The Myth of Maintenance Free

There is no such thing as a maintenance free building. Period. Whether it is an older structure or one built today using the most current materials, all properties require maintenance. Yet we hear the claim of maintenance free from manufacturers of building products ranging from siding to windows to flooring. It is used to support work that ranges from window replacement to the complete destruction of historic properties.

Supporters of preservation need to work hard (without the financial support of product manufactures) to counter these claims including:
  • Vinyl is NOT final: Vinyl siding fades, gets dirty and mildews without maintenance. When a rock thrown by your lawn mower knocks a chunk out of the siding, there is no way to repair except for removal and replacement with new materials. In addition, vinyl (pvc) is a highly toxic material from initial production through use and disposal.
  • Replacing your original wood windows with modern windows creates a problem worse than routine maintenance. Most modern windows have an anticipated life span of 10 to 20 years before the seals break, springs give out and you are looking through foggy glass and have windows propped open by sticks. These modern windows are not made of repairable parts, so when they fail, they have to be replaced by completely new windows units – AGAIN. Compare this to the historic wood windows that have already survived 75 to 100 years and now needs a bit of work by a local carpenter.
Please feel free to comment below on other maintenance free claims that don’t hold up. And remember: a product that claims “no maintenance” = can’t be maintained.

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