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Drafty windows in a 38 year old home.

To stop wind infiltration with these 38 year old windows, can I put 0.125 plexiglass over the outside of the windows? Is 0.125 thick enough? I wanted to still see through the windows so would a medium grey color be suitable? How would I attach them if they were not ever to be removed? Would attaching them with liquid nails be OK?

  • Caulking the windows with a good silicone caulk will help tremendously! Inside and out. The wind will come through the trim on the outside of the window and that may be where a lot of your air is coming from (I have old windows too). In the winter I use the shrink plastic kit and it is amazing how much air that stops. They do make storm windows and you should ask someone at Home Depot or Lowes (or any home store) about costs. Plexiglass is probably more expensive than just buying the set up to add storm windows. But caulking is most important. And liquid nails, in my opinion, is not the best.

  • Jennifer G
    Jennifer G Clifton, CO
    on Jan 28, 2014

    I too use the shrink plastic kit on my garage window and it works really well (it's crystal clear and is inexpensive). Once it warms up again, I can remove the film easily with no damage to the interior trim. I agree with C Renee that the first step is to caulk the interior (and exterior if it's not freezing temps where you are). In my last house I used SIX tubes of caulking to close up the gaps in all the windows. They had never been properly sealed and the drafts actually moved the drapes when it was windy outside! Once they were all done, the difference was amazing. If you have single pane glass, I've found insulated curtains or drapes help keep the cold air from invading the room. Also, if you mount anything to your windows with Liquid Nails, you may NEVER get that stuff back off without doing damage to your trim. Use it with caution.

  • MLKlein
    MLKlein College Station, TX
    on Jan 28, 2014

    Check out Magnetite windows covers. They use plexiglass and magnetic strips. I believe you can buy similar kits. There isn't a provider locally for me and its important to get measurements right so I haven't done my windows yet.

  • Erin@UpcycledUgly
    Erin@UpcycledUgly Mc Kinney, TX
    on Jan 28, 2014

    Hi Don- Shrink plastic works but isn't super aesthetically pleasing (not to mention, it always peels paint on our trim). My husband and I built storm windows from 1x3s and plexiglass and it has helped tremendously. I have seen other plexiglass renditions in our neighborhood-- one trimmed out with the same metal trim as the "build a screen" kits you can buy from the hardware store. I've also seen them caulked in (probably with little nails for extra support). You've probably got this part, but if we wrote a little post on cutting plexiglass: http://upcycledugly.com/diy-easy-guide-cutting-plexiglass/ There's also a two part series on storm windows if you really want to get into it. Best of luck!!

  • Cindy Butler Dorthy
    Cindy Butler Dorthy Timberlake, NC
    on Jan 28, 2014

    Our house is 160 yrs. old. When we first moved in there wasn't money to do window replacements, so we went with the plexi on the inside. We used self tapping screws and foam weatherstrip around the perimeter. After caulking ALL the gaps and cracks this worked for 12 yrs. before we could do replacements.

  • Don, yes you can but I suggest you use the type of window that MlKlein is talking about. Ideally the plastic needs to be on the inside not on outside. Main reason is dust and scratches. Also the plastic material does swell and shrink a lot with the weather. The resulting issue is the outside temps swing a lot causing the plastic to swell and buckle. Being inside they tend to stay flat.

  • Don
    Don Conroe, TX
    on Jan 28, 2014

    Thanks for a good answer. This will help a lot.

  • Buster Evans
    Buster Evans Hixson, TN
    on Jan 29, 2014

    I was going to tell you the same thing Jennifer G said.. the clear window kit sold at wal mart and most any home improvement store, all you do is put the double stick tape around the indside of the window, then put the clear plastic on and cut to fit.. make it a little bigger than the window.. then with a hair dryer just heat the plastic up and it tightens up just like a pane of glass and is clear to see through.. NO air is coming in now! works great is comparably inexpensive and can be removed during warm weather.

  • TR Window Services
    TR Window Services
    on Jan 29, 2014

    Is curb appeal a concern? Might I suggest new windows? Improve the look and the energy efficiency of your home in doing so. Band aids for old leaky windows are just that...prolonging the inevitable. Just a suggestion. I know budget can be an issue. -Cheers

  • Chris J
    Chris J Grand Rapids, MI
    on Aug 18, 2015

    Our house is 100 years old and has 3 single pane removeable windows across the front. We went to Home Depot and bought a full-sized sheet of plexiglass for our windows. We measured and the guy cut them for us to measurements. We used a 1/16" or 1/8" drill bit and drilled holes. we then used screws to hold them on. Worked great. The important windows we used plexiglass, the rest of them we used the shrink plastic kits that you can get at Wal-Mart etc. Both ways worked great. A word of warning...If you have cats that like to sit in the windows, be careful of what windows you use plastic on. Our cats destroyed the plastic in one of them trying to get to the windowsill.

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