Windows, doors and others
Windows, doors, gates, storefronts etc. are not only a functional part of a building but also an aesthetic one. They form and complete its design and often have an artistic value of their own. That is why they too are protected.
This does include not only frames and sashes but also the fittings – hinges, handles, locks, different opening mechanisms, hanging stiles or angles. We must also not forget other elements like, for example, shutters, grates and storefronts of different types made not only from wood but also metal.
One building can often contain structures from different eras. If they are well made they can last for a hundred years or more. They can have different styles and might even have a design different from the building itself. It is a part of the evolution of the building and this kind of variety is valuable in itself.
Repairs and replacements
If the owner of a protected building or a building in a protected area decides to replace these they should consult that decision with the local heritage preservation office. They can help in discerning which elements are valuable and should be preserved and which can be replaced.
Windows, doors and other similar structures are usually refurbished by craftsmen and maintained by applying new paint. Those artistically more valuable, or those done in intricate techniques (carvings, inlays, stained glass etc.) have to be restored by a certified specialist.
If a historic building has been later fitted with modern, unsuitable windows that are aesthetically or functionally damaging, it is beneficial to replace them with windows that are a better fit. We recommend reverting to the original design if it can be found on historic photographs, on analogical buildings in the area or through other methods. The heritage preservation specialists will help you to identify what the originals looked like (or could have looked like) and find an optimal solution.
The establishment of the colour scheme is one of the fundamental parts of a refurbishment of windows, doors and other similar structures. In this case it is useful to commission an analysis of relevant spots. If they are severely damaged or if an earlier refurbishment lead to complete removal of original colour it is useful to contact a heritage preservation specialist. The colour scheme should reflect the era and the shape of the structure and fit with the design of the facade.
Plastic windows, eurowindows
The current trend of replacing historic wooden window frames for plastic or so-called eurowindows is based on an erroneous belief that they need no maintenance and will last forever. Heritage preservation specialists insist that for historic buildings wooden crafted windows are better not only aesthetically but also functionally.
Even though the makers of plastic windows often try to offer customers plastic windows with historical elements – aka copies of historic designs – they can never achieve the same look, level of detail, segmentation and dimensions of moulding as a crafted wooden window. The details and the fittings typical for historic windows like hinges, handles and stiles disappear. Metal lattices or stick-on plastic mouldings that are supposed to imitate historic segmentation look inauthentic and do not last very long. The way the window frame fits into the opening is also important. Plastic windows or eurowindows are often fitted into the place of former inner frame of double windows and this results in windows that are placed far deeper into the obverse side of the wall and end up looking like deep holes in the facade.