Indow and Preservation Maryland call for restoring wood windows

Preservation Maryland helps people figure out ways to care for and preserve their homes and buildings to make their communities stronger. Key to that mission? Convincing people to engage in old window repair to save their original windows.

“The quintessential element of so many buildings is the windows,” said Nick Redding, executive director of the nonprofit based in Baltimore. “People have challenges with windows and feel they’re inefficient and they come to us with questions. If we can give them a quick solution, it’s a win-win.”

Indow cares about old windows too. We want people to understand the value of original windows made of old-growth wood. It’s dense and rot-resistant and will last indefinitely if properly cared for. It’s also more sustainable to learn how to restore wood windows than throw them in a landfill. And keeping historic homes intact enriches our lives by informing us about the past.

Listen to Sam talk with Preservation Maryland on its Preserve Cast about how he created Indow windows to help preserve America’s awesome old windows.

Indow CEO Sam holding a window insert

Preservation Partnership for Old Window Repair

For all those reasons, we’re happy to announce an innovative partnership with Preservation Maryland called Preservation Partnership, which we hope to replicate in the future with other nonprofits.  Indow will give Preservation Maryland 10 percent of all sales after reaching a predetermined threshold. (Psst: If you live in the Maryland or DC area, visit this page.)

Indow dealer Bryan Pax of SuperGreen Solutions in Elkridge is helping preserve windows throughout Maryland from the Kensington city offices to the Homewood Museum at Johns Hopkins University to the Liriodendron Mansion in Bel Air.

Preservation Maryland plans to use the money for its Six to Fix program. That involves helping six projects annually with seed money and volunteer hours to set them on a path to preservation whether it’s saving a Civil War general’s headquarters or a crane that helped build World War II Liberty Ships.

“They’re critical to telling the story of Maryland,” said Redding. “They all need a lot of help. It’s our way to help threatened and endangered properties in the state.”

Innovative Outreach

Preservation Maryland is known for creatively spreading the word about preservation. One new approach is based on the retail “pop-up” model. It involves traveling from Baltimore to far-flung towns and cities such as Oakland and everywhere in between, for a day to answer Marylanders’ questions from “How do I reglaze a casement window?” to “What’s the best way to tackle the sagging porch on my 1890 home?”

The nonprofit receives dozens of calls and emails weekly asking for advice and so it also regularly holds historic window workshops. Often, people just don’t know what tools are available to them.

Repair Don’t Replace

“People think the simplest thing is to rip out their windows and put something vinyl in its place,” said Redding. “Then they learn there are other options and there are reasons you don’t want to do that: you can’t fix a vinyl window. Once it’s busted, it’s busted.”

In parts of Maryland, homes turnover quickly as people move in and out, and with that has come “an epidemic of window tear outs,” Redding said.

People are looking for a quick solution and they’re scared of lead paint and of having an inefficient home. Also, they don’t understand the pitfalls of ripping them out.

It’s good to understand the dangers of lead paint, but also to recognize it’s not radioactive waste and can be dealt with safely.

Redding himself has restored 30 windows on his own home. All kinds of solutions exist for safely removing lead paint including putting windows in steam boxes so the paint falls away for easy clean up.

“We have to be safe but we don’t have to be impractical and irrational about the dangers,” he said.

Where’s the Money?  

Redding is excited about the Preservation Partnership because it’s one more way his organization can diversify its funding streams. Nonprofits can’t just rely on donations. Many nonprofits rely on corporate sponsorships and the idea of new and different revenue streams can be scary.

“Some people are scared of the unknown,” he said. “If you’re scared of the unknown, you’ll never be able to grow past where you are. You have to spread your wings.”

Want to learn more about window repair? Check out our Window Hero Webinars for more information.