Category Archives: windows

“Vinyl Windows Are [Not] Maintenance Free”

“Vinyl Windows Are Maintenance Free”

I was sent a link to this by Heritage Planner Julie Schueck of the City Of New Westminster.

It is pretty low-budget, but it is a great portrayal of the ongoing debate between the general construction world and the heritage world.  The medium is good , as it also reflects the budget that we have for advertising!



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New Westminster Heritage Workshop a Hit

Click the link to read an article from local paper, The Record, on workshop hosted by the City of New Westminster:

New Westminster Heritage Workshop a Hit

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Repairing your Wood Windows – 1

You should start any restoration project by examining it carefully for rot, loose joints, insect damage and any other major defects.  This particular window is in excellent condition and I am not anticipating finding any damage once we scrape off the paint. 


If you are planning on doing this work yourself you need to be aware that there are hazards involved with this kind of work.  When dealing with painted wood windows in heritage homes, lead paint should always be in your mind.  You can test for lead in your painted surfaces, either with home kits or by taking a sample to a laboratory.  We work under the assumption that anything that received a coat of paint before the mid-1970s (when lead started to be phased out) contains lead.  Here are the steps you would take to keep yourself safe.   

When we are stripping lead paint we do all our work in a booth that keeps the lead dust from spreading.  We wear tyvek suits, respirator masks, good gloves and eye protection.  We wear work shoes that are only for work.  We use heat guns to soften the paint, though most information recommends using chemical strippers to avoid creating lead dust.  Although these do eliminate lead dust, they come with their own special hazards so follow the manufacturers directions.  Do not use open flame to remove paint—this practice went out in the 80s.  If you have children or pets it is best to do this work well away from anywhere they might play or eat.  But don’t take our word for it; here are some good sources of information on lead abatement processes.  Before you go any farther do some reading.

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The Lawson/ Logie Residence

This home was a farm house, built either in the late 1890s or early 1900s with an addition in 1912.  It is a rare surviving example of early pioneer development in the South Vancouver area.  Its defining characteristics include its location very near the lane (not uncommon in this period of development),  its minimal setback, its simple but expressive ‘L’ shape configuration and massing including gable roofs and a covered hipped entry porch.   Much of the exterior features survive from the 1912 addition, including siding, trim and double hung windows.  It currently listed in the ‘C’ evaluation category on the Vancouver Heritage Register.

The property was subject to a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA), permiting a developer to subdivide and develop the new lot in exchange for conserving the farm house.  The original positioning of the house on the northwest corner supported this.

The developer attempted to restore the original windows, but had no experience in this area.  In order meet the HRA requirements, the developer hire us to restore the original sash and perform maintenace on the jambs.  The sash were in good condition, require only a couple of repairs and tightening of the joints. The jambs were repaired in situ, requiring only tightening of joints and some minor glue where the wood had split.  One jamb needed a new sill, but this was able to be done in situ as well.  However, some of the repairs complete before our arrival were highly questionable and the bulk of the labour cost was in undoing the work. 

 Historic information courtesy of by Donald Luxton& Associates Inc.

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Introducing Kathy

Hi, my name Kathy Johnson, I am part owner of Housewright Building & Restoration. I come to this work after a long history as a creative person, I have a theatre degree from SFU, I make new objects out of cast off clothing, reupholster and restore furniture found on the side of the road and design gardens; I am a maker and a fixer and someone who sees beauty in old things. What I like about restoring windows, is taking a sash that looks likes it good for nothing but landfill and restoring it to is original purpose and useful beauty. Each project is unique and the process of transformation always fascinating.

In the next few weeks I am going to lead you step by step through the transformation of a stained glass window sash from beginning to finished product. I hope you enjoy the journey.

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Sustainability and Your Wood Windows

Sustainability and heritage go hand in hand. By preserving the historic elements of your home, such as the windows, not only are you preserving a unique piece of our cultural heritage that would be difficult and expensive to replicate in today’s world, but you are keeping precious resources out of the landfill. Wood windows are made of endlessly repairable components, wood and glass. Glass is easily replaced or reglazed and if the wood is damaged, it can be repaired and in rare cases replaced. Most windows will not require extensive repairs. When your windows have been repaired they will not only look better, they will be weather tight and ready to last for another 50 to 100 years. Try getting that kind of value from a vinyl window. You might be surprised to see how nicely your windows will look after being repaired and repainted even if their condition seems beyond hope.

To explore this topic of sustainability further please check the links on the Vancouver Heritage foundation website and their free downloadable booklet
NEW LIFE OLD BUILDINGS: Your Green Guide to Heritage Conservation

Other links specific to windows
The Repair of Historic Wooden Windows: John H. Myers

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