If you live in a historic home, preservationists urge you to think about restoration and repair before razing. Here are some issues to consider:
• More heat is lost through the roof and insulated walls than windows.
• Windows need routine maintenance, including resealing and caulking, to be energy efficient.
• Storm windows installed on the exterior of existing windows or window inserts attached to the interior side can reduce heat loss.
• A thin reflective covering called “low-E film” can be applied to single-pane glass to reduce heat loss.
• If you’re trying to be “green,” remember that vinyl and aluminum windows take more resources, toxins and energy to produce than restoring old windows.
• Retaining the original windows in a historic home can be an advantage when selling the home to buyers who value authenticity.
• If you refinish windows yourself, beware of the possibility of lead in the paint and asbestos in the glazing putty. Kits are available in home-improvement stores to test for lead. If you don’t test, assume there are toxins and wear protective masks, a respirator, gloves and other gear.
• Double- or single-hung windows are sometimes replaced because they no longer open. The problem often stems from layers of paint on the pulley system ropes. Instead of discarding the entire window, replace the ropes. When painting, cover the ropes with masking tape or paper.
• Different kinds of glass are used to replace historic or antique window panes. Glass with waves, bubbles and other imperfections reminiscent of antique glass is available, but can be costly, particularly if it’s mouth-blown. Sometimes, homeowners opt for contemporary, double-paned glass.
For more information on restoring, replicating or replacing historic windows:
• Go to www. oldhouseweb.com and search for “historic window repair.”
• Go to www. preservationnation.org and search for “historic wood window tip sheet.”
• See a video of historic window restoration by EcoWoodworks at http:// ecowoodworks.com. The custom carpentry firm is at 3016 Sapp Road, Tumwater, or at 360-943-3808.
Sources: City of Olympia Historic Preservation program, Grace Morrisson of Bear Wood Windows Inc.