Standards for Window Restoration
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Historicdoor



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
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Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:57 am    Post subject: Standards for Window Restoration Reply with quote

Talked with a gentleman today about "standards" for window restorations...seems that Chairman John has produced a some pretty fine standards (and even provided some flexibility within the standards such in regard to "finishing" for example).

John, how about establishing a certification (similar to "Energy Star") that we can associate with work that meets certain standards such as those you have developed. How about "Resource Wise" windows...all would have to be of the "restored" category even if a reproduction was called for given excessive damage preventing a restoration. Or lets come up with another name. Just remember it must be semi-politically correct to get into the big boys game. We'd have a identifying moniker that would distinguish our work from the production windows. We could use the certification in our advertising, and at every opportunity to get the name into conversation throughout the historic preservation community at first, and then ultimately as a part of the window industry. Such a name would also help political leaders with a descriptor as they talk about programs to promote wise resource useage generally.

I see the standards as not so much dictating a single solution, as providing a common demoninator on top of which we could add our own unique characterisitcs to justify higher pricing from one shop to the next for example.

What do you think?

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve S writes:
Quote:
I agree with having industry standards. That would be valuable to customers and to restorers.


Bill Robinson writes:
Quote:
I would like to see some standards similar to ASTM E-2112-07, the industry standard for installing and replacing doors and windows in residential and light commercial. The standards I am thinking of do not necessarily need to be ASTM.

While there are standards of sorts from various places we can do better. Maybe we could get a grant from the National Historic Trust to form a committee and develop those standards. This would be a first good step in gaining traction.

I would be interested in participation in such an initiative.
Or is there something already in place?
Let's do it!


I agree with "Let's do it!"

One of my colleagues was on an ASTM committee that set some good standards for historic preservation, but it took years and was very costly. While a nice fat grant from the NTHP or the NCPTT sounds intriguing they take two to three years to produce any results. Let's just get on the stick and set our own standards.

There are many who definitely want standards for this work. This past few months four window specialists have asked to use me as a reference when they had requests for proposals or a specification that included a requirement for the "John Leeke Method", or asked me to help them write s specification for a "Leeke-like" result on their project.

If architects or building owners are requiring the "John Leeke Method" just what does that mean? It means that they see my window articles, publications and training as a sort of standard. I present the details of the work and the guiding philosophy behind the the work. They get to know the work in a fundamental way. This does not happen all at once. Over the years and decades they have been reading, studying and trying out this approach to windows. They let me know what works and what doesn't and I include that in my own work and then write about it, the work is refined, more learn, etc.

I have never promoted or even mentioned a "John Leeke Method," and we all have methods that work and save windows.

After some thought I realize that perhaps there should not be a "John Leeke Method." However, there SHOULD be a "Save Windows Method" (or what ever it could be called) that is more broadly based. I'd be happy to expand this forum and my book by including some of your own most successful window maintenance and repair methods. In this way the "Method" becomes yours as much as it is any body's. The book already has methods by a few of you including John Stahl, Bill McCarthy,
Caroline Sly and others. Take a look at the book and if you see something missing that you could fill in let me know. Start posting your methods here at the forum, with a few photos, step-by-step, etc. For an example of how a method is presented see the "Failing Joint
Stabilization" method in the Save America's Windows book or in Save Your Wood Windows.

You can download the example right here:
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/SAMRev3-0-sample-scr.pdf
(9meg PDF file)

Each step includes two or three sentences and a photo or drawing for each step, with a before photo, after photo, and a listing and photo of tools and materials needed. Comments on what deterioration the method treats and the time it takes to do the method are helpful.

Another part of formal standards setting is building and documenting consensus. This happens really well here at the Forum by simply posting replies. We could even use the "poll" feature of the forum system.

For an example of how this works here at the Forum see the discussion on putty and paint:

http://historichomeworks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=955

There I am developing the putty and paint section for the Save America's Windows book, based in part on all your comments and discussion.

As standards develop here at the forum I can spread the good word in print via the book or other publications.

So, as Bill says, Let's Do It.

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by hammer and hand great works do stand
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Last edited by johnleeke on Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:51 am; edited 2 times in total
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
John, how about establishing a certification (similar to "Energy Star") that we can associate with work that meets certain standards such as those you have developed.


A good idea!
(but let's make it "un-like" Energy Star so that it actually saves windows instead of destroying them)

In the Save America's Windows book I have compiled a directory of over 120 window specialists around the country. In a way, I suppose this is a form of "certification." The "standard" I set for those who I include in the directory is that they are "window savers" and not "window replacers". I know, I know, this is a pretty broad standard. Some will say, "but what if they do poor work or use the wrong materials." I say, poor work or wrong materials makes little difference because if they save the window and do not throw it away, sooner or later someone who has learned a little more about windows will come along, do better work and save the window for a little longer. You see? Even poor work can have a good consequence.

Well, that is what I think is needed, a very broad inclusive standard. I know of some window associations that set a rather narrow, exclusive standard, and that can be good too. But what is needed right now is a broad reach that that sweeps all across the land, saving as many windows as possible. They are going fast and if we don't act right now, today, another several thousand windows will be gone.--that's not only a loss of nice old windows, but a loss of your own market share. Not only a loss of business for today, but a loss of business in the future when the windows will need ongoing maintenance.

The directory for the book is always growing (I got three calls while writing this message and two were Window Savers not yet on the list), so, if you save windows I will put you in the directory and certify you as a Window Saver.

Wait a minute. I'm not going to certify anyone. Each of us must certify our own selves. So, get the book:

Save America's Windows
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/reports.htm#Windows

and if you do work like in the book, certify yourself as a Window Saver, let me know about your work I'll get you right into the directory.

See how this works? We don't need ASTM, NTHP, NCPTT, etc. Each of us takes action today, saving windows. Soon enough everyone will be referring to us as the standard, the Window Savers--it's already beginning to happen.

Are we Window Savers?

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BillRobinson



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough Big John, we do not need ASTM.
I was simply using their standards as an example.

We will all benefit if we can come up with some agreed on guidelines or standards.

It tends to give a cohesiveness to an otherwise wide open segment of the construction business.

It does not need to be a JL standard. In fact that might not get the most traction.
The first step is to get agreement.

Most of the work is already done it just needs organizing.

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BillRobinson



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am just leaving the National Weatherization Conference in INDY.
Very interesting.

I am no less serious about some standard, don't see it, that we can present to local organizations doing the stimulus weatherization work.
If there is nothing there will not be a place at the table, if there is something then we have an opportunity to gain some good work and maybe more importantly spread the good word.

John, anyone, do we have a list to start with?
Here is a link to the conference
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/weatherization/conference/

No talk about window restoration. Which of us were at the table when the decisions were made?

And a link to the state agency contacts.
In your state you can make a contact and begin hte process of getting restoration on the list of approved methods.
http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/state-local-tribal-and-territorial-resources&mode=map

There is work and an opportunity here to raise the level of awareness of window restoration.

Come-on

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Rj Crosby



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also posted this on JLC online. However I do not know how much the groups may overlap.

At risk of pulling this conversation in a different direction.

I am a superintendent in a medium size general contracting firm. Because of my experience with historic homes my company has asked me to research restoration versus replacement of wood windows.

Specifically addressing the conflict between architectural restrictions (i.e. National Historic Register or owner required), energy conservation and resource conservation.

In Oregon we have a state legislated, utility funded, non-profit administered, energy conservation program. This program provides cash incentives for improvements that lead to energy conservation. These incentives can significantly offset the costs for upgrades and improvements.

The problem is that the program requires upgrades to meet certain specifications for performance. Data will be helpful in securing incentives for owners of these buildings to restore their existing wood windows.

Do any of you know of data, research, studies or informed opinions that demonstrate the potential or realized improvement in reduced energy use for wood window restoration or augmentation, such as storm windows and weatherstripping.

The short... Certain vinyl replacement windows can qualify for incentives, however they are not allowed by the Historic Register or wanted by the owners.

Any help or comments would be appreciated.

Thanks
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rj, welcome to the Forum. Energy performance certainly should be part of the standards discussion.

Quote:
Do any of you know of data, research, studies or informed opinions that demonstrate the potential or realized improvement in reduced energy use for wood window restoration or augmentation, such as storm windows and weatherstripping.


Here are some of the most useful:

Window of Opportunity: A Three-Part Master Course on Windows in Traditional Settings, Course #2 with John Leeke and Walter Sedovic (live presentation July 2009, recording now available, be sure to listen through to the Q&A session at the end)
http://www.traditional-building.com/windowwebinars/

A windows tip sheet from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
http://www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1054/files/july2008windowstipsheet.pdf

“Measured Winter Performance of Storm Windows”
http://www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1054/files/berkeley%20storm%20window%20research.pdf

“Building Regulations and Historic Buildings: balancing the needs for energy conservation with those of building conservation”
http://www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1054/files/english%20heritage%20interim_guidance.pdf

“Repair or Replace Windows in Historic Buildings: Arriving at a Sustainable Solution”
http://www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1054/files/heritage%20canada.pdf

“Life Cycle Of Window Materials - A Comparative Assessment”
http://www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1054/files/uk%20window%20frame%20lca.pdf

“Domestic Retrofitting Strategies in the UK: Effectiveness vs. Affordability”
http://www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1054/files/domestic%20retrofit%20uk.pdf

“What Replacement Windows Can’t Replace: The Real Cost of Replacing Historic Windows”
http://www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1054/files/replacement_windows%20sedovic%20gotthelf.pdf

“Testing the energy performance of wood windows in Cold Climates”
http://www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1054/files/testing%20windows%20in%20cold%20climates.pdf

“Lincoln Hall Windows Research Report: A Case Study of Options for Treatment for Windows at Lincoln Hall, University Of Illinois, Urbana Champaign” http://www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1054/files/illinois%20lincoln%20hall%20study.pdf

Let us know if you learn of any others.

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MohrJax



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the ideas going around. As a "window saver" it is aggrevating, to say the least, that people throw away their wood windows and install an inferior plastic window b/c that plastic windows has some energy star logo. Energy Star or not it is still a hole in your wall. If a new window has the R-value of 2, and an old window has a R-value of 1 is it really worth stripping your home out of its characteristics eyes, IE windows! My business turned 2 years and I have already been labeled the "window guy" which is great! we do so many others things but I'm happy to get that label. John said something like that even a poor window job is a good job....I'll agree. Last year we restored all of 31 windows in a home. The protect took longer and it cost more than expected because the previous work was very low quality, woith plenty of hidden surprises, however the windows were still there and we saved almost every single one- a few were just not worth fixing BUT they were used for parts and we replaced those windows by getting a few windows from the junk yard- so we saved those windows too. We, IE window savers, are the ultimate Green business...why not try to get a "green certification"?
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sschoberg



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
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Location: Plymouth, Indiana

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the term "Green Certification".

And having specific standards for restoration of wood windows is needed very much. Inexperience architects and General Contractors definetly need a push to use specific standards when writing specs for rehabbing buildings. I think once the value of specific standards begin to show that all architects will use them.

It sure will be better than the vague ambiquous specs we're seeing come through now a lot of times.

Without more specific standards with using key words like "restoration" and "approved wood epoxy " general contractors will continue to interpret specs based on their experience. That usually mean "no experience" in regards to restoration.

It'll probably be too late for many projects already. Stimulous funding will be generating the work on many historical projects and they will be done by general contractors and sub contractors with no experience in proper methods. I'm not knocking most generals or architects, unless they refuse to listen to common sense.

I've got no problem writing specs and handing them out to whomever will take them. But, although our work is pretty good, I just don't have enough credibility to stop these guys in their track and make them see the light.

A couple of us in Indiana are pursuing the beginnings of an alliance. I think thats a start. So if your from Indiana and your interested, get in touch with us.

I think this issue is more important that most realize. And I think experts such as John and Bob Yapp or even more valuable than they realize, but not in the arena of self importance, (and I don't see any conceit in either iether one of them) but rather to expand the importance of good standard procedures (specifications) for the restoration of wood windows and all other repair work being done on older structures.
I see many other "experts" that offer the procedures and experience on this web and a few other also. They are equally as important and valuable as John and Bob, just not quite as vocal.

Are these comments a rallying cry----yes sort of and also a release of some of my frustrations in dealing with a few inexperiences general contractors and architects.

This industry is about to take off---in ways that we haven't imagined yet. those of us that are already restoring need to make sure we're prepared to help those just beginning. We also need to guard with passion the correct procedures to be used. This will only build continued confidence in the value of restoration to homeowners and comercial building owners as well as governing bodies and all others who are making the decisions to invest money in keeping our older buildings repaired and used.

Love what your doing, but plan and protect your future to continue doing it.



Steve S
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, enough talk, let's get off our duffs and start setting standards.

I see there are three areas for standards:

1. Philosophical. Why are YOU saving windows instead of replacing them? (post a message with two three reasons and explain each.)


2. Business Practice.
How do you operate your business practice? (the replacement pirates and their corporateering masters market heavily sometimes with outright lies, then employ professional sales people who will say anything to get a sale and meet the month-end quota. How do you do it? Do you sell as much as you can, or only what's needed? How do you decide what is needed? The pirates hope homeowners don't notice their imitation windows last only a few years, and they tend to go out of business before you do notice. How long does your work actually last? What do you do about that?)

3. Technical. What methods, materials, and proceedures do you use? (Do you document them in writing, or just try to remember it? Do you always follow the same technical standards. How do you decide to change your standards? How long does your window work last (by actual observation)? Are you willing to share your technical standards, or are they secret? If so, post a message describing one or two of your proceedures; If not, tell us why not.)

As some ideas and subjects in this discussion solidify, I'll summarize them and post each for detailed discussion and set up a poll on each so we can see if there is any consensus.

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sschoberg



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Philosophical. Why am I saving saving instead of replacing.

Not so long ago I was looking for a new area to earn a living. I was looking for an area of service where there was a need. (low level of competition)

One of my main goals was to sell my efforts, my expertise, my initiatives, not someone else's efforts or products. My thinking was, why send money out of my area to buy a product and make only a small percentage of the sale.

Its easy to see there's absolutely no value in vinyl windows and most new wood windows. In the beginning my main concern with replacement windows was they disturb the proportions of a house or the original look. And they cut the viewing area up to 15-20%.

After I began restoring (and it didn't take long) I was impressed how good the wood is in old windows. Even when needing repaired I was seeing that the actual wood under all that paint was premium and beautifull.

Not so slowly, my passion for saving old windows increased.

Steve S
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sschoberg



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3. Technical.

We've completed several comercial window restoration projects, ranging from 10 window -120.
We have yet be asked by the arhitect of any of these projects to submit repair samples or any samples of our proposed repair procedure. We have yet to be questioned on quality control procedures.
We have been asked about timing and there's been a couple projects that we needed to sit down to answer scheduling and timing questions prior to signing a contract.
I know that we adhere to correct restoration procedures, but what is happening on the projects we're not involved with. I know of one project where the contractor started with using Abatron on some sill repairs but switched to Bondo, because he said Abatron was to difficult to use.

1. Use of epoxies engineered to be used for wood repairs.
2. Samples of actual wood repairs with written procedure used, prior to
starting work. The use of Bondo or similar is prohibited.

Steve S
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve, OK, excellent.
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Tim Storey



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philosophical: Preserving culture as represented in original architectural features, even if the original isn't pristine. Countering corporate take over of every possible facet of our economy. Supporting small scale skilled trades for it's value in the economy and in communities. Durability, sustainability, conservation of materials and energy, minimizing toxins. I understand the arguments based on embodied energy, which can be very difficult to quantify, but if we are to be the green alternative, the energy we use in repair/restoration has to be estimated and compared to alternatives. I feel we might be vulnerable here with all the heat we use -don't really know. The real point is that the green groups could be a very important ally (free and effective advertising unlike anything we could do), but we must have our case ready. The overall philosophy of Repair, Don't Replace seems have have a very powerful impact/connection in about everything we use in society. Energy, materials, jobs, cultural/historical preservation. Everything but corporate profits.

Technical: Considering emphasizing repair, not restoration, to take advantage of what's already there and to better combat the replacement business on cost. I'm incorporating Borate treatment, Abatron, Allback paints, and refurbishing with shellac and top coat on the inside. Don't see much value in removing interior finish unless demanded -just match and refurbish (i.e. ebony stain mixed in for weathered finish, spar varnish adjacent to glass). Considering use of thin bead of sealant on inside of glass rather than glazing putty (dig out 1/16" of bedding putty and replace with sealant). Felt/spring bronze for weatherstripping rubbing areas (and avoiding lead, or avoiding complete paint removal), spring bronze/vinyl at top/bottom if room. Sill/jamb joint rot is a big issue (due to storm windows trapping moisture on sill?).

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Derek Stevens



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RJ, I am a new poster here, and also an Historic preservationist builder, and for the past decade, a member of the DesChutes County Historical Landmarks Commission ( the last three years as Chair). I would like to suggest that on any project that is before you with Historic status, you begin with a window audit as is mandated in almost all counties in Oregon, and is a requirement of any property looking towards the Special Assessment program from the State. The State Historic Preservation Office in Salem, or your local County or City Landmarks Commission is also a wealth of information, but as with SHPO, most agencies like to be brought into the talk prior to the site even being swept up. I have the names of some of the players in different regions of the state, pm me with the region you predominantly work in, and I will let you know who to reach out to.
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