July Meeting Recap: Windows 101 at Chapman House

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For our July meeting we met at Chapman House in River Bend. This grand old house is being restored by a team led by Katelyn McBurney, a local performance and visual artist. The house is going to become affordable housing, studio, and display space for resident artists.

Chapman House, 1711 7th St. Photo by Mary Willie. www.photogwillie.com
Chapman House, 1711 7th St. Photo by Mary Willie. www.photogwillie.com

Local window restoration specialist, Erica Luna, walked us through how to assess the condition of a window, using the dining room windows of Chapman House as examples.

Erica Luna explains window assessment at Chapman House. Photo by Mary Willie. www.photogwillie.com
Erica Luna explains window assessment at Chapman House. Photo by Mary Willie. www.photogwillie.com

Understanding the balance of what each window has and what each one needs will help homeowners build a plan for restoring them. Erica explained that there’s a range of options for how to approach the whole collection of windows in a house as well as each window individually. In some cases, a window can be stabilized or made functional without the immediate need for a full restoration. By bringing the window’s basic maintenance up to date, a homeowner can buy some time until a more complete restoration is possible. With careful planning, homeowners can experience minimal discomfort in energy loss while working through their windows’ problems.

Erica also addressed the need for adequate storm windows, whether they’re historic wood storms or more modern combination storms. Adding them greatly increases a window’s energy efficiency.

Erica Luna explains project planning at Chapman House. Photo by Mary Willie. www.photogwillie.com
Erica Luna explains project planning at Chapman House. Photo by Mary Willie. www.photogwillie.com

Getting the window sashes moving is an important first step. Depending on what’s keeping them stuck, be it paint, screws, or wood swelling, different tools might be called for. Mitigating lead paint while working on windows is another important step and Erica helped us understand what some of the risk factors are for disturbing lead paint when working on windows. Strategies for keeping a lead-safe workspace included keeping a spray bottle with water handy and wiping down surfaces and tools with a damp cloth regularly. Protective breathing protection is also advised to limit the inhalation of airborne lead dust.

Erica Luna demonstrates methods to get a window's sashes moving if they're stuck. Photo by Mary Willie. www.photogwillie.com
Erica Luna demonstrates methods to get a window’s sashes moving if they’re stuck. Photo by Mary Willie. www.photogwillie.com

Erica passed around examples from her collection of tools and discussed sources for buying hardware, replacement wood pieces, and replacement glass. Members shared their own experiences with finding specialty materials and had plenty of questions for Erica about their projects.

Erica Luna discusses tools and materials used in window restoration. Photo by Mary Willie. www.photogwillie.com
Erica Luna discusses tools and materials used in window restoration. Photo by Mary Willie. www.photogwillie.com

Everyone left feeling a little more confident about tackling their own window projects. Many thanks to our gracious host, Katelyn McBurney, and our expert speaker, Erica Luna.