Tips for Weatherizing While Preserving Your Historic Property

With the majority of homeowners making their homes in existing construction and many of us having the honor of living in a historic home it’s vital to develop an active property maintenance plan. And now with the heat of summer fading and the cool breezes of autumn knocking at our door we thought it would be the perfect time to share with you some tips for getting your property ready for the dip in mercury (or is it just ticks on a digital thermometer now)?

Windows: Remember your old wood windows are often made of quality old growth (denser and stronger) local climate appropriate wood and were often custom fitted for your opening. Over time all materials must be maintained and adjusted remember to keep a good seal (caulk and weather stripping is your friend) to minimize air loss. Wood windows unlike their vinyl counterparts are made to last and can be repaired when a part fails, so see if you need a replacement part are reglazing to help them perform their best. And finally remember an interior storm window might be the best and most energy efficient investment you can make.

Insulation: Remember when picking insulating materials for older properties, make sure it not only has good thermal properties but also allows moisture to evaporate. Spray foam is not recommended as it is not reversible and hinders needed evaporation. It’s best to pick more sustainable or natural materials, such as wood, plant fiber, or wool.

Mechanical Systems: While most of us are now very familiar with energy efficient ratings on our appliances and heating and air conditioning systems we often forget the traditional low impact heating and cooling systems older homes provide.  Our homes were sited with our local climate in mind—finding that balance of warmth from the sun during the winter months and cool breezes at summertime. Caring for and remembering the value vegetation provides is also vital to maintaining a house’s optimal functionality. Porches and operable shudders are not only beautiful design elements but afford excellent circulation and heat retention and movement depending, which is needed. Also, remember the interior of your home, insulating and cleaning all internal ducks and pipes will help save money and ultimately make your property run more efficiently.

Happy house maintenance!


Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc. (501c3) formed in 2005 with the hope of bringing historic preservation advocacy and educational outreach to the community. As one of our inaugural undertakings we acquired Chalmers Institute and are currently working to not only pay off the bank note on the property but to stabilize and eventually rehabilitate Chalmers Institute into regional resource once more. Constructed in 1837, Chalmers Institute, was Mississippi’s first legislatively recognized University. Within these walls countless leaders, writers, educators, and citizens received the educational foundations that would help to shape their lives, careers, and region’s history. Its enrollment actively continued until 1879 when it became another casualty of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878. This proud structure entered its second life as residence until the 1980s. It now awaits its third life as a contributing member of the community with your help.

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