Our new house (closing on Oct 15th) was built at the turn of the century-1899 to be exact. Although there have been significant updates done-attic changed to a master bedroom, kitchen updated etc-there are a few, shall we say challenges.
The biggest challenge is, as in most old houses, insulation. There is no blown in insulation (although they did put that Tyvek house wrap stuff on when they replaced the siding a few years ago) and out of 30 windows in the house, only 8 are replacement windows. The rest are the old single pane windows, with storm windows for the outside.
We decided to attack the windows first in terms of insulation-then next year we will see about blowing insulation in.
#1-We don’t know exactly how we want to decorate all the rooms yet. We are going to take our time and let some of them sort of evolve as we acquire things. So choosing drapes would be difficult. The cellular shades can be purchased in a neutral color, and hung on the interior of the window frame, leaving all the beautiful woodwork showing and giving the option of adding any style of drapes over the top later
#2-The styles of insulated drapes available is somewhat limited-plus I couldn’t find any that gave an actual R-rating. The cellular blinds are, as already stated, neutral. Plus there is a stated R-rating.
#3-Sewing drapes would cut down on the cost and address the availability/style issue-but would take time, and frankly with 2 kiddos, moving, setting up house etc, I don’t have any idea when I’d be able to get around to it. Cellular blinds will have to be installed, but installing 30 cellular blinds will take a lot less time than sewing 30 draperies.
The cost of the drapes wasn’t really the main issue-either option is pretty expensive. The expense is warranted in our case since we have some money saved for updating (ie won’t be incurring new debt for it), and the blinds will actually save us money in the long run.
Now just because I’m buying something expensive doesn’t mean I won’t be frugal about it! I know that this time of the year has several “Home” sales at JC Penney and such-and I wanted to be able to take advantage of sales that were held prior to our taking possession. So when I was in the house for the open house, I measured the height* and width of 27 of the windows (I knew that the 3 windows upstairs in the renovated master bedroom were double pane insulated windows). Then I made a spreadsheet of all the information.** On the top I listed my name, phone number and what the spreadsheet was for-Double Cell Blinds***. I was able to take this spreadsheet to several stores and have them quickly and easily come up with an estimate for me-I could have even called and then faxed it in to save myself even more time. The lady at JC Penney was very impressed with the whole thing 🙂
JC Penney and Lowes were both running sales. JC Penney is doing their window sale and the Bali Double Cellular Blinds were on sale-%65 off! Lowes has all their Bali products on sale 15% off. Note that this is on custom ordered blinds-unfortunately due to the age of the house, almost none of the windows are any kind of standard size that you could buy stock (premade and precut) blinds for in the store. Stock blinds are, of course, cheaper. Also I would be able to buy them more readily online.
JC Penney Total, with 65% off regular price=$3,318.19
Lowes Total, with 15% off regular price=$2,929.95
I would have hated to see what those JC Penney ones cost at full price. Geez!
And the extra bonus-unlike JC Penney, the custom ordered blinds at Lowes are returnable! So if I measured incorrectly somehow I can get my money back. Granted, I’d have to buy a replacement at full price, but that’s better than being stuck with a blind that doesn’t fit and having to pay for a replacement at full price. This is very reassuring, since I can’t get back into the house to measure the windows again, and the sale will be over 15 days before we close and get the keys. . .
Now, to mitigate the cost even further, Yankee Bill and I discussed if there were any windows that we could forgo the cellular blinds on. We decided to skip the front door-although it is glass panes on the exterior and interior doors, there really isn’t a nice way to mount the cellular blinds-we’ll do a thermal curtain on that one. Ditto for the back door, which also has a storm door. All 4 windows in the kitchen are replacement windows so those will be taken off the list. Two of the windows in the living room were replaced at some point with replacement windows. In that particular room we’d like to keep a bit of uniformity in looks-so we will buy the single cell blinds for those two windows to keep the look the same.
All of these should bring the cost down by $544.84, bringing the total to $2385.11. Then if I apply for a Lowes credit card, I get another 10% off my entire purchase, that comes to $238.51 (and I’ll buy another other painting/wallpaper stripping, caulking, woodhole filling supplies we need at the same time to get the 10% off and no interest grace period) . Grand total? $2,146.60.
Now, that’s not a small chunk of change by any means-but the current occupants spent $3,200 on fuel oil last year-and they had nothing but thin, unlined drapes on the windows. If we cut the cost of heating in half, then in 2 years we will have amortized the purchase of the cellular blinds, which should last us for the rest of our time in the house.
Obviously there are lots of folks out there who cannot afford to make a large purchase like this-so next time I’ll talk about other, more frugal ways to keep your heat from pouring out your windows.
*In old houses, where the windows may not be exactly square, or the bottom frames may be “settled” more on one side than the other it is safest to add about an inch to your height. Just in case. . .
**I made the following columns “Width, Height, number, cost, total, rooms”. The first two are self explanatory. Number was the number of this size window their were-I just put an “i” in that column each time I came across that measurement in my notes, then counted up the number of “i”s at the end. The rooms column is important so that when you actually receive your blinds you remember which sizes go where. When I was done I sorted the spreadsheet by Width and Height-so they were all in a nice order. The cost and total columns were blank. Then I hid the “rooms” column before I printed it out-that was info for me, not the stores.
***Blinds come in single, double or triple cell, as well as blackout. The more cells, the better the insulation. We decided to get double cell-it gets cold in NY in the winter!