Window Muntins: What Would You Do?

Say you own an old house with 80-year-old, original windows. They're made up of divided lights, with eight panes per sash in white-painted, double-hung windows. They're drafty and ill-fitting, with some missing storm windows. A few are difficult to operate or are even painted shut!

You're considering a replacement to improve the energy efficiency of the home and provide better operability. Each of the following options is about 25% less expensive than the next:

  • Replacing in wood with simulated divided lights is most expensive.
  • Next is replacing in fiberglass (better insulation and durability with the heft and look of painted wood) with simulated divided lights.
  • Alternatively, you could forego the simulated divided lights in either ("divided lights" in double-paned replacement windows are faking the look, anyway, and that's a little tough to come to terms with!).
  • The final alternative is to keep the original windows, restoring them as best you can to operate properly and putting on the storm windows each season for the best efficiency you can eek out of them.

Obviously, I'm deliberating on what to do in my own case. I have a hunch as to a direction, but am really curious as to what Apartment Therapy readers would do, namely with regard to keeping a divided light look or losing it. The Apartment Therapy reader community has impeccable taste and I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Image: Country Living