Specification Requirements for Proposed
Storm Windows
in Historic Buildings


State Historic Preservation Office
Oklahoma Historical Society
800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  73105

Energy conserving features are often proposed as part of a rehabilitation project.  Such decisions are encouraged, provided the proposed treatments meet the Secretary of the Interior's "Standards for Rehabilitation."

The installation of storm windows is often proposed as an energy conservation feature.  This treatment can be beneficial when it saves energy and when it results in retaining the historic windows.  The preservation of original windows is preferred over replacing them with new double-glazed units.  Appropriate storm windows must be visually compatible with the historic windows over which they will be installed.  The following criteria should be taken into consideration when choosing storm windows:

  1. Interior versus Exterior:  Interior storm windows are often preferable because they may be the least visually obtrusive.  Also, maintenance is easier and installation is less expensive from the interior.

  2. Material:  Ideally, the material used for storm windows should match the material of the windows over which they will be installed.

  3. Finish:  The color of the proposed storm windows should match the color of the existing windows, unless documentation shows an alternate color scheme is historically appropriate.  Shiny or metallic finishes are usually not appropriate.

  4. Glass:  Storm window glass should be clear.

  5. Design:  Storm windows should match the size and overall design of the historic windows.  This can be accomplished by lining up major divisions of the storm windows with major divisions of the historic windows.  If historic storm windows exist, they should be retained, or used as a basis for the design of replacement storm windows.

  6. Placement:  Storm windows cannot cover significant historic trim or moldings, and should be as flush as possible within the opening.  Storm windows that radically step outward from the existing plane of the moldings are not appropriate.

In order to review proposed storm windows for conformance with the Secretary of the Interior's "Standards for Rehabilitation," the following documentation should be prepared and submitted for review:

  1. Specifications for the material, finish, color, and type of glass for the proposed storm windows.

  2. Complete sections of:

                a.  The proposed storm windows including how the windows will be placed within the wall opening,
                b.  Existing or historic windows,
                c.  Moldings and trim.

Figure 1, below, represents an example of a window section showing both an exterior window and a storm window.  Note that the relationship of the storm window to the existing wall plane is illustrated.  The major subdivisions of the storm window, such as the meeting rail, line up with the major subdivisions of the existing window.  This storm window appears to meet the Secretary of the Interior's "Standards for Rehabilitation."

For more information contact:

State Historic Preservation Office
Oklahoma Historical Society
800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  73105
(405) 521-6249

 

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