Historic buildings are not just a beautiful addition to any neighborhood, but important cultural assets. Preserving traditional homes and buildings is thus in the public interest and regulated by special preservation codes many cities. They typically focus on conserving the original period look across the facade and roof, including all of its components like doors and windows. Neuffer offers custom built historic windows and doors in multiple materials and sizes to meet your project's technical, performance and historic requirements.

What is a Historic District?

Throughout the United States and particularly on the East Coast, there are a large number of areas designated as historic districts by the city, state or federal government. They are seen as being historically or architecturally significant and buildings and structures in these areas are subject to special regulations when it comes to alterations or design changes on the exterior. Example areas include Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans and San Francisco but today there are over 2,000 such areas throughout America.

Therefore, when making any change to the exterior of your home or building, including windows and doors, special guidelines to preserve the original look must be followed. Luckily, Neuffer offers a range of modern custom made windows that can match the appearance of historic ones while providing the superior performance of today. 

Replacing Windows in a Historic District

While historic windows boast excellent craftsmanship and beautiful hand-made hardware, their long term durability is offset by deterioration over time. Years of use and weather typically leads to warping, rotting and deformation which in turn leads to regular repainting and sanding. Eventually, historic sash windows can become nearly unusable while at the same time offering little to no security and terrible insulation. A modern replica with the performance of today will let you enjoy a classic look without sacrificing energy and security. 

What to Consider When Renovating in a Historic District

Given the importance of maintaining the building's heritage and original look, it is important to check what materials are allowed for your renovation project. In the past, wood and iron were widely used whereas vinyl did not exist and aluminum was very rare. With modern technology and craftsmanship, it is easy to mimic historic styles in any material. However, in many areas, only wood is allowed.

Be sure to check with your local historic preservation board regarding which frame materials are allowed.

It is also vital to employ historically accurate materials when only wood is allowed such as linseed oil paint or pine, larch and meranti timbers.

The aesthetic details of the respective era also need be considered. Examples include but are not limited to brass hardware, Georgian muntins or nickel-plated hardware. The glazing also has to feature a certain amount of visual authenticity. To achieve this, it might be necessary to choose antique glass, stained glass or glass panes with sanded or decorated surfaces. One aspect of particular importance is the stylistic identity of the respective era.

In order to maintain authenticity, natural visual signs of aging should also be kept, under most circumstances. But since many historic frames were constructed entirely of wood, this may not be possible due to weather damage. Luckily, these days, it is possible to mimic the respective styles of virtually every historical era with historic frames.

Entirely replacing a historic window has the advantage of not only restoring the original look but also meeting the governmental energy efficiency and insulation standards of most countries. Additionally, replacement windows also offer dramatically improved noise reduction and security features than those of the past thanks to modern glazing. 

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