WINDOW Shopping

by Stephanie Gray
My Old House

Drafts. Condensation. Water leaks. All are issues you don't want to have with your windows. Yet, these were the problems we were experiencing in almost all of the 10 windows throughout our house. The last time our windows were replaced was probably about 20 years ago, in the previous major renovation to the home. In a perfect world with an endless budget, we would have replaced them all at once; instead, we're planning to slowly replace them, prioritizing the ones that are the most concerning.

The two we replaced immediately were the two in the kitchen that impacted our kitchen reno. Both were integral to the design, and the risk to do them later would likely cause damage to our backsplash. We enlisted Mario Lambert of Mario's Windows & Doors, a recommendation from my sisterin- law, whose parents used him to help replace their windows and were happy with the results.

We had to make a few decisions about the windows we wanted, including the opening design, grill style and colour, and glass type. Unfortunately, the window openings we had throughout the house were all single- or doublehung, a traditional style that would have been the original look used on our home when it was built in 1885. When speaking with Lambert, he explained one of the biggest disadvantages of this style – there are more contact points, which equals more opportunities for air to leak over time.

My husband and I mulled over the decision: Should we try to keep the home's integrity with vertical sliding windows, or opt for a different style that will have longer durability? In the end, we went with a casement style for one window, and an awning style for the window over the sink. The exterior wood casings of the windows were also worse for wear, slowly rotting away, so we had him update them to a durable PVC in white.

For the glass, Lambert also helped us select an energy-efficient product from Guardian Glass called ClimaGuard 70/36, designed to control the hot summers and cold winters. We also decided to keep the grills, but we chose to have less than the original windows (four versus eight grids) for a more modern look.

Even though we replaced only two windows, we've noticed a significant difference, especially this past winter with less cool air penetrating through, and no condensation. We also love the awning style over the sink, which lets us keep the window open during those spring days when it's raining.

While I'd much rather pick paint colours or decor pieces than decide what window opening to have, the experience has made me appreciate just how important windows are to your home. Not only do they impact the overall aesthetic, but they can be detrimental to your comfort, wallet and the environment. So, while it's not the sexiest of projects we've done, it's been one of the most valuable.

VENDORS: Mario's Windows & Doors. | Guardian Glass. | Select Blinds for window treatments. | Elegant Solutions for window ledge. | Cambria window ledge in White Cliff.