Original Building Materials define historic structures, and have stood the test of time. Replacement of durable materials that are in good condition has begun to occur at an alarming rate. Such wholesale removal increases both up-front costs and long-term maintenance. Stripping off sound wooden trim, clapboards, historic windows, and other features sends the best quality materials we will ever see – old growth wood – to the dump and replaces it with inferior wood or other lower quality products. Such substitution forces owners to continually replace these materials at a quicker rate - every 20 or fewer years, in some cases.
Studies show that such careless replacements will not pay for themselves in energy savings – even windows – before they wear out and lead to new problems. Yet such approaches to historic buildings are regularly cited as more advanced and cheaper than careful repair. In truth, they are neither. Such severe alterations degrade historic integrity and resale value.
Throughout the state and nation, the authentic historic houses and historic districts with original building materials command higher values than other comparable properties and areas. For more than two centuries Mainers successfully repaired their homes, but in the last couple decades many of us have merely settled instead for the steady demise of these solid materials and their legacy.