Old windows are great for creating a look on your home project or art project. Whether you want to build custom shelves, a greenhouse, or use them as a window, they can really make your work standout. Where do you find old windows though? In the article below I will discuss several places you can find them and share my experience with the window salvage yards near me.
Window Salvage Yards Near Me
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Operations of Window Salvage Yards
Window salvages fall under the umbrella term of architectural salvage or home salvage. Many of these salvages have large sections dedicated to old windows. These businesses serve the recycling industry as the repurpose old building materials and decor and sell them for reuse.
Some salvages are not for profit, but in my experience with the window salvage yards near me, they are for profit businesses. They operate a bit like thrift stores, where they take in used goods and then resell them. The inventory comes from various sources like public donations, construction sites, auctions, etc. Some may even obtain their inventory by providing a haul away service for your junk.
These businesses interact with customers via a home salvage store, website, or both. Some will collect old windows and post them on Ebay and in their store. There goal like any business is to get their products cheap and sell them for a profit. Some may buy old windows, but they likely will not offer a lot of money for them.
What Kind of Windows Can You Find?
You can find a variety of windows. At the window salvage yards near me they have a variety of old windows from stained glass from churches, old Victorian, barn, double hung, single hung, rambler style, antique glass, sash, beveled, leaded and stained or patterned.
You can even find newer window constructions and fitments that come from de-constructed office buildings, places that went out of business, people who moved, and people who junked new stuff for various reasons. Most of the older antique stuff may come from haul away, scavenging and auctions.
Finding What You Need…
Searching around at a window salvage is actually fun and inspiring if you aren’t sure what you are looking for. If you do however know what you want, walking around these places for the perfect piece is time consuming. I find it best to use a combination of the internet and calling a salvage. If you call and ask for what you need and they don;t have it many places will suggest an alternative place to try.
Alternatives to a Window Salvage Yard
If you don’t have a window salvage yard in your area, here are places that you can look for second hand windows:
- Home Salvage Yards
- Antique Shops
- Curb before garbage pickup (really good in an old neighborhood)
- Construction Sites
- Garage Sales
- Window and Glass Replacement Businesses
- Craigslist and Ebay
- Facebook Garage Sales Pages
Why Buy Salvage Windows?
Salvage windows can be beautiful when refurbished or restored. They can also set off the look of a project like if you turned them into book shelves.
One of the coolest things about these old items is that stationary antique windows were made in many shapes, sizes, and designs. Windows in old architecture didn’t always serve a functional purpose, they served an aesthetic purpose. These are windows like an arch window, a half circle panned window, or a window where the panes create a double arch inside the frame. Even cooler is that you can find beautiful stained glass, colored or beveled pieces.
I also love the way these old pieces create conversations. You can find windows that are not manufactured anymore and the piece may even have a story about where it came from.
Another great reason to buy them is of course to promote sustainability. You are essentially diverting these pieces from the landfill and supporting recycle and reuse.
What to Be Aware of Before You Buy Salvage Windows
Quality of the piece is the first thing to be aware of. Perhaps you are buying a wood frame window from a house that had a termite infestation. Other concerns could be lead in the paint, which you would want to be aware of before you strip any paint.
My best advice is to thoroughly inspect any piece before you purchase it and ask questions about it’s origin. Buying from a window salvage is not like buying new, there are no guarantees or warranties on what you purchase. Everything you get is sold “as is”.
If you are buying old windows for a specific project, now your budget up front. Repairs will add to your total cost, so keep that in mind when you pay for the window. If you are visiting one of these places you need to go in with a plan. If not you buy every amazing piece and then go home and realize none of them are what you need.
Despite these being “old” second hand pieces, you may get surprised, by what some of them cost. The condition, size, age, and window type all will impact price. You may even find the origin impacts price. For example imagine what an old stained glass window from the Vatican might sell for.
All of those factors are really important to the pricing. You can find old wood windows for $20 and antique stained glass window for $2000. Alot of the run of the mill stuff like a vintage farmhouse, vintage steel, or 6 pane from a old textile mill will run you between $90 and $150.
Window Salvage Yards Near Me Conclusion
Window salvage yards are great for finding pieces you can’t get anywhere else. As we discussed above though they aren’t your only option. There are literally thousands of uses for old windows in art projects and each one of them promotes sustainability. No matter what though if you are in the market for them, go shopping with a plan. You can find so many amazing pieces and you will be tempted to purchase them all. This is what I have learned from the window salvage yards near me.