Why is it important to preserve older buildings?
Old buildings are living history, the tangible fabric of a bygone age with each characteristic and attribute a testament to another time. Most villages and towns have a range of old properties which tell their story through architectural design and style, revealing detail through the use of different materials and craftsmanship and acting as a tangible record of trade, lifestyle and bygone communities.
Hertfordshire is full of the most spectacularly well-preserved buildings. Towns and villages across the county display museum standard houses spanning the last four or five centuries.
There are several key architectural traits which, combined with building materials, will hallmark a house, attaching it to a particular era and status in society. These features include the roof, the doors and the windows. Windows are the eyes of the house and windows which are the wrong style or produced in the wrong material or colour will jar and adversely affect the whole design aesthetic of any older or period property.
Sash windows hit their zenith in the Georgian period and Hertfordshire is bursting with Georgian and early Victorian properties which feature sash windows as one of their key characteristics. Sash windows are a labour of love, they can be temperamental because of the delicate system of weights and pulleys but their authenticity is beyond question.
Old windows can be associated with old houses which are cold and draughty and it was always the price you had to pay for real period charm and style. But now it is possible to enjoy a cosy, draught-free environment without sacrificing one of the key design features on your period home.
Preserve older buildings: moder materials
New glass concepts can offer all the benefits of double glazing without large, heavy modern units which destroy the appearance of an old and characterful property. Fineo glass can insulate and block out sound with a pane of glass at a thickness of only 6.7mm, perfect for the old frames and delicate weights of a Georgian sash window.
Now you can enjoy your original windows without compromising on home comforts and the thermal efficiency of the glass will improve your home’s energy rating as well as lowering your utility bills.
Wooden sash windows will be prone to rot over many years but it isn’t necessary to replace them. Original sash windows can be repaired with a new wood called Accoya which has taken the building industry by storm because of its immense durability and longevity.
One of the key elements of period properties, part of their cachet, is the abundance of original features. Upgrade where you can make a key and sensitive improvement, repair rather than replace but enjoy the benefits of 21st-century technology and use wood with the most remarkable longevity. Enjoy weatherproofing and durability without having to compromise on an original material.
Repair not replace
Society is rediscovering the old-fashioned concept of repair rather than throw away due to increasing awareness of one-use products like plastic which are harmful to the environment. Preserve older buildings. Repair rather than discard is the watchword for the 21st century and when it comes to old and period properties, preserve and improve rather than change.
Owning an old house is being the custodian of a piece of history, within the community that you live in and the wider area. Original period features are sought after by buyers and the most popular houses are those which subtly weave 21st-century design, knowhow and materials into the fabric of the house, using them to preserve rather than alter. Cherishing that house and handing it on to the next person is a job well done.