Historic Windows Can Be Weather Tight

"A historic wood window, properly maintained, weatherstripped and with a storm window, can be just as energy efficient as a new window." Studies have shown it.
  National Trust for Historic Preservation, "Historic Wood Windows" (emphasis added)

What to Do?

Are Your Windows Steel?

For repair and weatherization of historic steel windows, see the article on Historic Steel Windows Repair, Restoration, and Weatherization.

A good exterior storm window is the first and essential step.

Exterior caulking is need everywhere around the window frames and sills.

Interior weather stripping around window frames and sash to be weather tight.

How to Do It?

There are two courses of action:

A Middle Way to Save Money: Do the easy things yourself, and hire a contractor for the rest.


Simple things can dramatically increase the energy efficiency of historic windows.

Contractors do the simple things the same way! So DIY and save money!

You need only :

Here are some references:

Complete Reference Guidebook for Window Repair and Weatherization

Excellent overview of what needs to be done.

Exterior Caulking (Simple to Do)

Interior Caulking (Simple to Do)

Interior Weather Stripping (Simple to Do)

Brass weather stripping (Some skill with hand tools)

Integral Zinc weatherstripping is high quality and long lived (High skill level)

Window Sash Locks

Storm Windows


All exterior storm windows must be preapproved prior to installation by the Detroit Historic District Commission, because they are a change to the exterior of a house. HDC looks at appropriate color and window design.

Do the simple things first. Maybe they will be enough!

When the simple things are not enough, then hire a skilled contractor.

Work together!

Hire a Contractor

CAUTION: Window companies will advise you that your windows cannot be repaired and are energy inefficient. Their advice: you need to buy their new windows! DON'T BELIEVE THEM!

Employing contractors always is tricky, for two reasons.

Advice. Know what you need and how it should be done!

Here's how: Spend time studying the DIY information so you understand what you need contractors to do and how they should do it. With this knowledge, you can keep looking for contractors who know the right thing to do and how to do it right.

Disclaimer. The window repair and restoration contractors listed here have credentials for windows and have been recommended by building owners in Historic Districts. Neither the Historic Boston-Edison Association not the Detroit Historic District Commission can guarantee your satisfaction with any contractor. Every owner must find contractors with whom they can work satisfactorily. Check their references yourself.

H & R Window Repair Company
Tom Rushton
23641 John R, Hazel Park, MI 48030
(248) 544-8282
Fax: (248) 544-8122

Turner Restoration
James Turner
280 East Boston, Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 574-9073

Sevonty Restoration LLC
Andrea Sevonty
P. O. Box 2951, Dearborn, MI 48124
(313) 622-5582

Allstate Glass Repair
J. W. and Geneba Thomas
3922 Fenkell, Detroit, MI 48238

Windows Diverse Services
Frederick Daniel
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 861-7299

Essentially Wood
Gregg Robinson and Terry Campbell
9301 Dwight, Detroit, MI 48214
(313) 820-8367
(248) 990-3011

Building Hugger
Amy Nicole Swift
3036 Chene St
Detroit, MI 48207
http://buildinghugger.org/ amy@buildinghugger.org