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Our Philosophy

Our Philosophy

Sustainability First

Wood, glass, putty, and paint. Carpenters have used these simple, locally-available materials for hundreds of years to create beautiful, durable windows that can be repaired almost indefinitely. With the addition of attractive secondary storm glazing, and some bronze weatherstripping, vintage windows can be virtually as energy-efficient as modern dual-pane windows and will last far longer. Rigorous academic studies prove it.

We use old-fashioned craftsmanship combined with modern know-how and production techniques to efficiently solve problems unique to Chicago’s vintage buildings. Whether you still have some or all of your original windows, or you have modern replacements that are already failing, we can provide you a range of options. As experienced carpenters, we can duplicate wood parts, fit out-of-square conditions, and visualize solutions. Our fully-equipped shop in Logan Square is an important part of those capabilities.

We strive to incorporate environmentally-friendly techniques into our methods of work. For example, we use LEED-certified sealants, and low-VOC paints. We recycle containers and packaging. We source materials locally, whenever possible. The old-fashioned, durable bronze weatherstripping, and the traditional glazing putty we use are both still made right here in Chicago, providing good jobs in our own city.

All the wood we use in our shop for storm and screen sash is either old-growth pine, reclaimed from old buildings torn down in Chicago, or naturally rot-resistant Cypress cut from domestic forests, using sustainable harvesting methods, and is mostly produced by small family-owned sawmills. We do not use wood from South American rain forests, even though it is widely sold in Chicago.

We believe strongly in maximizing energy-efficiency whenever possible. That’s why we use low-e glass in our storm windows. Glass with a low-e coating provides drastic increases in energy efficiency for minimal additional cost when compared to plain window glass. We carefully upgrade exterior details like calking and weatherstripping to minimize air infiltration.

When new windows are the best option, we use only Marvin wood, or clad-wood windows, also with low-e glass. We never install vinyl windows, due to the toxic effects of vinyl manufacturing, and the low quality and low durability of typical vinyl windows.

We support the concept of Landmark Districts, and we never remove or alter the original detailing found on vintage building exteriors. We are familiar with Landmark requirements, and work with Landmark Departments, believing that buildings that maintain their architectural integrity are more valuable in the long run.

Most of these approaches add surprisingly little to the immediate cost of a project, and are far cheaper in the long run. They do require some extra knowledge, care, and thought. But we believe it’s worth it.