Dear Burnett Brothers:
Shame on you for writing an article encouraging people to replace their wood double-hung windows without any consideration of the type of home and type of replacement window, and whether the two go together.
Many old, historic or potentially historic houses have been irreparably altered by people who put in aluminum windows, for example, in a Victorian. When significant features of a historic building are altered, the historic integrity and status can be lost, and the building can more likely be lost.
When historic buildings are lost, through loss of integrity or demolition, they are irreplaceable.
Homeowners should always consider their home’s style and architecture when replacing windows. You should do better than this when you are trying to educate the public.
A: Easy now! We agree with all of your points but one. You’re all wet when you accuse us of promoting the destruction of the architectural integrity of historic homes.
Our regular readers know that we champion historic preservation at every turn. Whenever possible, we try to relay our hands-on experience to our readers. From century-old Italianate Victorians to Craftsman bungalows, we cut our teeth refurbishing homes in Alameda, Calif., a town known for its historic housing stock.
We’re sensitive to the destruction of these treasures such as the grand Victorian mansion that once stood at the corner of Tilden Way and Buena Vista Avenue that was demolished to make way for, of all things, a self-serve car wash. It’s a crime that endures to this day.
A few weeks ago, one of our regulars asked us how to exchange the wood double-hung windows in his house for double-glazed vinyl replacements. From previous correspondence, we knew that his home is a 1940s-vintage stucco house. He was unclear as to how he could replace the wood double-hungs without destroying the exterior stucco.
We answered the question, explaining that manufacturers of replacement windows design them to fit neatly inside the opening once the old wood sashes have been removed. His proposed window replacement project did not offend us.
Although replacing the old wood sashes with new ones would certainly be an option for our reader, given his particular house, it’s a no-brainer to go with energy-efficient, double-pane replacement windows. …CONTINUED