If you speak with Jeff Williams about windows for historic preservation, prepare for an education in classical architecture. “If you look at window design, you had the Georgian era in the late 1600s, then the Adam style of architecture [in the latter half of the 18th century],” explains the senior brand manager for Weather Shield. “In the Georgian style, there was a lot of Roman influence with 13/8-inch muntin bars, not a lot of ornament, and a Roman ogee type of profile. Adam style took the Georgian philosophy, but everything became very delicate. Muntin bars went down to 7/8 inch or even 5/8 inch, where we've settled today.”
It's those historic measurements and details that window manufacturers account for when designing windows for historic renovation. Weather Shield's custom HR 175 product line is listed on the historic register for approved historic restoration products, and Hurd's Historic Wood Windows and Patio Doors are custom crafted to match details in historic homes. Both companies offer dozens of exterior color options to help match new windows to existing ones in historic properties.
“We consider these windows to be historic primarily because of the options,” says Joe Herman, vice president of sales and marketing for Hurd. “Homeowners can essentially design their own trim, paint color, grilles, backbands, subsills, and more. In doing so, they recreate or match old, original windows.”
From sharply rectangular windows for Federal-style homes to covered and arched Neoclassical designs, windows from manufacturers such as Hurd, shown here, can recreate almost any architectural style.
While busily recreating historically accurate details such as thick bottom rails or true divided lites, historic-window manufacturers are simultaneously taking advantage of new window technology, including low-E and insulated glass, sturdy locking systems and hardware, and high-endurance paints. The combination of technology and craftsmanship make historic windows a value-added design element.
“One sector where you can still get a very nice home equity rate is on the remodeling retrofit side,” Williams says. “Homeowners are realizing that this is a great place to invest, especially with all the options available to bring older homes back to their original beauty.”