Category Archives: Window Restoration

Landscape Restoration In Process

Major work continues at Beauport this year– including landscape restoration of the east gardens, more window conservation work, and repainting of the side wall shingles to the historic color.

Here is just a sampling of what’s happening at the site:

Before work and during the landscape restoration

During landscape restoration work

Repainting the side wall shingles to the historic color

 

More windows!

 

Scaffolding installation for repainting and window work

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Harborside Windows Underway

The repairs are underway at the windows located on the harbor side of the building.  Recently, Heartwood Window Restoration removed five windows on the harbor for full conservation.  Most importantly, the Master Mariner’s window–a beautiful Moorish-inspired window on the second floor.

Beauport has a vast number of rooms, mostly based on literary and historical themes.  The Master Mariner’s Room is predominated by a nautical theme shown with objects including sextants, telescopes, compasses, charts and ship’s logs, scrimshaw and other items associated with voyages to faraway ports.  The room’s name alludes to the master mariners of the past, as well as to a professional association of fishing captains, the Gloucester Master Mariners Association, whose members were often entertained there.  

Due to the location of the windows, exterior work is extremely difficult.  The rocky ledge does not allow safe placement of a ladder to reach the second floor and the roof is exceptionally steep above.  The only access is through some sort of scaffolding system— so, taking advantage of the scaffolding in place for the roof replacement project, the team sprung into action.  

 The windows were carefully removed and protected for transportation… then happily returned, fully conserved.

Existing Conditions

 

Conserved and Re-installed

 

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Windows and More Windows

Thanks to the citizens of Gloucester through the Community Preservation Act, Beauport is the proud recipient of $25,000 to continue the much needed window conservation work at the house.

Beauport’s windows consist of wood sash units in varying operation—fixed, casement, and double hung.  The units include wood frames that are joined by a pinned corner mortise and tenon joint and wood muntins separating individual plate glass in diamond and rectangular patterns.  The house includes over 105 window openings with 249 sash units and 10 skylights. Since 2009, approximately 200 sash have been conserved.  The goal for this final phase is to address the remaining windows that include moderate deteriorated glazing and frames and sash that are accessible only by scaffolding on the harbor elevation.

To kick off the final phase, our own Carpentry Crew started the window conservation work late this winter by removing four windows from the Pine Kitchen.  

And Sleeper (the original owner) never disappoints–every time we enter the house, we find something new and exciting.  After years and years of the Pine Kitchen windows being painted shut–and thought to be fixed– the carpentry crew removed the sash and made an interesting discovery.  On either side of the sash and frames were hardware indicating that the windows were once operable.  Tension clips were used on windows that could not accommodate a weight pocket, or were not heavy enough to need one.  The sash would be clipped onto hardware that included a small spring, which would hold the window in place when opened.  The Pine Kitchen windows would have slid into the above wall cavity approximately 6 inches allowing air circulation at the bottom.  

Unfortunately, the hardware is badly rusted and currently not operable–but it is always fun to make a new discovery on how Sleeper used the space.

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Congrats to Us!

The Harbor Elevation

On January 25th, 2011, the Gloucester City Council voted 8 to 0 to appropriate $25,000 from the Community Preservation Act funds (through the Community Preservation Committee) to provide professional conservation care for the remaining windows not yet completed at the house.  This means that we can match the CPA money with the Save America’s Treasures funds already secured and create a $50,000 project!  The money will go towards the final phase of window work at the house.  Approximately 200 windows have already been conserved… only 49 more to go!

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Closed- But Not For Us!

The house might be closed for tours during the winter but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any activity there.  Unfortunately, some of the activity can be a little unwanted…  

The house is constantly monitored for various issues from moisture infiltration and crack monitoring  to pest infestation.  Due to the size of the house and grounds, most off-season walk throughs can take between 2 and 3 hours.

The exterior is monitored for fallen branches or trees, vermin activity, cracked windows, stone wall deterioration or displacement, and snow accumulation.  Monitoring the areas that seem to get the bulk of moisture helps us form better conservation and maintenance planning for the building.  And it is not only the roof that piles on the snow, due to the location of the house on the Gloucester Harbor, the wind can lead to significant snow drifting at the ground level.

On the interior, rooms that have either suffered from leaks previously or are currently suffering from leaks are monitored and assessed for continued damage.  Leaking from the roof due to improper or deteriorated flashing continues to plague the building.  These leaks will be addressed this summer during an intensive roof replacement and chimney repair project at the site.  This work is partially funded by a Save America’s Treasures grant through the Department of the Interior. 

Significant cracks are also monitored at the site.  Although cracking is a normal occurrence as the house settles, any changes in the cracks can be an indication of serious structural issues.  Also, major projects, like a roof replacement, can upset cracks or displace deteriorated framing.  Therefore, significant cracks and any new cracks will be closely monitored during the work.   

Leaks are not the only problems on the interior; pests are another issue and can seriously damage the interior collections of the site.  Beauport has had its fair share of pests from bats, squirrels, and mice to powderpost beetles, silverfish, and spiders.  But that is for another post…

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Phase III Window Work Announced!

Historic New England requests proposals from qualified preservation firms for the conservation of 15 wood windows and surface glazing and repainting of 6 additional sash at Beauport (Gloucester, MA).  The project is funded with assistance from the Save America’s Treasures administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.  Beauport is a National Historic Landmark.  All work performed must meet the “Secretary of Interior’s Standards” as well as in accordance with the documents prepared by owner.  Bid requirements can be obtained by contacting Jodi Black at 617.997.5580 or jblack@historicnewengland.org.  Bids will be evaluated on price, previous experience, schedule, and references.  Bids will be accepted until Friday, January 22, 2010 at 4:00PM. State Law prohibits discrimination.   

Project Background:

Starting in the fall of 2008 and continuing through 2011, Beauport is undergoing an extensive restoration and preservation plan in order to rectify water infiltration issues that continue to plague the building.  This work is an expansion of a 2006 Getty Conservation Assessment that outlined points of water penetration, structural abnormalities, and repair options.  An extensive survey, condition assessment, and restoration plan has already been outlined for the windows—dividing the units into several phases of work over three years.   

 Beauport’s windows consist of wood sash units in varying operation—fixed, casement, and double hung.  The units include wood frames that are joined by a pinned corner mortise and tenon joint and wood muntins separating individual plate glass in diamond and rectangular patterns.  The house includes over 105 window openings with 249 sash units and 10 skylights.  The previous phases included full conservation and surface glazing to approximately 136 sash located on the terrace elevation (northwest) and the front elevation (southeast) of the building.  The goal for the third phase of conservation work at Beauport is to address windows that include moderate deteriorated glazing and frames and are only accessible by the roof.  The wood shingle roof is scheduled for replacement in the late spring of 2010; therefore this phase of work has to be completed before that time.

Please Help Us Continue to Fund This Project!

Make a matching contribution to the Save America’s Treasures grant so that we can continue the much needed work at Beauport, please contact Development@HistoricNewEngland.org or call 617.994.5952 for more information. Thank you!

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Tour Season Ending

The public tour season for Beauport is coming to a close–October 15 will be the last day for tours and then the house will be closed until June 1, 2010.  Even though the 2009 summer started off as a rainy one, many wonderful events took place on site, including Wine at Twilight, Afternoon Tea, Picnic By The Sea, and Nooks and Crannies Tour.  Several projects also took place this past year that  resulted in some interesting changes at the house.  Three of the most distinctive projects were the brick  terrace restoration, which revealed brick steps that were covered by a second owner in the early 40s (a more detailed post to come); the restoration of the historic landscape and planting beds; and a large scale wood window conservation project, which repaired and repainted over 130 sash at the house.  

But even though the season is coming to an end and the house will be winterized, more property-based projects are starting… upcoming projects include: wood shingle roof replacement, Belfry Tower restoration, masonry work at 6 chimneys, skylight repairs, and more landscape work. 

Stay tuned… more exciting work is still to come!     

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Window Project Phase I Complete!

Corkins 4 2008Planning for the window conservation project began in 2006 with a conditions survey and initial needs assessments of the property funded by the Getty Foundation.  The survey, by Integrated Conservation Resources, was first conducted during the sub-freezing temperature days in February, immediately following a severe snowfall that blanketed the New England area.  The climatic conditions produced snow deposits in the house on the survey days, allowing an unexpected visual aid to locate points of moisture entry.  The findings of the assessment and survey clearly showed the vulnerabilities in the Beauport armor and solving the moisture penetration issues through the exterior envelope became the primary focus of the conservation project. 

Beauport.winter.08-09With funding from the Save America’s Treasures program and a grant specifically for the conservation of windows from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (Massachusetts Historical Commission), Historic New England was able to start the first of several ongoing projects to mitigate points of water penetration, repair structural abnormalities and tighten the overall exterior envelope.  However, due to the complexity of the structure and the vast number of sash units at the house (249 sash units), the funds could not cover the full conservation of every window at Beauport.  Therefore, a detailed scope of work was required to identify the most deteriorated windows and determine project phases.       

Beauport.summer.2009Following a survey from the Historic New England Carpentry Crew, a detailed list was identified of window units that required advanced care due to deterioration.  Many window components were defective including the wood joinery at the bottom rail and side stiles.  The glazing putty had lost is elasticity, resulting in chipped and cracked glazing that allowed water to penetrate between the interface of the wood and glass.  The majority of the severely deteriorated windows were located on the harbor elevation of the house as well as such iconic windows as the Gothic sash in the Chapel Chamber (Paul Revere Room) and the pseudo-Palladian window of the Shelley Room.  Many of the remaining windows were noted in the assessment as requiring care in the form of minor conservation work, glazing, sill repairs, and a finish coat of paint.

The work began in November 2008 and involved the in-house Carpentry Crew and two additional contractors: Heartwood Building and Restoration and Cousins Contracting.  Approximately 95 individual sash units were removed from the building and completely restored in a workshop by trained carpenters.  An additonal 41 sash units were surface glazed and repainted in place.  Now we only have 113 more to go…

Come and visit us!  http://www.historicnewengland.org/

If you would like to make a matching contribution so that we can continue the much needed work at the house, please contact Development@HistoricNewEngland.org or call 617-227-3957, ext. 247.

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To Repair or Replace …

Phase I of the Beauport Window Conservation project has presented numerous opportunities to perform minimally invasive repairs or fully replace certain elements associated with the various windows.

While none of the windows have been replaced, the condition of some elements has mandated sensitive repairs by using wood splice repairs – commonly referred to as “Dutchman Repairs”.  Earlier posts regarding the Strawberry Hill and Master Mariner’s Rooms have touched on these repairs briefly.  The following images show wood splice repairs at different areas of various sash.  All repairs were performed with Eastern White Pine (new, although selected for heartwood and tightest grain available) and secured with epoxy adhesive.  (click on any image for a zoomed in explanation)

Rail RepairsStrawberry Hill Rail RepairStile End Repairs  Music Room Stile End Repair

Mid-stile Repairs Music Room Mid Stile RepairMuntin repairs  Music Room Muntin Repair

Returning to the field for installation, it is inevitable that just as the lower parts of the sash experienced deterioration their associated sills were also found to be deteriorated.  In some cases, deterioration was small enough or a part of a structural framing element such that a splice could be implemented.  In other cases, sills were found to be so deteriorated that total replacement was necessary.   The following images detail some of those repair and replace options.   (click on any image for a zoomed in explanation)

Sill Replacement  Sun Porch Sill Replacement   Red Indian Sill

Window Frame Repairs  Red Indian Frame RepairsMiscellaneous Trim Repairs  

Misc Repairs

While all these repairs are done in a conservative preservation environment, none of the damage nor the repairs are unique to this particular environment.  These same problems can be seen in many window installations.  The nice thing about these problems is that they can be fixed relatively easily.  There is rarely a need to fully replace the windows; proper repairs will continue to add years to the service life.

If you would like to make a matching contribution to the Save America’s Treasures grant so that we can continue the much needed work at the house, please contact Development@HistoricNewEngland.org or call 617-227-3957, ext. 247.

 


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Carpentry Crew At Work

In anticipation of Beauport’s upcoming public opening on June 2, Historic New England’s own Carpentry Crew works on site finalizing repairs and re-installing restored windows. 

Bruce finishing sill

Carpentry Foreman Bruce Blanchard puts the finishing touches on a replacement sill at the Sun Porch.

 

Preservation Carpenter Dave Maloney nails in a recently restored fixed sash at the Strawberry Hill Room

Preservation Carpenter Dave Maloney nails in a recently restored fixed sash at the Strawberry Hill Room.

Preservation Carpenter Colleen Chapin repairs wood trim at the Red Indian Room

Preservation Carpenter Colleen Chapin repairs wood trim at the Red Indian Room.

 

The list of repairs continues.   Heartwood Building and Restoration and Cousins Contracting will be re-installing more windows this week.  It’s an exciting time at the harbor!

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