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Old 02-06-2013, 11:15 PM   #1
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Exterior Storm Windows


Howdy all - looking for some advice.
My house and windows are 35 years old. Windows themselves are double-hung and are in good shape.

Storm windows are another matter.
Storm windows are exterior, consist of 2 panes, a lower and upper along with a lower screen. Storm windows are held in place by plastic type channels on bottom, top and sides. Channels are attached to wood frame. The upper pane is stationary and bottom pane slides up to open to expose screen in summer.

Problem is the channels.

They are old and brittle and break in pieces if touched, and have a few broken out spaces in them. On some windows the bottom channel is completely gone.

Anyone else have this problem and have any ideas what to do about these crappy channels? No idea who mfg these windows.

Can't do pics right now so hope above is clear enough.

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Old 02-07-2013, 05:16 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Fins59 View Post
Howdy all - looking for some advice.
My house and windows are 35 years old. Windows themselves are double-hung and are in good shape.

Storm windows are another matter.
Storm windows are exterior, consist of 2 panes, a lower and upper along with a lower screen. Storm windows are held in place by plastic type channels on bottom, top and sides. Channels are attached to wood frame. The upper pane is stationary and bottom pane slides up to open to expose screen in summer.

Problem is the channels.

They are old and brittle and break in pieces if touched, and have a few broken out spaces in them. On some windows the bottom channel is completely gone.

Anyone else have this problem and have any ideas what to do about these crappy channels? No idea who mfg these windows.

Can't do pics right now so hope above is clear enough.
Sounds like 2-track storm windows, as opposed to more expensive ones that have three tracks so both glass panes and the screen can slide freely up or down. It isn't worth trying to replace the channels or tracks, they are likely beyond their usable lifespan and probably don't have good weatherstriping anymore to seal out drafts. Do you have wooden shash windows with single panes of glass? Your best (and most efficient) option is to replace the storm windows entirely with more modern, attractive three track ones. It makes for a perfect opprotunity to clean the actual windows well, replace old, cracked, putty/glazing on them, and then repaint them before installing new storms.

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Old 02-07-2013, 05:19 PM   #3
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Or install more efficient replacement windows and not need the strorms at all.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:14 PM   #4
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Or install more efficient replacement windows and not need the strorms at all.
That would cost alot more, not to mention more labor. If you are talking about installing vinyl windows, that kills the style of the look of wood on the interior as well. New wooden windows are more expensive. I believe that weatherstripped wooden windows with storm windows installed are more efficient than new double pane windows, not to mention that they last longer than newer ones. It would take over a decade to recoupe the savings on new windows as well.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:52 PM   #5
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Or install more efficient replacement windows and not need the strorms at all.
sure, not "need" them. but they do help. even a super thin piece of plastic helps.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:13 PM   #6
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Or install more efficient replacement windows and not need the storms at all.
Storms are always good to have. We have Double pane windows, but still close the storms, to help create a air pocket, to help also keep out convection transfer into the house. The storms work great for both heating & cooling, because they help to keep the house warm in the Winter, and cool in the Summer.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:28 PM   #7
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Testing (I typed out a couple replies and couldn't post them and lost them so am testing first this time)
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:36 PM   #8
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I guess now it's working.
Anyway, thanks for the replys. To answer a few questions....I do have single pane, wooden sash, double hung windows with 2-track storm windows.

Don't want to put in new windows at this time and it's probably not cost worthy to install new storm windows on these 35 year old windows even though windows are good. Glazing and sash are ok.

So trying to be a true DIYER, I'm going to try and replace the channel tracks. The storm window wooden frames are attached by 2 interior latches and can be removed easily. In fact I have one out and laying on my workbench right now (my workbench surface is 4'x8' so have plenty of room).

I was mulling around a few ideas and went down to the local home center store and checked out some materials. Might have come up with something. I think tomorrow I will do some "hands on" experimenting. I might even do some tonight.

I would think that this would be a common problem on these older "plastic" track channel storm windows, and there's got to be a way to fix, other than new windows.

Looks like this is a good web site...glad I found it.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:39 PM   #9
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You are going to be best to do a room at a time, unless you can get a break on doing all of the windows in the home, with retro-fit windows, that fit within the existing frames. What part of Wisconsin do you live in?
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Fins59 View Post
I guess now it's working.
Anyway, thanks for the replys. To answer a few questions....I do have single pane, wooden sash, double hung windows with 2-track storm windows.

Don't want to put in new windows at this time and it's probably not cost worthy to install new storm windows on these 35 year old windows even though windows are good. Glazing and sash are ok.

So trying to be a true DIYER, I'm going to try and replace the channel tracks. The storm window wooden frames are attached by 2 interior latches and can be removed easily. In fact I have one out and laying on my workbench right now (my workbench surface is 4'x8' so have plenty of room).

I was mulling around a few ideas and went down to the local home center store and checked out some materials. Might have come up with something. I think tomorrow I will do some "hands on" experimenting. I might even do some tonight.

I would think that this would be a common problem on these older "plastic" track channel storm windows, and there's got to be a way to fix, other than new windows.

Looks like this is a good web site...glad I found it.
New storm windows can be put over any wooden windows. Just because they are 35 years old doesn't mean they aren't worth new storms. I have seen how many times where people with 100 plus year old windows installed new storms to prolong the old windows' life. Most higher quality storm windows are constructed of solid aluminum, including the tracks, and they don't develop the issue you are having. I have never heard of people installing new tracks instead of replacing old storm windows, but if that's what you want to do, more power to you! I would suggest trying to replace the old weatherstripping on the storms if you intend on keeping them, especially around the moveable pane. This way, they will be more efficient and less drafty. Keep us informed on how it goes, and what route you take.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:47 AM   #11
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I believe that weatherstripped wooden windows with storm windows installed are more efficient than new double pane windows, not to mention that they last longer than newer ones.
A good quality replacement window with all of today's common options (low e, double or triple pane glass, etc) will outperform and old single pane/storm combo 10 out of 10 times. What is a valid concern though is whether or not the added cost justifies the difference in performance. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. New exterior storms are certainly a viable option when the prime window unit is still in good shape.

Regarding a point made earlier about storms over insulated glass in the summer, this can be a sketchy area, particularly when low-e coatings are involved. Excessive heat build up can occur and lead to various problems, not the least of which is voiding the warranty on newer windows... At the very least, the storm should be vented at the top.

Fins, sounds like you are in a place where you don't have new windows in the budget, and you existing windows are not in good enough shape to invest in new storms. If that is the case, it sounds like you are on the right track (no pun intended) to prolong these for a little bit longer. Kudos to you if you have already found something, otherwise I'd recommend taking one of the units to a local glass shop (not a window company) and see what they have.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Fins59 View Post
I do have single pane, wooden sash, double hung windows with 2-track storm windows. .. Don't want to put in new windows at this time and it's probably not cost worthy to install new storm windows

So trying to be a true DIYER, I'm going to try and replace the channel tracks.
OK... Have you found a source for the track?
Even the best DIY'er will needs parts to work with sometimes.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:46 PM   #13
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Everyone that posted here ought to read this page. Don't mean to sound like a living advertisement, but it's very informative. Check it out!

http://oldhouseguy.com/windows.php
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:35 PM   #14
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Just go out and buy some new storm windows. There not big money. I have storm windows on my house. I installed new ones about 5 years ago.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:01 PM   #15
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You are going to be best to do a room at a time, unless you can get a break on doing all of the windows in the home, with retro-fit windows, that fit within the existing frames. What part of Wisconsin do you live in?
gregzoll - I live in the Wausau area, center of state, a little bit north.

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