About WPSC

Window Preservation Standards

Older and historic windows can be saved with ordinary maintenance, repairs and energy saving upgrades.

Olson House Window

Olson House Window, Cushing, Maine (photo courtesy John Leeke)

In the Fall of  2010 several window specialists realized the time was right to create national standards for the repair and weatherization of old and historic windows. The Window Preservation Standards Collaborative (WPSC) now includes over one hundred and fifty other window specialists from across the country and in Canada.

Why Now?

There is an immediate need for standards that include well researched energy data as well as a catalog of proven methods used to repair and restore historic windows. We cannot wait for years or decades for a standard to “evolve” since the replacement window industry is now actively destroying millions of historic and perfectly functional old windows every month. Obviously there is nothing green or environmentally sound about this tragedy.

Urgent Action.

The quicker we put this effort into play, the less time the replacement window industry has to spend their tens of millions in marketing money to discredit this critical and objective effort. The window replacement industry’s aggressive marketing has bamboozled homeowners, contractors and property developers into believing window replacement is the only option.  Just because they claim their products are superior does not make it true. Act now or lose your historic windows forever.

New Hope.

Over the last 30 years there have been a few window restoration experts, teaching, repairing, restoring and weatherizing historic windows. For years we all struggled to save windows. The scene has changed. From the National Trust for Historic Preservation to statewide preservation groups to State Offices of Historic Preservation to local preservation groups and Historic Preservation Commissions, saving historic windows has risen to the top of the agenda. Help us get the word out.

More and more architects and property developers are interested in specifying the weatherization and repair of historic windows with little information on standards they can use to do so. Many tradespeople and contractors are starting to do this work, but don’t always know the best methods and materials. It is our purpose to change this by providing standards for sustainable window restoration and definitive energy testing data for effective weatherization.

The Book.

In the summer of 2013 the National Window Preservation Standards book was published and available for purchase. It  catalogs specific methods for the assessment, maintenance, repair, preservation and weatherization of older and historic windows. Many detailed methods, procedures and materials will be included, as well as basic strategies for saving older and historic windows.

National Window Preservation Summit, July 26-28, 2011

WPSC sponsored the first National Window Preservation Summit at The Pine Mountain Settlement School in Pine Mountain, Kentucky. The Summit was a critical research effort. Founders demonstrated the restoration & weatherization methods daily with comments by the advisers at the end of each morning and afternoon session. Energy testing was done to establish the efficiency of the various standards that were adjusted according to the Advisers comments and recommendations. We invited 35 key Advisers from across the country to attend. We also opened the Summit up to 15 Observers.

Fundraising, Sales and Revenue

The WPSC has been raising $119,500 to properly support this project. Many organizations and individuals are contributing dollars, time and effort to support this project.

Sales of the standards document support ongoing printing, fulfillment and future development of the standards project.

Preservation Kentucky, our non-profit fiscal partner, will hold and disburse project monies to support ongoing marketing and development of the standards, to include support for the website, and a project to revise the standards after one or two years.

You can contribute dollars. If you would like to make a contribution please call Betsie Hatfield, Executive Director, Preservation Kentucky at 502-871-4570.

Preservation Kentucky, Preservation Trades Network and the Kentucky Heritage Council are partners in the WPSC project.

For more information, please visit the Forum.

4 Responses to About WPSC

  1. John Leeke says:

    william kidd (http://www.isse.org.uk/) writes:
    December 31, 2011 at 8:25 am (Edit)

    I’m very interested in this field. In the UK I am chairman of ISSE – see web site – and have long been an advocate of the preservation of traditional timber windows – which are very rarely decayed beyond repair – if at all. Often broken sash cords (or blocked weights where the weight has got stuck at an angle in the box sash), old putty and poorly applied layers of paint are the only defects. Such windows are all too often ripped out and replaced by plastic on the grounds of being maintenance free – yet due to the short lifespan of manufacturers and the frames and hinges being composed of many cut or forged metal parts they break or wear out and cannot be replaced resulting in yet another window replacemnt often only a few years later. Whereas seasoned timber including softwood will last hundreds of years and have an elegant and complementary, usually from being handmade to fit, appearence not possible to achieve with mass manufactured /produced products which look ut of place and at odds in a traditionally constructed building.

    Another area of concern is plastic guttering and downpipes. These have caused more dry rot in the UK than anything else. They are in gfact despite marketing claims very high maintenance – constantly requiring refitting and adjustment due to expansion and contraction and degrade with temperature extremes and UV light.
    Wheras cast iron is heavy and can withstand storms, heavy snow and rain, and last over 100 years or indefinately if looked after appropriately.
    johnleeke says:
    January 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm (Edit)

    William, thanks for your interest in preserving windows.

    Here in the USA it is exactly the same: windows that could be maintained and repaired are ripped out, thrown away and replaced with cheap, disposable plastic windows.

    Do you have any formal written standards or guidelines in the UK for saving the fine old windows when you are doing your building survey work?

    I am planning to be in the UK this coming June, perhaps we can meet up to save some windows. Are there any projects with window preservation underway, or museums with historic window exhibits I should plan to see?

    John Leeke

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  3. Shauncee Cooper says:

    Dear Sirs,
    In 2017, I purchased an historic 100 year old summer house in Little Switzerland, NC. Hurricane Michael swept across this mountain top yesterday, driving rain into the north-facing windows. I had puddles of water on the floor: running down into the wall and appearing downstairs dripping from the upper portion of a downstairs window. I’m hoping you can recommend a craftsman or company in the Asheville, NC area I can contact to perform this much needed work.

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