Crippling Rehabs

The majority of Westview’s houses are made up of beautiful historic 1910s and 1920s era Arts and Crafts construction. Someone once made the statement that the windows are the eyes of these houses. Which begs the question – why would you want to tear out your houses eyes?

Unfortunately that is precisely what is happening in the neighborhood and around the country. Homeowners, and even more so investors, looking for a quick “improvement”, are tearing out the eyes of these historic homes to replace them with cheap vinyl windows. Just as asbestos was once touted the grand new fad that would eliminate maintenance, vinyl window sales people are now convincing homeowners that their beautiful old wood windows require too much maintenance and are not energy efficient.

So before you tear out your old windows, or if you see that investor next to you getting ready to tear out the windows, remember the following points:

  • Properly maintained wood windows last an average of 200 years! In comparison, studies have shown that vinyl windows last an average of 20 years before they become brittle and crack. You do the math.
  • 20% of energy loss is through the windows – the remaining 80% is through roof, walls, floor and chimneys. Looks like you’re better off getting that attic insulated!
  • In housing trends asbestos has come and gone; aluminum has come and gone; polybutylene water lines have come and gone. Wood has proven itself to humans for thousands of years – why not stick with what we know works?
  • You are visually crippling these historic houses by removing such an aesthetically pleasing and matching look. Remember, the “eyes are the windows to the soul” – or in this case, the “windows are the eyes to the [houses] soul”.

For more information regarding truths and myths about replacing historic windows read The Old House Guy’s article “The Truth about Windows and Storm Windows“.

Decatur Old House Fair

With so many historic houses in Westview this fair is a historic homeowner’s dream!

The Decatur Old House Fair – March 6th 

A day long seminar will feature a number of lectures about living in and restoring old houses. Some topics that will be covered:

  • Historic Wood Window Restoration: Did you know that a properly restored historic wood window has higher e-value than most new windows on the market?
  • National Register of Historic Places and Tax Incentives: The National Register of Historic Places is our country’s inventory of the buildings, sites, and cultural landscapes that are historically significant.
  • Researching Your Old House: Ever wanted to know when your house was built and by whom? Who lived in your house and how it has changed over the years?
  • “Greening” Your Old House: The greenest house is the one already built. But, did you know that there is even more you can do to reduce your old home’s carbon footprint?
  • Design Solutions for Additions and New Construction in Historic Neighborhoods: Want to add space to your historic home but don’t want it to look like an addition?
  • How to Hire a Contractor: Interviewing and selecting a contractor is a daunting task and not having all the information can cost you many thousands of dollars.
  • Maintenance Plans for Old Houses: Owning any house means maintenance. Owning a historic home means maintenance and preservation.
  • Historic Landscapes for Old Houses: Historic landscapes tell us so much about lives and interests of previous generations. Each style of home and each time period has its own unique landscape associated with it.

Go to for more information. Advance tickets are $10.