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Sunday, November 8, 2009

A new view of old windows

Ed Sanchez spent many years in the business of getting homeowners to rip out old double-hung and casement windows - beloved by old house fans - and replace them with (gasp!) aluminum sliders. It did not make him a popular man among preservationists. But on Monday night, Sanchez will be welcomed at a meeting of the Highland Park Heritage Trust as an expert on repairing and restoring the same old windows. How did this happen?

Sanchez, as it turns out, hates throwing things away. He also saw the growing interest, as well as profit, in the restoration of old windows. About a decade ago, he and his partners opened up Window Restoration & Repair. He now gets a kick fixing windows that have been stuck for decades. "When [customers] are able to operate windows freely with just one hand ... they can't believe it," Sanchez said. "They are always fighting their windows."

At Monday night's meeting, Sanchez will talk about the maintenance and repair of old wood as well metal wood windows. Keeping and repairing those old windows can turn out to be cheaper than replacing them with new metal and vinyl when you take into account the labor to patch and repair the surrounding wall, he said.

Many customers are interested in repairing and preserving double-hung wood windows made from Douglas fir or crank-operated metal casement windows. In a few years, Sanchez said it would not surprise him if preservationists became nostalgic for those aluminum sliders from the 1950s and 1960s.

"Some day, people are going to look at aluminum windows and they say, 'Hey those look cool. I can't believe I took them out of my house.'"

Photo by MG Shelton/Flickr

1 comment:

  1. I'm thrilled Mr. Sanchez has learned the error of his old ways. But I don't think there will ever be a nostalgia for those old aluminum windows. Not gonna happen.

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