Alternatives to Glass Block Windows & Other Dated Home Features

There are many gorgeous historic homes in Wisconsin. Some are centenarians, while others were built during the 1940s and 1950s during the post-War baby boom. Many of these homes have stunning features—stained glass, built-in cabinetry, rounded doors, and other architectural touches that people adore.

But then there are less-historic but still older homes that might have some not-so-attractive architectural features. There was another housing boom in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in Wisconsin suburbs. Many folks moved into split levels, ranches, and other dwellings without the craftsman touches.

Yes, we’re talking about features like old aluminum siding, glass block windows, stucco, and cheaper early-vinyl windows and doors.

An outdated glass block window with blue, yellow, and clear glass bricks.

Getting Your Home Up-to-Date on the Outside

Even if you live in one of the beautiful historic homes in Milwaukee or the surrounding area, chances are there are at least a few features that could use some upgrading. Yes, many of these early homes’ Arts & Crafts style features are charming and beautiful, but they show signs of wear and tear after decades of use.

Fortunately, you can make an array of different updates to your home that will complement the style and preserve the period look with added modern convenience.

The first place to consider an update is your home’s exterior finish. If you own a charming older home, chances are, you want to preserve some of that historical appeal and keep your exterior looking as accurate and authentic as possible.

Today’s vinyl siding is an absolutely stunning choice for improving and updating your home’s curb appeal. The vinyl siding is made to last a lifetime, resist fading, and hold up to any of our Wisconsin weather. The siding comes in 6-inch, 7-inch, and Dutch lap styles to complement the look of almost any home. In addition, there are plenty of color choices, trim options, and even stone add-ons to help preserve the look and charm of your home’s best features while mitigating any concerns related to aging.

Updating Old Windows, Like Those Glass Block Windows

Years ago, many homes featured windows set in wooden frames. Unfortunately, the wood degrades as the years go by, and the seal around the window loses strength. Eventually, you’re left with drafty windows that rattle and shake in the weather. Yes, the wooden trim matches your home, but there are plenty of options that can preserve the look without sacrificing comfort.

Older homes often featured smaller windows. Many times, in the back of the house, glass block windows were a cheap option for homebuilders who wanted to let in light but maintain privacy (or didn’t have enough to spend on windows). Glass block windows were commonly used in basements and sometimes throughout the home.

Besides looking dated and blocking out light, glass block windows can also leak and become less stable over time. While we might not always be able to make basement window openings larger, we may be able to update your basement windows to simple, modern vinyl windows that can do a lot to improve the comfort and quality of your home.

If you have glass block windows throughout your home, you’ll be amazed at what other options can do to improve the light and function of your windows. Glass block windows don’t open, and they don’t offer ventilation. Most modern windows can be opened up to let in a breeze and closed tight in the winter (no need to get out the tape and plastic to “insulate”).

Considering Replacement Windows?

If you’re ready to ditch your aging windows and explore your choices, we offer an array of replacement options that can give your whole house a facelift. We have full-frame replacement options that can provide larger viewing areas and increase your window space by up to 30%.

Our replacement windows are available with different trim and styles to suit a quaint country cottage or a mid-century modern masterpiece. We can help you find windows to seamlessly blend the original look of your house with the convenience and beauty of vinyl.

We often see homeowners who have replaced windows in the past but skip replacing the casings. Unfortunately, this can lead to a mismatched look, where windows, trim, and casings don’t quite go together. Even though replacing window casings can add some cost, it’s well worth the investment, especially if you’re concerned about preserving the historic style of your home.


As you’ll see in this Tod & Todd’s Home Improvement Tips video, casings make a big difference when upgrading or replacing your windows:


What about security? One of the biggest problems with older home features like windows and doors is that as these areas age, they become less secure. Locks get loser, seals shrink, and wood degrades over time. Our windows are secure, with easy-to-use locks. Homeowners are often amazed at how much easier and more convenient their new windows are to open, maintain, and lock.

Preserve the Beauty and Charm of Your Home

A window update shouldn’t detract from your home’s original beauty and authenticity. With today’s materials, there are plenty of ways you can lose some of the less-charming, dated features (like those glass block windows or that dented aluminum siding) while still preserving the style and personality of your home.

We work on any age home, whether it was built at the turn of this century or the last. Unfortunately, even some very new homes are built by contractors who cut corners on the windows and exterior finish. Sometimes the old houses are in even better shape than the newer homes built in the last ten or twenty years!

You know your house best, and if there’s an area that you feel needs an update, we’re here to help. We can explore your options for replacement windows, siding, trim, roofing, and more. We’ll help you keep the aspects of your home you love while updating the comfort, increasing the value, and improving your curb appeal! Reach out today!