Before & After 3: The Jalousies Must Go

Years ago, I restored my first windows, a couple of dining room windows on my own home which had been changed from wood double-hungs to glass louvers or jalousie windows.

Since then, I’ve seen my share of neglected wood windows and can almost understand why midcentury homeowners fell for the louver salesman’s pitch. After 30 or more years, their old windows may have been painted shut, had broken ropes or needed reglazing. Plus, these new windows were made of jet-age materials like aluminum and stainless steel (with their siren song of “maintenance free”)! Heck, with these new windows, maybe the old bungalow could look a a bit like those fashionable new modernist homes. In general though, the pitch would have been the same as the one made by today’s vinyl window installers.

After living with their new windows for a little while though, the homeowners’ enthusiasm must have faded quickly. While Easterners still smirk at Southern California’s seasons, it does get cool on occasion and anyone who has lived with louvers knows knows that they do a lousy job of keeping that cool weather out. Curtains will still blow in the breeze next to a closed jalousie.

Replacing jalousies with original style wood sash is among my favorite window projects. The change is so dramatic and the strong feeling of righting an old wrong is very fulfilling for me and for the homeowner.

Here are a few before & after photos of a jalousie removal project which involved the reinstallation of many casement and double-hung sash, thoughtfully stored in the home’s attic decades ago. In just a couple of day’s work, I was able to restore a huge part of this home’s original appearance while dramatically reducing the street noise and cold drafts associated with this failed branch of window evolution.

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