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Originally, storms and screens were wood. Wood storms and screens still are available for the original historic look. They have to be put up and taken down each season. As they are bulky, they require considerable storage space. For windows that are never opened, as in houses with air conditioning, storms can be left up year round.


The most common storm windows today are an aluminum frame that holds glass and screen panels. 

Self-Storing or Removable Panels

Self-storing "combination" storm and screen windows have panels that slide in the frame. Glass and screen panels are exchanged simply by sliding them in the tracks. All panels remain in the frame. Windows can be "two-track" or "triple track".

Removable panels are attached to the frame: they are "fixed" and not "self-storing." To exchange glass and screen panels, the one is detached and removed, and the other is attached. When not in use, panels are stored somewhere. The panels are lighter weight and require much less storage space than wood storms and screens.

  • Fixed panels generally fit more tightly to the frame and allow less air infiltration than do self-storing panels.
  • Some wood storm windows now have the added feature of removable storm and screen panels inside a wood frame.
"Invisible" storms

The aluminum frame has a narrower profile than standard storm windows. Since the original sash is more visible, a house retains more of its historic appearance.

Interior and Exterior Storms

Storms are available for interior or exterior mounting. Both work in the same ways to increase energy efficiency. Interior storms have the aesthetic advantage that the original historic windows remain uncovered and fully visible outside. They also are easier to install and remove with the season. Exterior storms, because they do cover the windows, add more security and protect the sash from the weather.


Storm windows are an exterior change that requires pre-approval by the local Historic District Commission for material, style, and color.

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