Know what’s better than watching This Old House restore and renovate gorgeous old homes for modern day living? Being a part of that process, since buying an old house can be life-changing!
We’re excited to say Indow is part of another This Old House renovation, this time in Charleston, South Carolina for the show’s 39th season. It’s the “Single House” and we aired on the final episode, the “Singular Single House.”
Indow appeared on an episode of the Belmont Victorian in Belmont, Massachusetts in 2016.
The Charleston house is a sturdy brick house built in 1847 in the Ansonborough neighborhood, not far from restaurants and shops. Known as a single house, it’s a style rooted in Charleston that makes best use of the city’s long, narrow lots.
This Old House worked with local contractors and architects and the American College of the Building Arts to renovate the house, which hadn’t had much work done on it in 60 years. Aspects of it revealed chapters in American history. For instance, it had a separate building in the back where slaves once cooked and did laundry in two large fireplaces. This structure was opened up and connected to the rest of the house to become a dining room with guest sleeping quarters.
The project involved building a table in this space from a 200-year-old cypress log that had lain for decades years at the bottom of the Edisto River, which was retrieved by a diver. Before the advent of air conditioning, people tried to build their homes to take advantage of prevailing breezes. Restoring the two long open-air porches, or piazzas, that run the full length of the house was a priority.
And then of course old homes come with old windows! They’re often the most beautiful part of a structure. But they’re also what make it so noisy. In the Single House, they were all super thin single-pane glass. The Board of Architectural Review in Charleston requires any new windows in the historic district to be replicas – in other words, the new windows would still have to have single-pane glass. While Kathleen and Scott Edwards had to replace some windows with replicas, they decided to keep most of the original windows and get Indow inserts, which are energy efficient and meet the historic district’s guidelines. They also wanted a tool for soundproofing old windows to reduce street noise. The soundproofing not only makes the home more comfortable, but it increases the likelihood the Edwards could sell the house should they choose to the in future.
Kristina Damschen, Director of Marketing for Indow, flew to Charleston to laser measure the windows and got to meet the Edwards and watch the This Old House crew do its thing.
The couple told her how happy they were with the way Indow acoustic grade inserts soundproofed their old windows from the noise on the streets. Their historic neighborhood in Charleston is particularly loud since it’s a vibrant district full of restaurants and shops.
The inserts airtight seal also blocked the drafts. This will help keep hot air out during the summer months. That’s essential: South Carolina has some of the nation’s highest electricity rates and the air conditioning needs to run eight months out of the year. A U.S. Department of Energy study found that Indow can help save an average of 20% on air conditioning and heating bills.
Why was Indow on two different episodes of This Old House? Because Indow and old windows were meant for each other! If you’re buying an old house and want to keep the original windows to preserve their home’s value, this is an innovative and affordable solution that makes them more energy efficient and reduces noise. And the genius of Indow inserts is they don’t damage old-growth wood windows with track or magnetic systems. They also fit every window opening perfectly, which isn’t easy. Houses settle over time, making the windows out-of-square.
Learn more by watching the episode! It’s a must for those buying or renovating an old home.
Preservation Maryland helps people figure out ways to care for and preserve their homes and buildings to make their communities stronger. Key to that mission? Convincing people to engage in old window repair to save their original windows.
“The quintessential element of so many buildings is the windows,” said Nick Redding, executive director of the nonprofit based in Baltimore. “People have challenges with windows and feel they’re inefficient and they come to us with questions. If we can give them a quick solution, it’s a win-win.”
Indow cares about old windows too. We want people to understand the value of original windows made of old-growth wood. It’s dense and rot-resistant and will last indefinitely if properly cared for. It’s also more sustainable to learn how to restore wood windows than throw them in a landfill. And keeping historic homes intact enriches our lives by informing us about the past.
Listen to Sam talk with Preservation Maryland on its Preserve Cast about how he created Indow windows to help preserve America’s awesome old windows.
For all those reasons, we’re happy to announce an innovative partnership with Preservation Maryland called Preservation Partnership, which we hope to replicate in the future with other nonprofits. Indow will give Preservation Maryland 10 percent of all sales after reaching a predetermined threshold. (Psst: If you live in the Maryland or DC area, visit this page.)
Indow dealer Bryan Pax of SuperGreen Solutions in Elkridge is helping preserve windows throughout Maryland from the Kensington city offices to the Homewood Museum at Johns Hopkins University to the Liriodendron Mansion in Bel Air.
Preservation Maryland plans to use the money for its Six to Fix program. That involves helping six projects annually with seed money and volunteer hours to set them on a path to preservation whether it’s saving a Civil War general’s headquarters or a crane that helped build World War II Liberty Ships.
“They’re critical to telling the story of Maryland,” said Redding. “They all need a lot of help. It’s our way to help threatened and endangered properties in the state.”
Preservation Maryland is known for creatively spreading the word about preservation. One new approach is based on the retail “pop-up” model. It involves traveling from Baltimore to far-flung towns and cities such as Oakland and everywhere in between, for a day to answer Marylanders’ questions from “How do I reglaze a casement window?” to “What’s the best way to tackle the sagging porch on my 1890 home?”
The nonprofit receives dozens of calls and emails weekly asking for advice and so it also regularly holds historic window workshops. Often, people just don’t know what tools are available to them.
“People think the simplest thing is to rip out their windows and put something vinyl in its place,” said Redding. “Then they learn there are other options and there are reasons you don’t want to do that: you can’t fix a vinyl window. Once it’s busted, it’s busted.”
In parts of Maryland, homes turnover quickly as people move in and out, and with that has come “an epidemic of window tear outs,” Redding said.
People are looking for a quick solution and they’re scared of lead paint and of having an inefficient home. Also, they don’t understand the pitfalls of ripping them out.
It’s good to understand the dangers of lead paint, but also to recognize it’s not radioactive waste and can be dealt with safely.
Redding himself has restored 30 windows on his own home. All kinds of solutions exist for safely removing lead paint including putting windows in steam boxes so the paint falls away for easy clean up.
“We have to be safe but we don’t have to be impractical and irrational about the dangers,” he said.
Redding is excited about the Preservation Partnership because it’s one more way his organization can diversify its funding streams. Nonprofits can’t just rely on donations. Many nonprofits rely on corporate sponsorships and the idea of new and different revenue streams can be scary.
“Some people are scared of the unknown,” he said. “If you’re scared of the unknown, you’ll never be able to grow past where you are. You have to spread your wings.”
Want to learn more about window repair? Check out our Window Hero Webinars for more information.
Nicole suffers migraines and headaches caused by light. So much so she installed custom blackout blinds on her bedroom window. Over the blinds, she placed heavy blackout curtains, velcroing together where they met in the middle, and nailing the curtains to her window frame to prevent light from getting in around the edges. Then she hung a regular decorative curtain over all that.
Still, she could see light coming through.
Even at work where she practices law, she dimmed the light, removing all but two of the 12 light bulbs in a ceiling fixture in her office.
When she has a migraine, light bothers her and she doesn’t want anything touching her forehead or face like an eye mask.
“When I don’t have a headache, light is bothersome,” said Nicole. “When I have a headache, light is unbearable.”
It’s not fully understood why light makes migraines worse, said Kim Hutchinson, a neurologist at Oregon Health and Science University who works in the Sleep Disorders Program and the Headache Center. Blocking light doesn’t generally make migraines go away, but it removes a factor that can make it significantly worse.
“If you have migraines, it’s almost always worse with light,” said Hutchinson. “All migraines have a number of different triggers.”
A range of factors can trigger migraines from food to weather patterns to hormonal changes. Stress and sleep deprivation can also play a role. In certain cases, light can trigger them and so sometimes people will wear sunglasses all the time to reduce their exposure. A sensitivity to sound can also trigger a migraine or make an existing migraine worse.
Nearly one in four U.S. households has someone suffering from a migraine and 12 percent of the population suffers from migraines, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Also, research published in the journal Headache has found migraines and severe headaches disproportionately affect women, disadvantaged racial groups and the poor.
Often the first symptoms of an attack appear as migraine sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Alternately, those same things can be triggers, according to Andrew Charles in “The Evolution of a Migraine Attack“.
Nicole complained to a friend about her struggle to block all the light in her bedroom. After doing research, her friend directed her to Indow and she bought a custom-fit Sleep Panel for her window. The insert is opaque and blocks more than her blackout blinds and blackout curtain combined since it’s laser measured to fit precisely into the interior of her window frame. Because it’s edged in silicone compression tubing, she can easily pull it out of her window. Together, the Sleep Panel and her decorative curtain make the room completely dark. She posted on Facebook and reached out to Indow because she said, “I just want to help people – I know what it’s like.”
“If someone doesn’t have to suffer because they get to use this product, then I’m happy.”
Because noise can trigger a migraine or make it worse, it’s worth pointing out the Sleep Panel also blocks 50 percent of noise coming through a single-pane window. So it makes a room dark and quiet.
If you suffer migraines and they’re exacerbated by light and noise, consider trying Indow’s Sleep Panel to block all the light and 50 percent of the sound coming through your bedroom windows. Contact us today so we can help determine whether this is the right solution for your windows.
Original windows are about the best thing on an old house. And when they’ve been torn out and thrown in a landfill, and new ones put in, that house is never quite the same. That’s because many old windows were made from old-growth lumber hundreds of years old. It’s dense and rot resistant and can last a long time with proper wood window repair.
But the sad thing is, far too many people believe the window replacement industry when it says they should replace those windows in the name of energy efficiency.
Especially if they’re painted shut or loose and drafty, homeowners think, these have to go. Or a contractor unfamiliar with how to restore them says, these have to go.
May is Preservation Month. In honor of it, join us for our next free Window Hero Webinar on May 16 when Scott will review simple techniques for maintaining old windows and easy ways to weatherize them.
Scott is part of a thriving industry of craftspeople across this vast country who are experts in restoring old windows. At the Window Preservation Alliance, you’ll find many of them listed and hopefully someone who lives near you. They know how to put in new ropes and pulleys, reglaze and re-putty windows and replace rotted wood.
But sometimes the repairs and maintenance issues with old windows are things you can take care of yourself. That’s what our Window Hero Webinars are often about: demystifying old window repair. Join us!
Window Hero Webinar: Learn Old Window Repair to Celebrate Preservation Month. (Note that if you watch it live, your name will go in a drawing for one of 20 free copies Scott’s new book Old Windows In-Depth.)
When: Wednesday, May 16, 11 a.m. PT, 2 p.m. ET
Sign up here.
Acrylic opens up all kinds of possibilities. It’s lightweight, more transparent than glass and can be made into just about any shape imaginable. Which is why people with odd-shaped windows, from arched windows to those resembling batwings, have sought us out to make them interior storms.
When we bring a new dealer online, usually one of their first orders is from people with unusually-shaped windows. They didn’t think they were ever going to be able to block drafts on that funky little round window on the second-floor landing.
And then they found us.
We ask people to make a template by tracing their window onto paper. Tyvek is the best, because it’s strong and light still shows through. On occasion, people will trace their odd-shaped windows onto tissue paper, but that’s prone to ripping. We don’t always need a template. Every window is different – we just try to keep the process as simple as possible.
Here’s a picture of our Operations Manager Brianna, reviewing some window templates on our conference room floor.
After we trace the shape onto acrylic, we use a circular hand saw to cut it.
The circular saw cuts in small straight lines, kind of faceting it a little like a diamond. Then we sand that edge smooth, forming it into an arch or round, or the dips and peak of a window that resembles a fancy badge.
This is a big departure from most of the inserts we make. For normal rectangular window inserts, we input measurements into a software program that tells our Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machine how to cut the acrylic.
Also, for normal, rectangular window inserts, we use a rigid ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic carrier with a silicone edge. But that won’t work for shapes that dip, peak, half-round and full circle!
For custom-shaped funky windows, we have to use pure silicone tubing all around the edge, like we used to for all inserts in the old days (which was just a few years ago!) It bends and molds nicely to the edge of round window inserts.
As well as these window shapes:
It’s hard to find companies that make exterior or interior storms for odd-shaped windows. It’s labor-intensive to craft them of metal or wood, which makes them expensive. Plus, they’re hard to remove and put in.
“People are just generally surprised to find we do it at all,” said Brianna. “A lot of companies don’t. People tend to be surprised by how nicely they fit. They disappear into the frame.”
To see some great Indow customs, check out our Bowdoin case study.
Oh, and did we mention that these odd-shaped windows come in all our grade types, from Privacy to our UV-blocking Museum Grade? Check out our product pages to customize your order.
We’re happy to discuss your odd-shaped windows! Contact us here.
Window condensation is so. not. fun. First of all, there goes your view! And it’s not good for the windows or walls: all that moisture can lead to rot and problems with mold and mildew, as well as lift up paint and damage plaster. To address the problem of window condensation, it’s important to understand why it’s happening.
Window condensation forms when the interior surface temperature of your windows is at or below the dew point temperature of the surrounding air in your house. What’s the dew point? That’s when the air is no longer able to “contain” all the water vapor mixed with it. Some of that water vapor has to say “see ya”, so it condenses into liquid on the window pane.
Think of the air as a sponge holding water: when the temperature drops, that squeezes the sponge onto the interior surface of your window.
The inside and outside temperature, as well as the relative humidity of a space, determine whether your windows get foggy. As the air cools outside, it may cause the interior surface of your windows to fall beneath the dew point.
If all other conditions are equal, condensation will occur more quickly in a space that’s more humid. And all kinds of things increase the humidity of a home including breathing, pets, showers and plants to name a few.
Indow inserts are made of acrylic and press into the interior of your existing window frames. The silicone edging creates a near airtight seal so the moist interior air of your house can’t get to the glass window pane. The air in the cavity between the acrylic insert and your glass window also buffers the insert from the cold outside temperature
High-grade acrylic insulates better than glass: acrylic holds more energy and stays above the dew point more easily.
People with single-pane windows often experience more window condensation than people with double-pane windows, but it can happen to both types of windows. Indow inserts can help solve condensation on both single and double-pane windows. *
Here is a great picture a customers sent of a clear window with an Indow insert right next to a foggy, wet window without an insert:
And here’s a video our creative director did. Michael loves the inserts so much he actually came to work at Indow after buying them for his mid-century modern home in Portland. This video shows how the windows with inserts don’t steam up after a shower. Those without inserts get foggy!
We were recently inside a building with vinyl double-pane windows that had condensation between the panes. This was caused by a crack in the exterior pane that allowed moisture to get into the space between the two panes of glass:
If you have condensation between the glass panes on a double-pane window, then the seal is broken. There are people who specialize in trying to fix this particular problem. Often, though, the window must be replaced. Call your window manufacturer for advice.
*Indow window inserts will reduce or eliminate condensation in most cases, but not all. Sometimes structural issues can interfere with the ability of the inserts to solve the problem.
What should you do if the groundhog sees his shadow Friday and there’s six more weeks of winter?
Hiding is tempting, we know.
We have a better plan. Below are six actions you can take to seal out the cold and create a more energy efficient built environment to reduce your carbon footprint. Did you know residential and commercial buildings account for 40 percent of energy costs in the United States? Now that the U.S. has pulled out of the Paris climate accord, it’s more important than ever for individuals and businesses to do their part to make the buildings we live and work in energy efficient.
Nationally acclaimed blogger and DIY expert Mandi Gubler of Vintage Revivals could hear traffic noise coming through the century-old mercantile she’s turning into a home and office in a historic building renovation. It was way. too. loud.
As Mandi knows, noise can be a real problem. One of the building blocks of a comfortable home is quiet – so you can think. And no drafts – so you don’t shiver. And good design for everything inside it. Fortunately, Indow window inserts delivered all three for Mandi.
Thank goodness she discovered Indow window inserts! She made this nifty video to talk about why Indow Acoustic Grade inserts were the answer for her storefront windows.
Mandi doesn’t just know how to tear down walls and install flooring. She’s also got a eye for good design. She knows how to make a space sing. So when she turned to Indow inserts for the mercantile’s huge front windows and said they actually made the existing historic windows look better, we were really happy.
Happy holidays everyone! Who doesn’t love beautifully crafted old windows? And who doesn’t love to cut out snowflakes? Especially super pretty ones. So to bring those two things together, our creative director Michael made five paper snowflake designs for you to gussy up your windows for the holidays. You can download the templates below.
Is there a property with amazing old windows near you? Make some for those windows too! There is not a window in this country that won’t look more fun and festive with these snowflakes on the glass! One of them looks like a heart (see Ember in the picture at the left) and was designed by local Portland snowflake artist Pippa Arend who also works at P:ear, an incredible organization that mentors homeless youth.
We love what Pippa has to say about her art, “I am a flake. We all are. We have small, repeating patterns in our lives, things that when highlighted are funny, endearing, pathologic, and revealing.”
How very true.
We also love this holiday decoration because most people already own what it takes to make it: paper and scissors. And it’s easy to recycle and reuse.
Please send us photos of your windows and house decorated in snowflakes! (Send to [email protected]) We would love to post them.
Below are a set of the snowflake templates in color and black and white:
Enjoy this type of content? At Indow, preserving historic windows is very important to us. When not making snowflakes, we’re helping architects across the country make original windows energy efficient with our inserts – read about it here.
There are a heck of a lot of historic renovation/home renovation blogs out there but we’ll wager there aren’t any with as much heart as Mandi Gubler’s. For years now, Mandi has renovated and redecorated newer homes and chronicled the process in her blog Vintage Revivals for readers who love her unabashed enthusiasm.
Whether it’s finding just the right color of paint. Or just the right piece of furniture. Or why it’s important to make the front entryway stand out, she makes it fun:
“The entryway is currently rocking a Beatles piece of art and THE MOST AMAZING FRONT DOOR EVER.”
“ I mean this project will cost you $8. Booyah!”
But more recently she has done something different. She and her husband Court bought a 100-year-old mercantile in their town of Santa Clara, Utah. It had been a grocery store and a gas station and a post office. For a time, it was the last stop for gas and supplies on the way to California in their neck of the woods before I-15 in St. George went in.
It was old, far from perfect, but it had that something that you can’t find in a new house. The original windows were wavy, single-pane glass made by a glassblower and they needed attention. It had history, past lives and a sense of continuity and Mandi just new – immediately – that they needed to buy it. Even though her husband’s first reaction was “No way!” which, we should point out, is not an unusual reaction. People often shy away from historic renovation because they think it’s going to be too hard, or too expensive or not “new” enough in a culture that celebrates new.
The cool thing is that Mandi is showing how doable it is and why it’s worth the effort. She’s detailing every last turn of the screw for a reason: she wants people to know what they’re getting into with historic renovation so that they stick with it, because the payback is tremendous. She writes:
I just wanted to drop in a quick thanks for being so supportive of all of my nitty gritty detail sharing on the boring behind the scenes stuff. I know it’s not the funnest to talk about (can we get to the design stuff already?!!) But it’s really important for me to share that there are actual real life issues that we had to deal with and overcome. That way if you ever find yourself on this journey, you won’t be discouraged by the quirks and roadblocks that come from saving an old building. Because man alive are they worth saving. There is almost 100 years of history here and it’s safe to say that none of the previous owners thought “I shouldn’t sign this easement because in 20 years someone might want to buy it and rip out the parking lot and turn it into a yard.” and guess what? That’s ok.
And now she and Court are in the trenches turning this old building with a past into a home and office, bringing back to life something that had been so important to this town. And Indow is happy to be helping! The Merc is on a busy road, the noise of which goes right through The Merc’s single-pane windows. Mandi knew right away the windows were key to the spaces character and so she wasn’t about to remove that wavy glass.
So she’s using Indow Acoustic Grade inserts and keeping the windows intact!
Learn how they fit into the journey of reinvigorating the Merc. Please join us Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. PST for a Facebook Live Q & A with none other than Mandi herself.