to “Installed my first Window Sash Replacement Kit”

  1. I’m faced with the decision to change my homes windows this year also. I was also looking at the MW option. Now that you have yours for a few months, how do you like it? Did it help, and to what degree, with the winter weather this year? The window looks nice and seems to have given your house a new look as well. Many thanks, Charles

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