Historic Window Preservation

Historic Window Preservation

The windows of early American homes were the casement windows. These are windows that are hinged on one side and open outward with a hand cranking device attached. In the early part of the eighteenth century double and single hung windows were introduced. These are the windows that rise up in down in their sash or frames. As a consequence many styles of the vertical sliding windows are considered to be specific to buildings specific to certain periods in our history. When calculating if certain windows have historic window preservation value the complete building needs to be considered. Often comparisons are made on specific windows in the context of the complete building where the windows are part of the architectural component of the building.

While much of the repair techniques offered as an instructional guide for the private individual, the information can be very useful for the specialized architect or contractor on larger extent projects. The instruction talks about the methodology for evaluating and repairing existing windows. It will also talk about considerations of substitute with specialized help to preserve the style and materials used.

It is the design and craftsmanship among other qualities that make certain buildings, and the windows in those buildings, worthy of preservation. Of course it is very apparent for ornamental windows but the same can be equally true of windows in such buildings as warehouses or factories. It is the visual component that the windows offer that can make it the principal factor and if they were to be replaced with a different kind of window the building would lose some of its historical value. It is the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation that provides the guidelines for calculating the historic window preservation value. Those guidelines call for specific kinds of original materials and features. The guide favors repairing and retaining whenever possible. If repair is indicated they are very implicit in the standards of technical repair methods used. The main emphasis is on the planning for the repair of windows including evaluating their physical condition and what methods will be used to repair. If substitute is necessary all efforts will be made to replace with like materials in order to have the substitute window look as much like the original as possible. Photos taken before the substitute or repair will be compared with the finished work.

There are 5 factors to be considered in the evaluation of windows in a building. Windows will be considered worthy of historic window preservation if they 1) replicate the original design for the building 2) mirror the period or style of the vicinity under considerations 3) are original 4) are an example of very fine craftsmanship or design 5) mirror major building changes resulting from major period shifts or events. After the evaluation of the building has been completed, it will be possible to continue with the planning of the correct kinds of treatments. You will, of course, start with the study of the actual conditions of the windows as they are currently set in their frames. You will need to photograph them from an inside and outside view to compare the completed workmanship.

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