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All About Windows - Part 1

Windows are one of the most recognizable and character-defining features of a historic building. Like doors, windows serve a functional purpose and contribute to the overall style and appearance of a building, specifically as they relate to a building’s proportion, mass, and rhythm. Historic windows in the Village of Lancaster are varied with common types including traditional double-hung windows in varying configurations, as well as bay, fixed, casement, dormer, and decorative windows.

Historic windows can last indefinitely, particularly when they receive regular maintenance and care. These window assemblies were designed to be disassembled and repaired and are generally constructed with high quality, resilient materials. In combination with additional weatherization methods, historic windows can provide energy efficiency equivalent to the installation of replacement windows. Poor maintenance, inappropriate repairs, or replacements can compromise the integrity and overall appearance of historic buildings. Historic windows should not be replaced unless they deteriorated beyond repair.

Windows in historic wood frame buildings are typically twice as tall as they are wide. Traditional trim includes sill, jamb (at sides) and head with a wood drip edge at the top to shed water.

Many modern windows lack traditional surrounding trim and do not match the proportions of historic windows are therefore not visually compatible with historic buildings.

Recommended Window Maintenance

· Check for any damage or wear

· Check for clean and well-kept condition

· Repair any attachments or hardware

· Correct any painted surfaces showing flaking, fading or otherwise deteriorated conditions.

· Replace broken glass

Read Preservation Brief Number 9: The Repair of Historic Wooden Windows ( for further information and guidance.

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