Weatherstripping.
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am now sometimes recommending against highly effective weatherstripping for two reasons. 1. The human body needs fresh air for good health. In the 1970s the death rate from emphysema went up 500%+. What else happened in the 1970s? We hand three 'energy crunches' and started sealing up our buildings. Health experts say that rise in emphysema deaths rates is directly attributable to significant decreases of indoor air quality. 2. The original intent of the double-hung design is to have some air infiltration which keeps the wood dry and decay free. I have seen too many fine old windows rot out from the "seal it up real good" treatment applied in the 1970s.

There are many many other much more effective ways to deal with energy costs and occupant comfort than installing weatherstripping! Air infiltration at all points in the walls including windows can be significantly limited in this type of building with the installation of dense-pack cellulose insulation in the building's horizontal planes (between floors and ceilings), which dampens the 'stack effect' of rising warm air that sucks in air low in the building and pushes it out high in the building.

Why does "no weatherstripping" sound so upside down crazy? Because everyone has been brainwashed by the consumer economy masters and the building products industry. Can we please apply rational thought and our own experience to weatherstripping instead of trusting the corporations and big government whose only interest is grabbing our money?

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sschoberg



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
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Location: Plymouth, Indiana

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be a tough tough tough tough sell.

I agree with you about to much emphasis on making windows tight. I agree that we've been educated, conitioned to think of weather stripping our windows is a must. I agree that windows need to help the house breath. I agree with you that there are many other areas that we can improve to save energy dollars. But-------- some of these old windows are bad for drafts, I mean really bad.

In various threads throughout your forum I've began discussion, and participated in discussions regarding the importance to bring the sashes and jambs back to original specifications and tolerances. I not only believe the importance of this we practice this(or at least try) to a fault. The fault being of course interfering with profit.

It is important to restore a window to the original tolerance or better. I think very few restorers are doing this or even undertand what this entails. old windows (when new) were pretty good quality items. I think so much so that they wouldn't need much weather stripping. (of course they didn't have much available anyway) What they did have was good basic engineering and excellent craftsmanship. The makers of windows actually cared about what he built. But it goes even further than that. The raw products that the window maker used were excellent. Far superior to anything available today. Anything!

Along with that excellent crafted window with very good close tolerances, the typical window was designed to have a storm window on top of it. That alone cuts a very big part of any remaining drafts coming through. All of these thing together produced a fairly tight and energy efficient window.

What happens after 100 years and several generations of families and various degrees of use or abuse from families and weather. Houses settles, windows sag, wood begins to rot, jambs loosen and spread and (this is the most important) all the wood shrinks!

We can restore the window to a somewhat close original tolerance, but that's hardly good enough.

Sashes are restored- But are they really 100% restored. Are they the exact dimensions, with crisp corners exactly like the originals----- I would doubt it.

We remove paint the from jambs and repair the rot, but do we really address all of the componants of jambs during our restorations? We may attempt to tighten all the different parts that may be showing gaps. But probably not completely, some may try to caulk these gaps, but that's not restoring, thats covering. How many of us take the time to resquare the jamb and remove the casing and outside stop to reposition to tighten up the jamb completely. Generally the answer is a resounding No.

It doesn't seem possible to completely remove the whole window, take it back to the shop take it apart and actually do "a for real restoration". The simple fact that the sash componants have litteraly shrunk through the years makes their true restoration impossible. But without addressing thie shrinking we cannot return the window to its true and original tolerances. Without these tolerances we need to compensate.

We do this with weather stripping. That doesn't mean over weather stripping, just adequate weather stripping. Our goal then is to not make an old window ultra tight. Our goal is to do as good a job as possible in our definition of "restoration". Weatherstrip the window adequately, add a storm and quit overselling that we can compete with new windows.

Steve S


Last edited by sschoberg on Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Weatherstrip the window adequately add a storm and quit overselling that we can compete with new windows.


I would say that Steve is thinking rationally about weatherstripping.

Steve's notion that we should quit competing with the new windows industry hits the bulls eye. We cannot play their game by their rules and expect to win.

We offer something completely different. What is it? Instead of the window industry's 'Fast things Cheap" we operate in the realm of "Good work through personal Relationships."

By understanding our customers' needs we can give them the window performance they need.

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Historicdoor



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
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Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve, not sure I understand the implications of "quit overselling that we can compete with new windows". What do you mean by "overselling"? And what do you mean by "new windows"?

Maybe if I think about this statement longer, I'll get what you mean. What is the point if we are not able to draw a distinction between what we do (including the benefits of that) and a decision to go with new windows? If our product isn't worth worthy of the competition, why bother?

I don't understand.

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Gregory
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gregory:

Quote:
What is the point if we are not able to draw a distinction between what we do (including the benefits of that) and a decision to go with new windows?


Yes, yes, yes, we must clearly define and present the distinction.

Quote:
If our product isn't worth worthy of the competition, why bother?


This is exactly the mind-set created by the big corporations and their consumer economy: "You cannot compete with us so you might as well give up." In large part the American public has given up and simply does what they are told to do, in this case, buy replacemen windows.

The effective strategy for us is to simply side-step the completion and do what the consumer corporations cannot. What is it that they cannot do, that we can do, at very little cost?

We can have authentic relationships with our customers. No, wait. Not, "with our customers", I mean to say, "with the people we help." See? Even my thinking "customers" is a part of their game. I have to get out of that way of thinking, and use the expression "people I help."

That is one thing the consumer corporations simply cannot do, truly help people. All they can do is take advantage of people in the their singular purpose of getting money.

Let me repeat that to myself. I don't "sell to customers." I do "help people." This is right in my mission statement: Helping people understand and maintain their older and historic buildings." Now I just have to become more aware of how that works: help, not sell. It feels much better, and works much better to use the "help" tool, rather than the "sell" tool, like the difference between the putty knife I've been using for 25 years and a brand new putty knife, my trusty old putty knife is more comfortable, gives better results.

Little by little we can recover from the brainwashing, and then we can help other people recover, and then they will automatically have us fix their windows, because it is the natural and authentically good way for this world to work. I have seen it work like this time and time again. I think Steve has too. Perhaps all of us have from time to time. We need to get away from the notion that we are doing "business"--that's their game, not ours. We can make up our own rules. We don't even have to call what we do "business." What should we call it?

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sschoberg



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm taking a break and read the thread and have some first response thoughts for Greg and others. I will be able to say more tonight, because this is very important. It is the Crux of how we build our relationships with owners of older homes and how we regard these older buildings and all the pieces that are a part of them.

Don't fall into the trap of competing at the same level as the replacement window companies. Stay true to whom we really are. We offer a very valuable service that doesn't need to compete at the same level as those new window companies. They sell their product to be a cure all with no consideration for the rest of the structure. New windows are very heavily weather stripped and engineered to attempt to show drafts won't get through. And drafts don't get through them, as least for a few year----untill the weather stripping begins to collaps and the structural integrety of the vinyl and even the wood begins to show its true quality.

I've told Tim S this and many other here and in other arenas. My market is not the same market as the replacement window market. The people I want to help would not consider replacing their windows with new ones.

"But, what if I want to expand my market to include all old homes?" you say? And Steve you even said that your customers want a draft free window, whats up with that?

You can and you're correct. And I'll continue later but right now I need to go paint some Cypress window screens I made for my customer I made Cypress storms for late last winter. Ha and my primer is drying, by the way!
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WindowWoman



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:52 pm    Post subject: We just need data Reply with quote

In the never ending argument of replace vs restore the problem is their side has data and we don't, or not much of it. And you know how people love to hear % saved (never $$$, no one wants to get pinned to that wheel).

Recently we were asked to bid on restoring the windows in a 1694 farmhouse. The architect was adamant that he had to put in replacement windows to get the LEED certification the owners wanted. But the owners also aren't fond of replacement windows so they asked me if I would restore a window and have it tested against a replacement window. Well, throw down the gauntlet and I jump. Also, I WANT TO KNOW how we stack up. The one room that had two windows happened to be in a 1920's ish addition. Gorgeous heavy sash, weights and pulleys, etc. We did the full resto, the owners installed a new Harvey Tru Channel storm, I did install spring bronze on the jambs, but nothing on the top, bottom or meeting rail. The energy auditor reported that our window was 92% as efficient as the double pane vinyl replacement window just put in the other opening. And aesthetically? No comparison. I think the test was actually excellent for showing the owners (and architect) just how much compromise there was to a replacement window visually.

Needless to say, we got the job. And needless to say I heaved a sigh of relief knowing that our work can stand up to the test. And I have to say the local energy auditors have become some of our best champions.

Now I'm not going to go out promising everyone 92% energy comparisons 'cause we all know the variety of conditions that exist in the window world, but I feel much more confident refuting the superior claims of the replacement industry. And I'm much more vocal about encouraging customers to get an energy audit on their houses before starting any work, especially if they have a later addition with double pane windows. "Can you just get them to measure those windows too, for fun?" And the data is starting to come in...

So, c'mon get audited!

Alison Hardy
Window Woman
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sschoberg



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greg,

Older original windows are not only worthy they're in a totally other league than new windows. But are they equal or better than new windows energy performance wise? What I'm saying is if we sell performance with a by pruduct of restoration, we'll end up selling to the wrong market and we'll be called on to produce the energy performance we promised.
It is better to tout how great the restoration will be with an added benifit of good energy performance. (but not perfect).
just like Alison is telling us, don't be afraid of energy audits. Restored windows will stand on their own. But don't oversell. They're not all going to be good.

Steve S
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Skuce



Joined: 08 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to see the official Audit papers on that!

We need all the ammunition we can get!

100% efficiency for 5-8 years with 0% Character

vs:

92% efficiency for 150 years with 100% Character

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Drew Skuce
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alison:

I'm looking for a case like yours to put in my book. Would you, the auditor and the homeowner be willing to let me write it up and publish it?

If so let me know.

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It is better to tout how great the restoration will be with an added benifit of good energy performance. (but not perfect).

Quote:
100% efficiency for 5-8 years with 0% Character

vs:

92% efficiency for 150 years with 100% Character


Keep in mind that these replacement windows do not achieve perfect 100% efficiency and expressing the efficiency of the replacement window as 100% gives a very mistaken impression that it achieves 100% performance. A more objective comparison would state the percentage of energy loss for each window compared to zero heat loss, or to the heat loss of the wall next to the windows, or to the heat loss if there was just a hole in the wall the size of the window.

Because of this mistaken comparison I suspect that the difference between the two windows is less than 8%, perhaps much less. And it could be pointed out that the 8% is 8% of the 10%(or what ever number the auditor puts on the energy loss through the windows for the whole house), or .8% of the total energy loss of the house.

I wonder what the cost for each approach was, and what the payback period for each would be.

Now those would be numbers that could be used for ammo.

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by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought


Last edited by johnleeke on Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Historicdoor



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got it. The explanations of "oversell" were very helpful Steve as were the thoughts from John and Alison...now I understand what you were saying...sorry you all had to write so much to drive the point home.

The only other thing that I was hoping you would address was the definition of "new windows". I sometimes find myself automatically assuming "new window" means a cheap vinyl replacement, but there are times that we need to fabricate a reproduction window...with old world joinery, old growth wood and an excellent finishing job. I'd like to think that what we produce is every bit as good as the original window once was (of course, we would only take the direction of the reproduction replacement window if the original window was too damaged to restore). So it seems that we need to be careful to not communicate that all replacement windows are bad...but that authentic wood reproductions are a perfectly acceptable solution when restoration isn't feasible. [Stating the obvious I suppose.]

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Gregory
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sschoberg



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent point Greg. That was what I was attempting to bring out in my first contribution. When is it feasable to build a new reproduction sashes for a window. The question would include the whole window.
A new reproduction of original window is sometimes needed. Building a totaly new window with close tolerances all over would actually perform better than most restored windows. I know, ouch, but true. At the same time the importance of saving and restoring old windows is obvious, as most of us agree. But there are times when it would be great to do just as you say.

I've got a couple of questions for you and the other people here that build new duplicates of original sashes. Do you have set tolorance measurement you use for various places on the window?

What measurement do you use as tolerance between the width of the sash and the width of the jamb opening for it?

What tolerance measure do you use for the sash thickness to the channel thichness?

Have you attempted or are you altering (for improvement) the area around the meeting rail to the parting stop? This is the most prevelant weak area of the window, regarding drafts?

For all of us doing restorations, do you pay particular attention to the areas of the window I've asked about above? And how do you address a sash too thin or a jamb spread out to wide?

How do you or do you address really out of square window jambs?

Steve S
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For making all new frame, sashes, complete:

When I am making the sash, the frame, the stops and beads I work to a tolerance of plus or minus .01" (one one-hundredth of an inch). To get this I am measuring wood parts with a vernier caliper that reads to .001"

When fitting the sash in the frame I allow for the width of the sash to be 1/16" less than the space between the jambs, if the sash is fit to the frame before installation in the wall (the frame has temporary X-braces to hold it square that don't come off until after installation in the wall. If the frame is installed in the wall, then the sash fit, I make the sash width exactly equal to the space between the jambs, then trim the sash for a "running fit" when they are installed in the frame. For vertical fits, I make the sashes 1/8" taller than the opening and trim to fit during installation (the extra is needed if the frame goes slightly into a parallelogram during installation).

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sschoberg



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John, so you do do some restores to total window out of the wall? What is your experience as to the degree of difficulty in actually getting the whole frame out? How do you do it? What are your perameters for making the decision to pull the whole unit versus just the sashes?

Also, when making a duplicate whole window what is your planned tolerance for the width of the channels to the thickness of the sashes?

This whole discussion is for everyone's input.

Ok, one more question for John and everyone. When doing a restoration of a window, do you address the tolerances I've asked about and John has answered? And how are you'll addressing these tolerances when restoring?

I think these tolerances and how they are addressed properly should be included in the standards, or do you think differently?

We do not address them other than with weather stripping. But I'm thinking they should be addressed differently, maybe?

Steve S
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