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.

Why Save Historic Windows

There are a lot of window replacement manufacturers out there trying to convince homeowners that they will save energy and money by replacing their historic wood windows. This approach not only removes original historic fabric from buildings but also costs homeowners much more in the end and starts and endless cycle of wholesale replacement every 10-20 years or so. The following presentation was the outline for a recent presentation in St. Petersburg on the issues that historic building owners need to be aware of before writing the big check to replace their original wood windows given by Tampa Preservation board member, Jo-Anne Peck of Historic Shed.

Gut Fish, Not Houses: Why and How to Save Your Wood Windows

Please join the City of St. Petersburg Historic Preservation Department for a workshop on preserving, rehabilitating, and restoring historic wood windows on April 18 in St. Petersburg, FL. The workshop will feature discussions on historic designation and tax incentives followed by a presentation entitled “Why Save Historic Windows?” by Jo-Anne Peck of Preservation Resource, Inc. Craftsman Steve Quillian will then lead a hands-on demonstration on the restoration of historic wood windows. The half-day workshop will inform local historic property owners, preservation professionals, and craftsmen about the repair and replacement of historic windows. Anyone is welcome to attend!

The event is sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg Historic Preservation Department, the Association for Preservation Technology, St. Petersburg Preservation, Inc.,, Preservation Resource, Inc. and and is graciously hosted by St. Petersburg’s Historic Shuffleboard Club.

Date: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Time: 1-5 p.m.
Location: St. Petersburg’s Historic Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive, St. Petersburg, FL
For more information contact: Aimee Angel, City of St. Petersburg Historic Preservation (727) 892-5395