You’ve decided to get rid of your old windows. Great! You’re about to realize all the benefits of window replacement.
But wait! Now you’re left with the question: How do you actually get rid of your old windows?
If you’re ditching original windows from a house built before 1978, your options may be limited. That’s the year lead-based paint was banned. The older the home, the higher the probability that you could have lead-based paint. According to the EPA, lead-based paint is a health hazard when it’s deteriorating or found on “surfaces that get a lot of wear-and-tear, such as windows and window sills.” Old, painted windows that fall under this category should be removed and properly disposed of by a lead-safe certified professional.
Homeowners with houses built after 1978 have more options. Lead-based paint was banned at that point. Which means you can recycle or reuse your old windows in other ways.
5 ideas to give your old windows new life
1. Recycle your old windows.
Window replacement typically includes hauling away the old windows. Ask your window installer if they cover this and how they dispose of windows. They may already have a window recycling partner. Many deconstruction services will also recycle your old windows or try to re-sell them to avoid the landfill.
2. Give them away.
Those old windows may no longer be welcome in your home. But they might be a welcome addition in someone else’s. Habitat for Humanity ReStores take donations of old windows and other construction waste. The materials are then sold to home improvers for a fraction of the retail price.
ReStores also offer pickup for building materials so you may not have to worry about hauling away your windows. Contact your local store for information about recycling and find out if pickup is available in your area.
3. Craft old windows into vintage decor.
Old windows have vintage charm. While they may no longer meet your standards for energy efficiency or functionality, they can still have a place in your home — as decorations.
Windows and frames make for excellent craft projects. Tap into your creativity and imagination to design your own salvaged decor. Here are some ideas to repurpose your old windows:
- Hang an old window on a bare wall as stylish wall art.
- Replace the glass with a mirror to make a window frame mirror.
- Mount a thick piece of wood to the frame for a window display shelf.
- Construct a shallow, open-front box to fit inside your window to create a shadow box.
- Frame fabric, wallpaper or artwork to create a new piece of wall or floor art.
- Attach hooks or hardware to turn your old window into a coat rack.
- Fit photos inside a window with divided panes of glass for a collage-style picture frame.
- Place a large window or combination of windows above your bed as a wall-mounted headboard.
4. Make a table.
Source: Bob Vila
With the smooth, flat surface of the glass, rectangular shape, and sturdy frame, you have the ingredients for a beautiful glass top table. Simply attach some legs for stability. For a more interesting look, use an old special shape window. The unique style and character it once added to your walls will transfer to the design of your interior or exterior space.
5. Create a garden view.
Source: This Old House
Old windows make great outdoor decorations as well. Hang them or display them at artistic angles to add shape and structure to your garden. Put on a fresh coat of bright-colored paint to make your window pop amongst the greenery. Or mute it down and let flowers provide that pop of color.
If you’re a greenthumb with a DIY streak, take the remains of your whole home window replacement and build a greenhouse.
Old windows have lasting appeal — far beyond their original purpose and use. Through recycling, donation and endless design options, you can give your old windows new life in your own home or a new one.