Replacement Sash for Historic Review — Custom Case Study

This lovely condo building on the National Historic Register was in need of refurbishment. There were strict requirements to meet in order to maintain the historic character of the building. Their budget precluded custom replacement sash and other window components. Here’s how we helped their contractor, PATH Construction, find a Uniquely Versatile solution that was right for them.Replacement Sash

  1. What were the design goals of the project (including any performance, historic review or unusual specs?

Historic accuracy on a budget was the name of the game.  The primary hurdle was matching an historic glass stop profile on all the replacement sash. No manufactured window company could provide the beaded profile and the project’s budget did not allow for custom windows.

Replacement Sash

  1. What challenges did the project face?

We were challenged to meet very strict historic requirements for this building which is now on the National Register. We also had to stay within a tight budget for a project this size.  These requirements included a specific glass stop profile, no visible vinyl or balance system on the front of the building, and maintaining the original window sizes. This included the 1 round top window on the 3rd floor.

Path_19xx_VWP_A_ (7)

  1. What uniquely versatile solutions were used to address those challenges?

Versatile mixed a variety of products from Marvin (Wood Magnum Tilt Pacs, Ultimate Double Hungs, Ultimate Awnings, fiberglass Integrity sliders and double-hungs in the basement).


Replacement Sash

However, even Marvin was unable to produce the beaded profile glass stops so Versatile purchased the window systems from Marvin without any glazing.  Our shop then machined the custom stops and glazed the windows ourselves using the same Cardinal Insulated glass that Marvin would have used.  The result was a “custom” window at a manufactured price.


Replacement Sash

It was delightful to assist in the restoration of this important piece of Portland’s architectural history in the heart of NW Portland.

Hot tip: these lovingly restored condos go on the market this week and they won’t last long. Check them out at NW 21st and Flanders.


About Versatile Wood Products  | Contact Us

Restore or Replace Your Window — 5 Quick Checks to Decide

We get this question every day at Versatile: When is it better to restore or replace your existing windows?

Here’s a quick check guide to evaluating the condition and value of your current windows. This will help to discover which option may be best for you.


Restore or Replace

Any window components with dry rot will need to be replaced. In some cases, if the rot is very minimal, the rotted portion can be removed and filled with epoxy. Proceed with caution. The removal of too much wood from the frame and sill can compromise its strength and create future problems.

How can you tell if you have dry rot? Take a pocket knife or a screwdriver (shown above) and poke it at the wood of the casing, sill and check rails. If the knife goes right in like butter, you have rot.


Restore or Replace

Often there is a good reason to restore a window. You may want to conserve the original wavy glass or a beautiful leaded glass element. It is possible to restore antique leaded glass and we have great relationships with some local experts in that process.

If the frame and sash are rot-free, it may be worth it to remove, strip, restore and repaint the existing window.

Just be aware that conserving the glass will come at a cost. Surprisingly, repairing a window to conserve the glass can end up being more expensive than replacing it. This is due to the higher labor costs for repair vs. replacement.

Also, single pane glass has an R Factor (insulating factor) of 0 to 1. From an energy efficiency standpoint, single pane windows are like open holes in your home letting heat leak out constantly. You’ll want to consider window coverings that will help counterbalance the poor insulating qualities of your single pane historic windows.


Restore or Replace

If your old growth wood windows have elements of rot, you will most likely benefit by replacing those components. The good news is that Versatile can exactly match the casing and sticking profiles of your existing wood windows. They will blend in seamlessly with the other windows in your home.

If your old-growth wood is rot-free, you can choose to conserve the wood and re-glaze the window with high performance glass. This will improve its R factor while keeping most of the original wood intact.
Be aware: Doing this will make the window heavier. Double hungs may require adding weight to your existing weight pockets.

Re-glazing will also require modification of that sash that can be both expensive and less durable than a new sash designed to accommodate insulated glass.


Restore or Replace

If your goal in addressing your existing window is to make it less chilly and drafty near the window (or you need to meet the new stricter energy efficiency codes), replacement is going to be your best option. Even if you only plan to replace one window in a room, using a simulated divided lite window with the appropriate coatings will make a big difference in how much insulation value the window has and how comfortable a space feels.

And don’t worry- there are both custom and manufactured options for simulated divided lite windows which means the window can be designed to exactly match your other existing windows if that is your preference.


Restore or Replace

If it is already part of your home maintenance routine to repaint your window exteriors every few years, the investment in repairing an existing wood window may be worthwhile.

Otherwise, replacing with new aluminum clad or fiberglass sash, inserts or tilt pacs will dramatically reduce your maintenance requirements over the lifetime of the windows. Clad windows never need to be re-painted and will stay colorfast for the lifetime of the window.

Have a window you would like some expert advice on? Feel free to contact us at We can help you determine if you need to restore or replace your windows.

About Versatile Wood Products  | Contact Us