But of these considerations, one key decision takes precedence over the others in the design process: restoration or replacement? This is an especially important question when it comes to determining whether original windows will be restored or replaced with a modern, historically accurate, window solution.
We provide a few tips on how to determine when replacement windows may be the proper choice for your project, as well as how to specify appropriate windows manufactured today for a historic commercial building.
window repair vs. replacement
Historic commercial restoration projects are typically overseen by a governing historic society and/or team that dictates strict guidelines for the preservation of the structure. The appointed architectural team and historic teams work closely together to determine appropriate steps for the building windows.
Some projects may require restoration of the original windows to maintain their historic status, as dictated by the historic society overseeing the project. Other times, the project regulations may require that only a portion of windows need to be repaired — such as those within a certain elevation street side — while all others can be replaced.
But in other cases, original building windows may be irreparable, so replacement is necessary. For example, parts of the trim, sash, or seal may have rotted away beyond repair, or glass may be missing from several windows.
The good news is that today’s windows can be made to closely mimic the aesthetics of the historic window design — even those with ornate details — along with the added benefits of energy efficiency.
window solutions for historic projects
If you have the green light to move forward with a historic window replacement, the first place to start is partnering with a reputable manufacturer that can help provide architectural assistance and the right products for your project.
Weather Shield’s Architectural Services is a team of specialists dedicated to helping architects with design challenges, custom projects, questions, and more. In the case of historic projects, our team can provide large, physical product mockups of a full-scale window unit based on drawings and renderings to help architects and the building team envision the final result. Our team can also help advise on proper installation procedures to help create the best weatherproof seal.
Additionally, while most historic commercial buildings contain all-wood windows, there are added benefits to replacing with an aluminum-clad window solution such as one from Weather Shield. For instance, we can create desired aesthetics through custom or semi-custom window designs, which include specialized wood species, custom trims, a variety of exterior colors and interior stains, and more. Also, unlike all-wood windows, aluminum-clad windows do not need to be repainted over time, helping to reduce overall maintenance.
As an example of Weather Shield’s custom historic window capabilities, at the University of Wisconsin (Stout, Harvey Hall), we replicated large monumental windows that were manufactured 100 years earlier. Some of the details included custom BMC, custom sash lugs, two custom exterior colors, custom wood species, and custom interior stain color.
weather shield architectural services
Historic projects can sometimes seem daunting, but they don’t have to be. Learn more about custom architectural support for your project by visiting weathershield.com, calling us at 800-538-8836 or by sending an email.