Sourcing Windows for Historic Renovation

Bringing something back to life is an exciting venture.  Whether restoring antique machines or renovating historic buildings, the devil is in the details. Typically when you’re looking to do a truly historic renovation, you’re required to meet various renovation codes established by the state or even the local historic society.

Commercial Versus Residential Window Projects

Many historic renovations we’ve been a part of have been commercial properties.  Commercial properties are able to apply for certain tax breaks or credits when they maintain historic standards.  In most of these instances, the developers require a large volume of the same windows in order to consistently update the whole building.  It’s not easy to find specific windows like this in bulk quantities.  Fortunately, with access to Marvin products, we have the ability to mass customize windows to meet just about any need for historical applications.

When it comes to residential properties, owners aren’t typically eligible for similar tax credits.  At the same time, the local or other historical societies may still have the jurisdiction to mandate the design of any renovations. This sort of intervention may deter you from making changes since you won’t have the creative freedom you may have hoped for or if you aren’t interested in the added expense involved with either customizing products or seeking out the required designs.  There are those who embrace the unique experience of revitalizing the original look that their home had over 100 years earlier, especially if they live in an old neighborhood.

Matching the Historical Window Designs

If you want to do a truly historic renovation, you’ll need to match the specific grill patterns and color schemes associated with the initial design.  There are two ways to make sure you truly match the historic features. One way to go is to look at old photographs that the city has on record to see exactly what the building used to look like. Often these resources might include things such as local libraries and historical preservation societies. Once you have some photographic records, you can then start your search for windows to match the originals.  The second way is to simply look at what you’ve got.  So long as you have a few of the originally designed windows still installed, it’ll be fairly easy to tell what needs matching.

Most historic windows were all wood, which can come with a high level of maintenance going forward.  That could present a future challenge in cost and customization options.  This is one of the reasons Marvin is a national leader in historic renovation. Marvin offers wood products with full customization so you can match the old designs exactly while getting a product built with modern materials.  In addition, Marvin employs architectural project managers that specialize in supporting historic rehabilitation projects. When it comes to historic architectural renovation, no one has a better understanding of the historic needs of window and door solutions like Marvin.


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