About doors and windows

These architectural elements give your property’s façade its character. To conserve its harmony, their style and proportions must be maintained or, if this is no longer possible, they must be reproduced in an identical fashion. They are paramount aesthetic elements.

Generally speaking, you must keep in mind that it is less costly to repair a few doors and windows than to replace all of them. However, you will then have to find an artisan or a skilled and reliable carpenter.

They are, nonetheless, architecture

Windows play an important aesthetic role. Though architects were rarely directly involved in low-cost housing construction, these heritage buildings were nevertheless often built using plans prepared by an architect or experienced artisan. These old façades are therefore genuine architecture.

A façade has, primarily, harmonious proportions between its solid wall parts and its openings (i.e. doors and windows) as well as an appropriate style of windows (see picture). An opening designed for a guillotine window will lose its look if a window with a large fixed pane and small slides at the bottom is installed. Furthermore, a change of window style will reduce the glass portion of the new opening, given that the original window frame was set in the wall behind the masonry while the new frame will be inserted in the existing frame.

When replacing a window, show respect for the façade’s original character. You may get your inspiration from the different window styles on neighbouring buildings if they are uniform and appear to be original, or consult the documents available on the subject in your borough office.

Where doors are concerned, you will notice that turn-of-the-century houses often have entrance doors with a rather generous glass pane. Remember that most doors can be repaired or fitted with new weather stripping. The cost of this work will, most of the time, be less than the cost of new doors.

In addition, original doors always have a glass portion on top (called a transom) which you must preserve in order to respect the harmony of your façade and to enjoy daylight in your hallway. If you have a double entryway door on the ground floor that needs to be replaced, choose a similar model rather than a larger door with a sidelight that will spoil your entrance’s appearance.