Resources for restoring historic homes
Whether your home is historic, or simply old, these resources will help you save money and maintain the distinctive architectural style of the house you love. (See the main page in this section for local organizations and research resources.)
Note that while some members of the Society have experience with some of these, this list doesn't represent an endorsement. If you have experiences with any of these, or others you recommend we add, please let us know.Tips from homeowners
- View tips from owners of historic homes in Marlborough and contribute your own experiences here.
- Index to resources on the Historic New England site
- New England Demolition and Salvage, New Bedford, MA
- Restoration Resources, Boston
- Olde Bostonian, Boston
- Bulding Materials Resource Center, Boston--Also has new items; $10/yr. fee.
- The Old House Parts Company, Kennebunk, ME
- Portland Architectural Salvage, Portland, ME
- Nor'east Architectural Antiques, South Hampton, NH
- Architectural Salvage, Exeter, NH
- ADMAC Salvage, Littleton, NH
- Architectural Salvage Warehouse, Essex Junction, VT
- Vermont Salvage, White River Junction, VT
- Irreplaceable Artifacts, Middletown, CT
View Architectural Salvage in New England in a larger map
Please send us comments and suggestions for this list of resources.
Architects and builders
- The Consultant Directory, from Preservation Massachusetts, with architects, engineers, builders,and others that specialize in historic preservation and restoration. (Some of these firms focus on large public projects, so explain the scope of your project when first making inquiries)
- The Directory of Preservation Products and Services, from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.
Courses and instructional material
Hands-on courses, literature, and instructional videos in one or more aspects of historic preservation:
- The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, part of the National Park Service--Great online resources and classes around the country.
- The Preservation Trades Network, in Amherst, New Hampshire, has courses in New England and elsewhere around the country.
- Yestermorrow, Warren, VT
- Historic Restorations, Lancster, PA
- The Rufus Porter Museum, Bridgton, ME, known for their mural classes; also classes on other preservation, restoration, and craft topics.
By Roger Moss, an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation Program:
- Century of Color: Exterior Decoration for American Buildings, 1820-1920 (1981)--A classic; includes paint color samples.
- Victorian Exterior Decoration: How to Paint Your Nineteenth-Century American House Historically (1992)
- Paint in America: The Colors of Historic Buildings (1995)
- Bungalow Colors Exteriors (2002)
- The Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL) is ". . .primarily a collection of American and Canadian, pre-1964 architectural trade catalogs, house plan books and technical building guides. Trade catalogs are an important primary source to document past design and construction practices. These materials can aid in the preservation and conservation of older structures as well as other research goals."
Porches, railings, and latticework
An excellent hands-on workshop, covered in five videos. (Bear with the lead-in; the workshop itself is very good.)
Simple Steps to Working Windows (Part 2 of 5)
Simple Steps to Working Windows (Part 3 of 5)
Simple Steps to Working Windows (Part 4 of 5)
Simple Steps to Working Windows (Part 5 of 5)
From the YouTube description of the event that was taped:
Simple Steps to Working Windows was filmed in Kalamazoo, Michigan, during the first of several window rehabilitation workshops held by the City of Kalamazoo and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. During the initial workshop, twelve contractors were trained.
Windows: Energy Efficiency
The interest in energy efficiency and concerns over the suitability of wood windows today indicated a need for additional resources and a dedicated section.
- Resources from the New England Window Restoration Alliance, including reasons to repair rather than replace your wood windows and a list of people that specialize in restoring wood windows.
- The National Trust for Historic Preservation's window information for homeowners and their newest study, released in December 2012.
- Several excellent instructional videos from the Kansas Historical Society in conjunction with their state's historic preservation effort.
- Articles from Old House Journal magazine on restoring sash windows and tuning up wood windows for winter.
- A Comparative Study of the Cumulative EnergyUse of Historical Versus Contemporary Windows (December 3, 2010). From the conclusion, which begins on p. 19:
- Several additional studies that evaluated replacing versus repairing windows.
- Energy efficiency is discussed in Testing the Energy Performance of Historic Windows in a Cold Climate (U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, Publication No. 1997-16)
[Note: The entire document appears below this excerpt.]
"A study was undertaken to determine the feasibility of renovating and upgrading an original condition window to the extent that its thermal performance would be equivalent to a window using replacement sash or window inserts. The study was funded by the State of Vermont Division for Historic Preservation based on a grant received from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training of the U.S. National Park Service. . . .
"Estimated annual savings per window due to renovations or upgrades ranged from zero to a high of $3.60 as compared to a typical baseline window. Annual savings compared to a tight window ranged from $0.05 to $2.10 per window while savings compared to a loose window ranged from $12.40 to $16.60 per window. Pay-back period for any upgrade as compared to any of the typical windows was measured in decades.
"A systematic upgrade of an original sash window can potentially approach the thermal performance of an upgrade utilizing replacement sash although decisions should not be based solely on energy considerations due to the similarity in savings between upgrades. It was found that approximately 85% of energy costs associated with thermal losses through and around a window were due to non-infiltrative losses. . . ."