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First check out insulation alternatives

Q I am in the thinking stage of having a picture window replaced with a brick wall. There is no insulation in any of the walls in the house, but the area around the picture window seems to be colder. What would you suggest as the most economical, safe, and lasting means of addressing this window-to-wall problem, plus wall insulation? Mrs. Bobbie S. Hamlin Washington, D.C.

A The retrofitting of a masonry wall so as to provide insulation is a tough one. Furring strips spaced at 16- or 24-inch intervals on the inside, with insulation applied between, and then covered with a finish material is one way, but it poses dozens of problems as well as a sizable investment.

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You can replace single-glass windows with double- or triple-glazed units, of course. While this certainly will keep the cold out and the warmth in, this also is quite expensive.

Consider Thermopane glass instead of the brick wall addition.

Were it my house, I would hire an architect, seasoned builder, or experienced insulation contractor for an on-site inspection and recommendation. Before doing any work, translate the ideas into dollars so as to see what costs are involved.

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