Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rudimental to Re-muddle to Replication

The former Hotel Windham in Bellows Falls, Vermont was built to replace three previous hotels that had burned.  Old House Journal coined the word “remuddle” and nowhere is it more appropriate than on this project recently completed by The Woodstone Company.

  The classic fenestration was built in the 1930's and lasted until the era of remuddeling, the 1950's,

 when this beautiful facade was replaced with …. this...

At some point, even the remuddleing was remuddled, when this old wooden door was installed, probably after someone salvaged part of the aluminum storefront.

A restoration opportunity...

Using elements of the original windows and old photographs, the new windows were created and installed...

Here is the facade as it appears today...

Retail space is now available at: The Windham

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Authentic True Divided Lites vs. Simulated Divided Lites

Woodstone® Authentic True Divided Lites vs. 
…Simulated Divided Lite ‘Superiority’ in Windows and Doors

Fact or Fiction?
Under the guise of recent technical service bulletins, some Insulating Glass (IG) manufacturers are reporting that SDL (Simulated Divided Lite) IG is “significantly more beneficial” than Authentic or TDL (True Divided Lite) IG. But careful review of the claim exposes flaws in the logic. Let’s consider each claim.

Reduced Material and Labor costs?
In a typical wooden SDL Window or Door, there is a wooden full lite frame, a full lite IG unit with a metal grille inside the IG air space, and then two additional wooden grilles – permanently glued to the sides of the IG and the SDL window or door frame.
An Authentic Woodstone® True Divided Lite (TDL) Window or Door has one wooden Divided Lite frame in which the TDL IG units are installed.
Labor savings realized by installing one large SDL IG unit rather than several smaller authentic lites are offset by the additional labor and material required to fabricate and glue the two additional wooden grilles to the glass and window or door frame. 

Reduced air and water infiltration?
Read the performance standards of any window or door before you purchase it. Woodstone® fabricates TDL windows and doors that meet or exceed the most stringent industry standards. 

Improved Thermal Performance?  
Woodstone® TDL windows and doors can include the same high performance glazing used in SDL windows and doors.

Large IG units have less seal edge stress than small IG units?
This is true. And it’s why the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC) standard requires IG fabricators to annually test only small IG units. And Woodstone’s® TDL Insulated Glass has the highest IGCC CBA rating available.

Small IG units installed in high altitude locations require breather tubes to offset air pressure?
True again. But large IG units fabricated at sea level and installed at high altitude better have breather tubes too. Otherwise the air pressure differential will bow the glass and stress the seal.

Condensation is reduced with SDL units?
 Stainless Steel Spacer is about 4 times less conductive than the Aluminum Spacer with which some SDL units are fabricated.
However, the Composite IG spacer Woodstone® uses in its TDL IG units is 85 times less conductive than the Stainless Steel spacer inside the so-called Superior SDL air space.

SDL IG requires only one Federal identifying logo where Safety Glass is required?
According to the 780 CMR 2405.0 SAFETY GLAZING building code, when logos are specified, only one logo per sash or door is typically required with TDL too. In fact, in some cases, ‘the code’ allows for a Certificate of Compliance in lieu of any logos.
Always check your local building codes.

Reduced Breakage Potential?
At Woodstone®, we were somewhat surprised by this claim. Not because it’s false (and it is, patently false), but because it’s the breakage potential of the SDL that creates the greatest liability for the window manufacturer and the consumer.  
Woodstone® specializes in fabricating accurate landmark historic replicate windows and doors. Consider what happens if the IG breaks or the IG seal finally does fail. If your window or door is anything like the Woodstone® Palladian pictured above, and wind-blown debris or a stone thrown from a lawn mower breaks the IG, or you accidently scratch, crack or break the glass while cleaning it or doing routine maintenance… then what?
Glass can be damaged or break from time to time. Broken IG in a so-called Superior Divided Lite (SDL) unit requires expensive replacement costs. With an Authentic or True Divided Lite (TDL) Woodstone® window or door, just replace the small pane of IG.
Furthermore, most SDL units are significantly heavier than TDL windows and doors because the glass must be thicker and SDL IG is typically incompatible with historic restoration glass.
Even shipping and handling SDL units poses a higher breakage risk compared to Authentic True Divided Lite windows and doors.

The Final Analysis.
Using SDL IG in a vinyl replacement window is one thing. But as a long term investment, using SDL in a high quality historic landmark window or door, designed to last for generations, fabricated with restoration glass, fine lumber and hardware, and unique custom moldings and finishes inside and out, is another matter entirely. After all, high quality Woodstone® TDL windows and doors will last significantly longer than the duration of any limited IG warranty.   

Consider this: When a window or door is expected to last for generations, as have many of the windows and doors Woodstone® replicates, how many times will the so-called Superior SDL window or door have to be replaced - in its entirety – and at what future cost?

Most SDL IG manufacturers making the claim of superiority only warrant the replacement of the IG, not the window or door in which the IG is installed. And they typically honor the IG warranty only to the manufacturer purchasing the IG unit, not to the end consumer.
This explains why many SDL window and door manufacturers warrant their products to the consumer for shorter periods of time, even when the SDL IG is warranted to the manufacturer for longer time periods.  
Always read the warranty.

Authentic True Divided Lites (TDL) …

    …vs. Simulated or ‘Superior’ Divided Lites (SDL)? 

                                                            You decide.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Solstice has arrived...


When summer arrives, it is a warning that winter is right around the corner.  Projects needing to be closed in by winter should have their windows on order by now.  That doesn't mean it's too late, but it does mean that for proper planning and design control, the clock is ticking.

     Sanding a mahogany bow sash

    Woodstone is known for solid, reliable, "bench built" wood windows and doors.  But, for some of our customers, our ability to coordinate our windows and doors with other millwork is a convenience as well as an opportunity to have properly scheduled delivery of related millwork all built by the same hands.

    Wainscoting and paneled interiors built and finished to match door panels in interior doors, ready to install, can be a boost to efficiency on the job, as well as consistency in detail and appearance.

    Let us show you what we can accomplish with your designs.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Getting Ready for the Holidays

Let's talk about window and door maintenance.  It’s a dull subject, perhaps, that architects and builders alike sometimes do not emphasize; but in reality, maintenance engineering is a significant cost saving device when done well.  There is the satisfaction of beautiful results and environmental sensitivity, as well as the value retention of the product and the building in which the windows and doors are installed.

For example, windows and doors are always subject to damage over time from weather, sun light, accidental and or malicious disregard, as well as negligence, all resulting in diminished appearance, performance and value. 

With the onset of winter, we see varying extremes.  And while our first objective may be to match original landmark architecture, Woodstone engineers its products for ease of maintenance to better preserve original value, diminish risk, and protect its windows and doors from deterioration over the long haul.  With Woodstone’s high resistant wood species, modern finishes, and traditional wood joinery, deterioration under most circumstances is not only limited, it is easily maintained and repaired.  That’s why it’s wise, from time to time, to inspect your windows and doors for cuts, scratches and scrapes that may compromise the finish. 

One thing leads to another.  If a scrape penetrates the finish, eventually water penetrates into the wood, into the wood joinery and, perhaps, to the edge of the insulating glass. In the winter, freezing and thawing can cause movement in the various sash and door elements, and when the trapped moisture is heated by the sun, water vapor is forced deeper into the wood joinery mortises and rabbets. 

If an individual True Divided pane of Insulating Glass (IG) seal fails, or the glass breaks, in a Woodstone window or door, it can be easily replaced.  Not so, if it’s a Simulated Divided Lite window or door.  SDL units that fail in almost any way must be replaced as a whole, and this can be a prohibitively expensive venture when matching original architectural details.

If the paint finish is damaged on a Woodstone window or door, repainting is easily managed with minimal preparation. Finishes and sealant can be spot applied without the need for stripping the entire window or door. Clad windows, on the other hand, obscure deterioration over time. Moisture that finds its way through the cladding often rots the wood beneath, creating pervasive damage before the deterioration is discovered. And, assuming a historically accurate clad window is available in the first place, once a clad window is damaged, it is very difficult to maintain and expensive to replace. 

Remember: if a window or door is presented as being’ maintenance free’, it probably can't be maintained and it ultimately ends up in a landfill. Read the warranty. Compare the risks.  As you will see in the following article, Maintenance Makes Cents TM.                                 

The Queensbury

The Queensbury Hotel
Glens Falls, New York

If it says "Maintenance Free"

                 ... then it probably can't be maintained.

There have been numerous articles, blogs and comments on this subject.  Barbara Campagna, Director of Architecture for the National Trust’s 29 historic sites, wrote in Preservation Nationthe newsletter for the National Trust For Historic Preservation , a ‘tirade’ (her words) on Vinyl Replacement Windows. I suggest anyone contemplating an historic window replacement read the article.

Of particular interest is a comment in the article by Mike Jackson (Chief Architect of the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office); in which he characterizes replacement windows touting ‘no maintenance' as:
“No Maintenance required” really means
 “can’t be repaired” – so they end up in the
 landfill much sooner than say a wood window
 which can be repaired and repaired and repaired, or recycled.”

If a new custom finished, hardwood window, with true divided light (not simulated)insulating glass, and the same details, appearance and function as the original, was available, and it provided energy efficiency, easy maintenance and a useful life longer than that of the original, wouldn’t it be worth considering?

If you purchase a window with a ‘no maintenance’ moniker designed to last for 20 years and compare it to the cost of a more expensive landmark historic wood window designed to last for 100 years or more with efficiently planned maintenance, what cost/benefit considerations come to mind? How many times can you afford to replace a ‘no maintenance window’ and still remain true to the landmark historic details of a property on the historic register?

                             ...read more

Friday, September 30, 2011


Westminster, Vermont  
Greetings to our friends,

First, yes, we survived Irene.  We were surprisingly untouched as the eye of the storm passed directly over us on its way up the Connecticut River to Canada. We can't say the same for our neighbors, many of whom lost driveways, outbuildings and in some cases, their homes.  East of us were high winds and to the west of us, more rain than Vermont has seen in a century.  You've seen the news.

Thanks to all who asked.  If you feel like helping, Vermont Foodbank is a great cause to support.

This edition of the newsletter is about high performance glazing and things to be aware of.  For your convenience, we will link you to the article on our web site and keep the email to a minimum so as not to fill your inbox. 

 A word about High Performance Glass
Terms such as Low Emissivity, Heat Mirror, Pyrolytic, Sputtered, Argon Filled, Double Sealed, SuperSpacer and others are being used with increasing frequency. Trade magazines are featuring articles on high performance glazing in one issue after the other. And why not? Energy conservation is serious business. Unfortunately, and as with any new, high-tech products, the relevant details are usually complex. Miscommunication, misunderstanding, mistakes and misuse come with the territory of high performance glazing as well. While we do not profess to be expert in physics or chemistry, we have had significant and increasing experience with the testing and use of several of these new products and would like to take this opportunity to share the following thoughts with you...