Restoration and Repair

Good preservation work seeks to keep as much original material as possible.  There is no substitute for the real thing.  Once the original part is gone; a photograph, a drawing, or even reproduction is at best a good fascimile - a suggestion of what was really there.    This is why in general, historic sites seek to stablize original material rather than replace with replicated parts.  Sometimes this also makes sense for work on private residences.  In the following two cases, a combination of approaches were used.  In both, the owners wanted to restore at reasonable cost.  Conserving many of the surviving components was the best way to do this.  As is frequently the case, previous 'repairs' hid, and to some extent exacerbated problems.


This situation is all too common.  Replacement windows go in, but the surrounding woodwork (and masonry) is not repaired. When the caulk around the window (or aluminum trim they add) cracks, water gets in easily but has a hard time drying out. Eventually the wood and masonry decay enough that during a wind driven rain, the water gets into the walls and ceilings.    Good for 20 years?  Then what? Do it again plus some structure work. What a bargain!  There are times when a replacement window is a good option, but not as many cases as many believe.  Call for second opinion.
 The sill on the right was reconstructed after carefully making measured drawings (see below)and removing the damaged materials .  Roofing cement and two bricks had to be cut out to access the sill. New aprons and copper flashing insure rain and snow won't get  behind the wall.  Note the flashing tucks into the mortar joint under the sill.

This pair of windows had both replacement windows and triple track storms windows.  Here it was the roofer who suspected the windows as the source of water leaking in.  The wood sills under the replacement windows had rotted.  One window sill was saveable using conservation techniques.   Itt was also found that only the cheapest replacement windows could be had for a price close to having new wood sash made up.  The sash weights were still in their pockets and exact  pulleys were found to fit in the original holes.  New storm windows (painted black to match) were added after this photo was taken,


Porch and Columns

This porch restoration used a combination of preservation approaches.  For example, none of the three columns matched each other.  Two were fairly similar in age and details while the third was much newer.  Replacing all three was investigated, but to get columns, bases, and capitals that were scaled properly for this porch required custom work.  That made conservation of the columns a hands down winner.
Yup, this looks bad. Amazing what trim and paint hide at first glance.  OK we knew it was bad, thats why we were there, but unless it is caught early, problems are ususally worse below the surface.  The column had not been directly supported, as water from the roof got into the woodwork, the bottom of the column and the floor rotted and sank.  The front beam had a half fast repair and had also begum to decay.    Our approach was still minimal intervention, although replacing everything is an option many prefer to take.
That leader (from the roof drain) was part of the problem here. Once we opened the roof, we found the original location and drainage pattern.
The main columns were restored and in one case reinforced.  One original base turning was stabalized (far right) as were two capitals (not shown) .  Other parts were reproduced. The square bases were made on a design to allow drainage and drying.
Digging through the layers roof revealed a second story porch floor over the real roof. As much original material as possible was left in place to provide guidance for the replacement rafters. Porch structural stabalized with restored columns, roof, new floor and trim. New railing, stairs, and lattice work followed.

Need advice? condition assesment? historical analysis?
While I can and will occasionally do contracting jobs (like those shown here) that is not our focus.
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