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5 Ways to NOT Electrocute Yourself

5 ways to not electrocute yourself

This week’s post is a guest post by Spencer Blohm about electrical safety. Since the National Safety Council, has designated the month of June as National Safety Month I thought it was a fitting post as we crank up the AC and start pushing hard on our home’s electrical service. Be safe this summer and follow these easy tips to NOT electrocute yourself! Summer is also prime time to get going on home renovation projects, and a significant percentage of […] Read on →

All About Wavy Glass

all about wavy glass

Lots of us appreciate the wavy glass we find in our old windows. Some don’t even know what they have, but for those of us who have taken note of the unique appearance of wavy glass the new stuff just won’t cut it. Old glass has bubbles, waves, inclusions, varying thickness…all kinds of beautiful imperfections and that’s exactly why we love it! I’m sure I’m not the only one, but to me modern float glass is too perfect. There’s […] Read on →

Practical Preservation

practical preservation

Historic preservation may seem to some like a high brow art form only suitable for the nation’s architectural treasures. The artisans and craftsmen working to restore George Washington’s Mt. Vernon or an immensely talented artist restoring some Renaissance age frescos. These things are all well and good and an important part of the preservation movement, but they are not the bulk of the work being done today. There is a huge part of the preservation world that is […] Read on →

Oil vs Latex: Which Paint is Best?

oil vs latex which paint is best

“Should I use oil or latex paint?” It’s a question I get asked a lot. Oil vs latex, the two paints are very different and each has their strengths and weaknesses. In this post I’ll try to help you figure out when and where each type of paint will excel so you can make the right decision for your project. The landscape of painting has been changing quickly since the introduction of latex paint by Sherwin Williams in 1941. […] Read on →

The Real Economics of Preservation

The Real Economics of Preservation

I get lots of questions about the economics of preservation. What’s real and what’s white noise. While I’m not an economist or even remotely math-centric a big reason why I do what I do is because of the economic reality that historic preservation is good for our communities. Historic preservation improves property values, helps with density, is beneficial to the environment, as well as a myriad of other benefits to both residents and local governments. I’m going to throw […] Read on →

Is Vinyl Ever a Good Idea?

is vinyl ever a good idea

Vinyl is everywhere these days and in many different forms when it comes to construction. Replacement windows, siding, gutters, flooring, trim, soffits, it’s everywhere! The vinyl industry will tell you this is a good thing. After all, vinyl products are relatively inexpensive and maintenance free. Isn’t that what we all want these days?   Maybe so but at what cost? In the race to the bottom vinyl has taken over huge swaths of the building industry and it […] Read on →

Bring Back the Front Porch

bring back the front porch

I think it’s time we brought back the front porch. For too long our garages have been growing while our porches have been shrinking. We insulate ourselves and our homes to keep the outside world out and the inside world in and we become more reclusive and less social in the process. Even going back as late as the 70s and 80s in my childhood we would play outside with the neighborhood kids until the sun went down. […] Read on →

Preservation Month: One Month to Save America

Preservation Month

May is Historic Preservation month in America so it’s time for us preservationists to fly our freak flag. It’s true that Historic Preservation Month has to share the spotlight with National Barbecue Month and Lumpy Rug Day (May 3rd), but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our part too. Why does historic preservation need a month? It’s simple, we’ve already lost too many of our nation’s architectural treasures, and one month a year to remind us of why […] Read on →

No Joanna, That’s Not Shiplap

What is Shiplap

My wife and I like most all old home owners are fans of a lot of the restoration themed DIY shows these days. Rehab Addict, Barnyard Builders, American Pickers and of course Fixer Upper. Their designs and passion to keep original elements of old houses is so rare in the renovation game that I can’t help but root for them to succeed. One of my favorite shows is definitely Fixer Upper. Partly because I’m from Texas and partly […] Read on →

1st Annual Sash Revival

sash revival 2016

May is National Preservation Month and there are all kinds of events planned around the country to raise awareness about historic preservation. The Window Preservation Alliance (WPA) decided to get in on the act too! Throughout May our members nationwide will be hosting free local workshops on restoring wood windows. We’re calling these events Sash Revivals because we’re hoping that is just one month we can revive hundreds if not thousands of window sash. Here’s your chance to […] Read on →

How To: Diagnose Common Plaster Problems

How To Diagnose Common Plaster Problems

After a century or so plaster walls and ceilings can develop a variety of problems from neglect or abuse. Your plaster can tell you a ton about issues that may be developing around your house if you know how to listen to what it is saying. In this post I’ll show you how to diagnose the most common plaster problems and what they mean. Plaster is often like the canary in the coal mine. If there is a […] Read on →

Plaster vs Stucco: What’s the Difference?

plaster vs stucco

A lot of folks confuse plaster and stucco in old houses. While they are similar in a lot of ways they are different enough that understanding when and where to use them, especially in renovations, is imperative. Their differences are not readily apparent to the naked eye. Plaster and stucco can both be applied much the same way with the same textures and thicknesses, but the main ingredients in each are what make them different animals. Today’s post […] Read on →

How To: Fix Chipped Paint

Chipped Paint

When you have dozens of coats of paint on trim and woodwork touching up paint is not always as simple as grabbing a brush and going to town. When old paint chips off your likely left with a crater in the surface. The layers of paint that have built up over the years have made the surface thicker than it originally was and when the paint chips you are left with what looks like pock marks. So whow […] Read on →

6 Myths About Old Windows

6 myths about old windows

Lie, lies abound when it comes to old windows. Window companies proclaim how their replacement windows will do everything from curing cancer to saving the whales (hyperbole intended!). How can you tell if a window salesman is lying? His lips are moving. There isn’t a single part of an old house that is in nearly as much danger of disappearing as old windows. We’ve been made to believe that they are wasteful, energy hogging, lead encrusted death traps […] Read on →