Windows provide light and ventilation to a building as well as define its architectural style through their rhythm, pattern, size, proportion, and ratio of solids (walls) to voids (windows and doors). The variety of architectural styles and periods of construction within the Historic District provides a corresponding variation of window styles, types, and sizes.
Windows are a major character-defining feature on residential buildings. They may occur in regular intervals or in asymmetrical patterns. A house may also have windows that are all the same size or have a variety of types and sizes that give emphasis to certain parts of the building.
Historic buildings in the downtown commercial district are characterized by regularly spaced windows in their upper facade. These windows, in conjunction with their neighboring buildings, provide a pattern of openings in the wall of entire blocks. Windows in the front facade are often more decorative than the more utilitarian windows on side or rear elevations.
Types of Windows
Double-hung windows are the most common type of windows for most architectural styles. Double-hung sash varies by the number of panes in each sash, whether nine-over-nine, nine-over-six, six-over-six, two-over-two, one-over-one, three-over-one, and so on.
Leaded windows contain patterned designs of colored glass. They were popular during the Victorian period and early twentieth century.
Composite windows are groupings of windows such as a double-hung window flanked by leaded windows or a set of similar windows.
Dormer windows project from the roof of a house to provide light as well as increased floor and head space in a roof area.
Decorative windows come in many shapes and sizes, such as circles or diamonds.
Casement windows open on hinges rather than sliding within a frame, as double-hung windows do. They are often constructed of metal.
Sleeping porches have walls that are constructed almost entirely of windows. They are usually located on the rear elevation and often at the second-floor level although they also appear on side elevations and sometimes in front.
Foundation windows open into basements and tend to be smaller than windows on primary floors.
Vents are found in foundations, roofs, and gable ends and may have decorative screens or frames.
Maintenance and Repair
Windows are extremely vulnerable to weather because of their location and moving parts. They need to be carefully maintained as a consequence. If they are not painted at regular intervals(every three years is recommended), then the wood will crack, warp, and rot. Sills, lintels, surrounds, and hoods - although they may be constructed of other materials such as brick, concrete, stone, or metal - will also fail if not porperly maintained.
1. Retain original windows.
2. Keep painted surfaces well painted.
3. Avoid water infiltration by ensuring caulk and glazing putty are intact and in good condition.
4. Ensure sills slope away from the building so water will run off rather than forming puddles.
5. Repair original windows by patching, splicing, consolidating, or reinforcing. Wood may appear to be rotten because of peeling paint or separation of joints, yet still be sound and able to be repaired. Rotted parts can be replaced, as necessary, without replacing the entire window.
6. Windows should only be replaced when they are missing or beyond repair. Replacement should be based on physical evidence and photo documentation rather than the availability of stock windows or windows from other buildings. Avoid changing the physical and visual characteristics of windows by using inappropriate materials or finishes that alter the sash, depth of reveal, muntin configuration, glazing, or appearance of the frame.
7. Avoid changing the number, location, size, or glazing pattern of a building's windows by cutting new openings, enlarging existing openings, blocking in windows, or installing replacement sash that does not fit the window opening.
8. Uncover and repair covered-up windows. If a window is no longer needed for its intended use, it should be retained (even if the interior opening is covered). In these instances, the glass can be frosted or painted black, or the window shuttered so it appears from the exterior to be used.
9. Reuse servicable window hardware and locks, as practicable.
10. Avoid trying to make a building look older than it is by installing windows that are from an earlier period of construction.
1. Improve a building's thermal efficiency with weather stripping, storm windows, and caulking.
2. If interior storm windows are used, ensure they have air-tight gaskets, ventilating holes, and/or removable clips, to allow proper maintenance and to avoid condensation damage.
3. If exterior storm windows are used, ensure they do not damage or obscure the windows and frames. The storm window divisions should match the underlying window divisions.
4. Ensure exterior storm windows have a baked-on enamel finish rather than an aluminum colored finish.
5. Do not replace original sash with new thermal sash.
6. Do not replace windows or transom lights with fixed thermal glazing.
1. Ensure a new building's ratio of solids (walls) to voids (windows and doors) is compatible and relates to neighboring buildings.
2. Ensure the rhythm and placement of a new building's windows relates to neighboring buildings.
3. Ensure the proportion of a new building's windows is compatible with neighboring buildings. Most residential windows, for example, are higher than they are wide (vertical proportion) as are the upper floor windows of most downtown commercial buildings. On the other hand, individual vertical windows may be grouped to form composite windows that have a horizontal proportion.
4. New window types should reflect those types found in the Historic District.
5. New windows should be constructed of wood or metal. Unfinished aluminum is not recommended.
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