You’ve made the choice to get rid of your old windows and join the club of homeowners who are securing the benefits of replacement windows. Congrats! You’re going to love them. Like many that came before you, you’re probably wondering – what happens to my old windows?

Great question! Depending on the age of your home, the answer varies. 

IF YOUR HOME WAS BUILT BEFORE 1978

According to The Department of Health, about 75% of homes built prior to 1978 contain some lead-based paint.

Lead in your home is hazardous in many ways. It is a vastly toxic metal. Lead can cause many health problems. It can cause learning disabilities, and damage to vital organs like your kidneys, brain, and central nervous system. Lead can be absorbed into the body through ingestion and inhalation.

You want to test for lead in your home

There are two kits that are commonly available and EPA approved. Klean- Strip D-Lead Paint test kit and 3M Lead Check Swabs. Both kits use color changing technology to let you easily detect if there is lead in your paint.

Why was lead-based paint used if it is harmful?

Lead dates back way before the Romans! Lead as harmful as it is, was used in lots of everyday things like makeup, dishes, toys, and, of course, the paint in your home.

Lead was an additive to paint to help create color. It also shortened the time it took paint to dry, as well as make the paint more durable. Therefore, it made sense to use it in homes. However, it was not widely known before the late 70's that lead paint was dangerous. 

EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm

Some providers offering replacement windows are lead-safe certified, like Improveit Home Remodeling. This means we use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved educational providers and follow strict lead-safe work practices. Some of the things our EPA-approved installers will do to help keep you safe during your window replacement project are: minimizing dust, containing the work area, cleaning up thoroughly, and collecting all paint chips and dust in a double-lined plastic trash bag for disposal.

The EPA does not consider the debris and waste from residential renovations to be hazardous waste. Prior to ImproveIt! disposing of your windows, they prepare and transport the material carefully to prevent spreading lead dust and paint chips by:

·  Using plastic sheeting or bags to gather waste. Seal the bag tightly with duct tape.

·  Avoiding carrying waste through unprotected living areas.

·  Storing waste in a secure container or covered dumpster until it is taken away

·  We will not transport wasted in an open truck bed to prevent the accidental spread of lead paint chips and dust.

You can find us on the EPA certified renovation firm list. Our certification number is NAT-21766-2

IF YOUR HOME WAS BUILT AFTER 1978

You want to recycle your window glass

Recycling companies have deemed window glass as unfit to recycle. Here's why:

Window glass contains many more materials than regular glass that cannot be recycled like a regular glass bottle. The glass that makes up most bottles we use is purposefully made to be melted down and reused again. The many subsets of window glass category make it difficult to identify. Breaking down windows to properly recycle them can also be very labor intensive. Unfortunately, you cannot recycle your glass, but you have more options to give your old windows another life after they leave your home and keep them away from a landfill.

Donate

Ask your installer if your windows are in shape to donate to Habitat for Humanity. Habitat just asks that there are no holes or cracks in your windows and that they are clean.

If you are looking into this option find your local habitat restore.

Another option for donations is the Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA). They are a “501 c3 non-profit educational and research organization whose mission is to advance the recovery, reuse, and recycling of building materials.” You can learn more about them here.

Re-purpose Old Windows Projects

There are many stylish and easy do it your self-projects online to give your windows another chance and update your space.

repurpose old windows

Turn your old windows into a beautiful shabby chic coffee table. The glass makes an easy to clean surface that doesn’t need coasters. The wood adds a rustic charm that would fit well in any home

Repurpose old windows

Use your windows to create a “privacy” wall on your front porch. This is a great way to add definition to your outdoor space. Your old windows will create that cozy feel while still letting in sunlight.

Repurpose old windows

If you have a green thumb, use your windows to make a whimsical greenhouse. Give your plants a magical new home. This project will make your landscape anyone’s dream.  

Gallery walls are the hottest trend in interior design right now. This project is so easy you could do it in a weekend. Use your old window frames to add dimension to your open wall. The linear look from the frames can give any home a vintage, yet modern, décor look. Customize your gallery wall by adding photos or a seasonal wreath.

Just because you’re in with the new replacement windows doesn’t mean you have to be out with the old ones. Donating and upcycling are creative ways to give your old windows new life.  Need more inspiration? Our Pinterest page is full of ideas to upcycle old windows & doors for your home. Tag us on Facebook with the projects you’ve tried!