XP from windows (Historic District rules, long)
Hello, I'm hoping to find some like-minded people here, though I haven't lurked much, so I hope I'm not stepping out of line. I live in a 1909 bungalow in northern California historic district, and we have restored our own original windows and had reproduction single-pane units built to replace what replacements the previous owners had (idiotically) installed. We've also built our own wood screens and storms for insulation. To say that I'm passionate about window aesthetics and my historic district would be an understatement.
There is new construction going up near us on an empty lot. The developer is building it as a spec house. The original plans proposed vinyl garbage. In response to my letter to the city planners, the planners told the developer he had to use fiberglass with wood cladding on the interior, which addressed exactly none of my concerns about the exterior appearance of the windows (sash thickness, paintability, exterior dividers, longevity). After a second letter, the staff is now proposing a compromise of a vinyl window with wood cladding on the exterior. Does anyone know anything about these? Any input on the aesthetics of them, since I've never seen them? I'm concerned about the expansion rates of vinyl vs. glass and wood, and I can't imagine these things will last any longer than the other vinyl garbage and will look like crap within 10 years, when the developer is long gone. I'm also concerned about sash thickness. All this on top of my environmental and human health objections to vinyl, especially in a house fire.
Second question: the city staff has invited me to work with staff to develop rules about new construction in the district going forward so that it's not a fight every time. Is there any district out there that does it "right"? No replacement of originals, only wood in new construction, etc.? I have a full time job, and I'd like to not start from scratch. I do have the DOE's Vermont window study, along with language from the National Park Service about the irresponsibility of allowing replacements. I do think it would be easier to convince them to adopt rules if someone else has already done it. I've poked around a little, and it seems like the many of districts do allow vinyl in new construction (gross).