1782 Underground railroad tavern, North Yarmouth, ME
Post new topic   Reply to topic
Historic HomeWorks Forum Forum Index -> Questions & Comments  
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Claytons



Joined: 18 Feb 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:17 am    Post subject: 1782 Underground railroad tavern, North Yarmouth, ME Reply with quote

Hello! We just bought this big colonial and have lots of projects and very little experience, wisdom and money! Quickly, systems and foundation are great. Applied for and expect to be accepted into state's low-income, lead paint abatement program - grant will remove paint on half the house's floors and replace 14 lead paint, 9 over 6 windows. Very grateful for this help. My husband is an Anglican priest and church friends are coming in July to redo our kitchen. BIG gift as well!

Questions....

1.Serious insulation problems. Losing lots of heat through windows, walls, doors, floors. 3 kids - we're all very cold! (our kitchen oil solidified in our kitchen cabinets last week!) New 9 over 6 windows will help. My husband insulated attic and is digging bigger crawl space under house to insulate better (found an 1888 medicine bottle!) How can we best insulate walls?

2. 9 fireplaces - 2 massive chimneys. Installed one wood stove in 10'4" kitchen fireplace and would like to install more. Are steel lined pipes best and cheapest way to go to enable us to reduce oil use and use fireplaces?

3. I think I found original pumpkin colored milk paint in kitchen. Best way to remove paint to expose this and be able to match to paint other trim that has since been replaced?

4. Any advise on kitchen redo? Planning white beadboard cabinets, glass doors, farmhouse sink and silestone counters. Trying to maintain historic presence but unsure how to accomplish.

We're trying to best love our house so it will love us back - but we're not quite sure how to do this. Any ideas are welcomed and appreciated!

Cheryl
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 785
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as a window restoration specialist, i cringe at the suggestion that windows who have served their intended purpose for 225 should be removed and replaced....(it is entirely possible that the windows were replaced a hundred years ago, but still.......) if ever there was an apt time to use the phrase 'throwing the baby out with the bath water' was applicable, this is it....rather than replace the frame and trim of the window, a chemical stripper can be used to remove all the lead paint. a restoration specialist can remove the sash, transport them offsite and remove all the lead paint...this way you can retain the wood and the glass and know that they have many generations of life left in them when properly maintained...

often new owners of old homes are given bad information...it sounds to me like you want to do what is best for the house and maintain its historic character...may i suggest that you ask about restoration funding? you may benefit from getting the local historic commission involved.

i will be happy to offer feedback to you, the funding organization and the historic commission...

you are in for a very rewarding labor of love!

best...
...jade
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Claytons



Joined: 18 Feb 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:58 pm    Post subject: window specialist Reply with quote

Jade,
Thanks so much for your quick reply! Your thoughts are very helpful. We are also hesitant to remove/replace the windows and have been trying to think of alternatives. The old wavy glass is absolutely beautiful. Half the windows had been replaced by the previous owner and unfortunately, they did a terrible job.

A lot of the outside air is coming in through the cracks in corners, around the edges and just underneath the sash. Is there a way we can retain the sash but seal all of this up? Honestly, we were also looking forward to double paned, insulated glass. We had to move our kids out of their bedrooms because of the air coming in through the windows.

We would love any leads you could give on finding some funding sources.

Thanks,
cheryl
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
johnleeke
Site Admin


Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2924
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Hello! We just bought this big colonial and have lots of projects and very little experience, wisdom and money! ....Losing lots of heat through windows, walls, doors, floors. 3 kids - we're all very cold!


Welcome to Maine!

Your's is a common experience. We moved to a Maine in 1971, under very similar conditions, during a sub-zero winter. The only heat in our big old house was a kerosene-fired cast iron kitchen range. We lived in the kitchen and parlor, built a tent of blankets in the parlor for our 3-year old son to sleep in, and stretched more blankets over the posts of our brass bed to sleep in. This was very common in the old days: retreat to the kitchen and hug the stove all winter.

Jade is on track with her thoughts on windows. For a quick weatherization of your windows add interior "air-panels":

instructions here:

http://historichomeworks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=193

or, buy some pre-made:

http://windowtherm.com/, http://www.windowinserts.com/


and see if you can get an energy tax credit off your federal tax bill (almost like a grant).

then put up curtains made of blankets, but open them up on the sunny side during the day to let in the heat.

Eventually (by next winter) we'll help you get everything buttoned up.

more later, I've got to go bring in tomorrow's fire wood...

John

_________________
John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
johnleeke
Site Admin


Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2924
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Applied for and expect to be accepted into state's low-income, lead paint abatement program - grant will remove paint on half the house's floors and replace 14 lead paint, 9 over 6 windows.


Quote:
We are also hesitant to remove/replace the windows and have been trying to think of alternatives. The old wavy glass is absolutely beautiful.


I have heard reports from homeowners who got this grant. They report that their hearts were broken when the window pirates arrived, ripped out the windows and tossed them in the dumpster.

So, if you use this grant you can probably kiss you fine old wavy glass good bye.

The alternative is a three-step process:

1. Immediately start doing "lead safe" housekeeping, learn how in the "Lead Paint Safety, a field guide for painting, home maintenance and renovation work." Download it at:

http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/education/WindowsHandouts/leadsafetybk.pdf

2. Then add exterior and/or interior storms, for better energy performance of your existing windows.

It is easy to get a contractor to add exterior storms.

Instructions to make your own interior storms here:

http://historichomeworks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=193

or, buy some pre-made interior storms:

http://windowtherm.com/, or

http://www.windowinserts.com/


and see if you can get an energy tax credit off your federal tax bill (almost like a grant).

That will get you through this winter, next winter and maybe more. This will give you a chance to catch your breath and begin taking care of your fine old windows. Then,

3. Do a round of maintenance and repairs on your windows.


Is it easier to simply sign a grant application? Of course, the vinyl window replacement industry has orchestrated everything to assure they get the value out of your windows before you do. How so? Just take a look at the character and quality of those replacement windows your already have. Would you say those are better quality than your old windows? That's what you new replacement windows will look like in a few years.

Fine Homebuilding magazine reports, "Thirty percent of the [vinyl] windows being replaced are less than 10 years old, and many are only two years old."

So, if you sign up for that grant, just realize that the replacement windows they give you are very likely to last only 10-15 years, and you will be replacing them again, possibly as soon as two years from now.

They will say the windows they put in are guaranteed. So what? That guarantee is nothing more than a marketing device If a guarantee is so wonderful, just try to get some guarantee work done those replacement windows you now have. A guarantee is no indication of the quality of the goods. It will be worth nothing if the company goes out of business, as many replacement window companies have done.

If you find that you must take the grant, and you want to keep your old windows, force the grant adminstrators, and the contractors, to follow the guidelines in the "Field Guide" listed above, which is based on the same federal regulations they have to follow in administering this grant program.

I have heard from other homeowners that when you sign up for this grant program you are actually signing a contract to do the work, but there is nothing specific in the application or contract that says what they will do, or what products will be used, or that they will do the work to your satisfaction, etc. They were horrified at the poor quality of the windows and other products installed. They wished they had their old windows back. But it was too late, they were all smashed up in the dumpster.

Now, I am not saying that this is a bad grant program, and you must do what is best for the health of your family, but you should know what effect this grant program will have on your windows. Ask the grant administrators and the contractors to make your house healthy and to save you old windows at the same time. It can be done as shown in the publication listed above.

See if you can get the grant money and select your own contractor. There are contractors right here in Maine who can do this work safely, and save your old windows too. (assuming they are good old windows).

Let us know what you find out about the grant program.

I'm interested in what they propose to do to your floors.

_________________
John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought


Last edited by johnleeke on Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:46 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 785
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as if you haven't now got a lot more to think about, here's another tidbit something to ponder: lead.....ok, so it's really unhealthy for children and others with health issues to breath it in on a close up and constant basis but, in the 225 years your home has had occupants, how many of those occupants have been highly and negatively affected by the lead? remember the old days of leaded gas--yes indeed it was deliterious to the enviroment and its inhabitants but to what degree? much to my father's dismay, as a kid i used to sink my teeth into the interior sill (apron) of the windows in my bedroom...i may have a few screws lose but i don't think the lead had anything to do with it....there is good reason to be conscientious about the negative affects of lead, but i dare say there are alarmists in our midst (say that three times fast!)....

if you are really concerned about the lead AND you have children, perhaps time is of the essense--every time a sash is lifted or closed a tiny bit of lead is released. however, if that is not the case, what is the big rush to remove the lead? i suspect one reason is our rather newly acquired litigeous mindset and the ensuing fear that someone may get sick and sue you for everything you've got, and don't got for that matter....

so....if drafty windows are the biggest concern, add some weatherstripping (bronze and silicone are the longest lasting and are affordable too boot...), follow john's instructions for homemade storms and/or invest in some good curtains or quited shades...this way you will have access to fresh air and sunshine, maintain your unrivaled old wood windows and a have few more bucks in the bank for other projects....

marc bagala restores old windows and he is, i believe, in or around portland...get to know your preservationists--they are your friends!!

we're here if you have further questions, comments and/or concerns...

......jade
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
oldhomeowner



Joined: 04 Oct 2006
Posts: 55
Location: albany NY

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thought I'd share my experience with grants. Bought my house in the Albany,NY area. Also applied for a grant similar to yours. Lead abatement was part of the package. $15,000 grant for which I was approved. Upon questioning the lead abatement inspectors carefully I found the process for lead abatement (during which I would not be allowed near my home) the contractor would rip out old , multiple paned, beautiful porch windows and replace with vinyl. Interior lead abatement also would involve sheetrocking over any area where lead was found. This meant in actuality, sheetrocking over the lower half of one kitchen wall, the upper half of a different kitchen wall, without regard for depth related to original wood molding. strong potential for loss of wood molding if in contractors way. Probable, not possible, loss of old wood molding around windows, some windows, not all. Absolute removal and destruction of stained glass window in entryway. In short, unsupervised destruction of arbitrary elements of house without regard for architectural integrity, appearance or quality of work done. No recourse until after destruction and even then no real recourse to undo damage.
I canceled the grant and bought the house anyway. Found this website and am now doing necessary work myself. The house remains beautiful.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
johnleeke
Site Admin


Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2924
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The above is a good description of the stories I am hearing from homeowners here in Maine.

You may end up with a house that is more lead-safe, but also loose a big part of the architectural character, which may be why you bought the house in the first place.

None of the treatment or products installed appear to be of a quality that will endure. They will need to be replaced, again and again. Does it really make good sense to rip out windows that have lasted a century and could last another? Essentially, these grant programs appear to be turning some high-quality houses in to low-quality housing.


I'm beginning to wonder what this sort of treatment does to the long-term real estate value.

.

_________________
John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
milledj



Joined: 15 Nov 2006
Posts: 29
Location: Athens, AL

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't add anything but emphasize that the experts posting above know what they are talking about.

There are ways around your problems without distroying the historical significance of your home. Is your home on the national register? It sounds like it ought to be, if it isn't already. Replacing the windows will make this designation questionable. If it isn't already on the NR, replacing the windows will make inclusion on the list difficult.

If you must, must, replace your windows, PLEASE don't get vinyl ones. Get ones that at least are made of wood and emulate the originals in every way possible (if yours are double-hung, you can remove the pockets that cause most air infiltration, btw, without replacing the entire window. Modern wood windows, double hung, don't have these air pockets). Of course, these windows will be expensive if you have to custom make them. You would be MUCH better off keeping what you have and restoring them one at a time, perhaps using John's interior storms/blankets/quilted blinds until you have rebuilt them.

_________________
Less is more.
MA in Historic Preservation
BS in Architecture
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
johnleeke
Site Admin


Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2924
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before we all go hyper over this, I should mention one strategy for making a house lead-safe and saving historic details and features.

It IS possible to simply cover up lead containing surfaces temporarily. For example, cover interior lead-painted woodwork and walls for 5 to 8 years while children are young, then remove the covering when the children have grown up. The coverings can be made with sheet metal or other materials formed to fit over and around the trim boards, fireplace mantles, etc. and made and installed to remove easily with little damage to the historic walls and woodwork. It may look odd, but can meet the federal safety standards and it saves the woodwork. Lead-containing surfaces can also be covered with encapsulating paint-like coatings, leaving all the historic plaster, wood and paint right in place, though this might be more difficult to remove later on.

At one home in New Hampshire the owner, with a pregnant wife and 3 little kids was moving into an old house. He removed all the 200 year old sash, stored them in the loft of the barn then installed the cheapest vinyl windows he could get. His plan is, when all the kids are grown up, he will pull out the vinyl windows, restored the old sash and reinstalled them in their original frames.

The "Rip & Trash" mentality of some of these contractors in these grant programs is easy to understand when you realize their approach is to make as much money as possible installing as much "product" as possible doing as little thinking and work as possible.

Would it be possible to get them to slow down and think of ways to make our homes lead-safe and save their historic character at the same time?

Talk with the grant administrators and ask them this question.

_________________
John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Historic HomeWorks Forum Forum Index -> Questions & Comments  
Post new topic   Reply to topic All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum