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Can I Replace the Wood Windows in My Minneapolis Historic Home with Vinyl Windows?

This is a question that has no easy answer.  The best we can tell you is…maybe.  If you’re a regular reader of our blog or you follow us on social media like Facebook, you’re probably aware that we’re great fans of quality, energy-efficient vinyl windows such as the ones we install from ProVia.  But as a Minneapolis replacement window contractor specializing in historic homes, we may suggest something else.  Here are some reasons why.

Considerations for Replacing Windows in Historic Homes

Our first point is that whenever possible, our recommendation for owners of historic homes here in the Twin Cities is to avoid replacing the original wood windows.  (For details, check out this blog post.) The most common reason people mention to us when they ask about replacement windows is that their historic home is drafty, or their utility bills for heating and cooling are through the roof.  We understand that; those old windows were single-pane glass, plus over time the wood has likely shrunk and/or warped, meaning the windows no longer fit snugly in their openings like they did when first installed.  So our most common solution?  Install storm windows.

The second consideration is that if your home is in an historic district or is on a registry of historic homes, there are going to be regulations that govern what type of remodeling you can do.  It’s common for those restrictions to limit materials to historically accurate ones.  And vinyl windows didn’t come into popularity until around 1990, so you won’t find original vinyl windows in those old homes.  And even if your home isn’t affected by any historic home rules, chances are you bought that house because of its character and appearance, and the wood windows are part of that.  There are vinyl and fiberglass windows that replicate the look of wood, but you won’t find anything that comes close.  Just another reason we try to steer owners of historic homes away from window replacement.

Now, that being said, there may be situations where vinyl windows are right for these older homes.  In some historic districts, windows that do not face the public street can be replaced with something else.  You may even have the option to go with a different style window, which is rarely the case when the windows in question fall under the provisions of historic district regulations.

Any type of remodeling done to an older or historic home is likely to be more complicated that when working with a newer home.  But the good news is, we’re experts on historic home windows and exterior doors in this area, and we’ve done a lot of the research for you.  If your home is located in one of the many historic districts in the greater Twin Cities metro area, we can work with the district on your behalf, making sure the window solution we recommend for you is in keeping with the requirements in place. If vinyl windows aren’t right for your home, we’ll find ones that are.  







Window Outfitters is a premier Window Replacement, doors, siding contractor and installer. As Contractor in the St Paul, Minneapolis, (Twin Cities) Minnesota (MN) metro, we proudly serve, but are not limited to, the following areas: Minneapolis Energy Efficient Vinyl Windows, Replacement Window Contractors Minnesota, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Lakeville, Savage, Bloomington, Edina, Richfield, Eagan, St Paul, Hastings, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Farmington MN, Chaska, Shakopee, Chanhassen, Victoria, Mendota Heights Anderson Windows Minneapolis, Marvin Windows Minneapolis.