Second in a series of articles by the Mt. Lebanon Historic Preservation Board by Bryan Morales STAINED GLASS here is something about beautiful buildings that make them stand out in our memory. Although we can't always describe every last detail of the buildings we enjoy, there are usually a handful of elements that jump out. Whether it's the historic Victorian spindles of a familiar porch or the art deco tower of the municipal building, it's these details that provide architectural context, add character and make Mt. Lebanon unique in so many ways. Our neighborhoods are full of wonderful older buildings with amazing craftsmanship, and it is a great credit to the property owners that most are so well maintained. Keeping older buildings in good condition is a challenge that requires a good measure of preparation, patience and expense. It might seem tempting to simply replace old details with new, but fortunately, there are businesses and craftspeople who are skilled at maintaining, restoring or replacing the historic elements we enjoy and at reasonable costs. So, just because your 1930s stained glass window is cracked or the lead needs repairing doesn't mean you need to replace the it with an off-the-shelf window from a big box warehouse. Lynda Williams of Williams Stained Glass in nearby Castle Shannon, exemplifies the local experts who can help people who own older buildings. Her company specializes in restoring original windows and designing new windows to match a given style or period. Stained glass is a delicate craft, and Lynda is an expert in replacing cracked glass, the cement that holds the glazing in place and damaged or T Coffey Contracting Co. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA Roofing & Chimneys Slate Tile Shakes Tinning Spouting Flashing Box Gutter Repair We can recreate workmanship and styles from any Architectural Era Free estimates Fully insured PA001603 412.341.1127 16 mtl december 2009 worn hardware. In addition to stained glass work, the company also does work with original metal casement windows that are found throughout Mt. Lebanon. Even if you don't need work done on your windows or glass, Williams offers some helpful advice about prolonging their life: Adopting a simple routine of cleaning thealso suggests cleaning the cement in stained glass with a combination of water and mild soap to prevent damage from chemicals and dust. If the pieces are loose, it is probably a good time to have them repaired. One final consideration when it comes to repairing or replacing windows is the increasing focus on energy efficiency. Having a "green" home or business is on the forefront of our societal conscience, and windows are a key part of the discussion. It is true that new technology and construction techniques have improved the energy efficiency of windows, but the conversation does not end with a manufacturer's claims. Careful consumers should consider factors including the embodied energy of new materials and what happens to existing windows when they are replaced (yes, they probably go to a landfill). In the ongoing effort to reuse, recycle and reduce, remember that repairing historic windows, as opposed to replacing them, can be a clever way of contributing to a "green" approach. The decision to preserve special details of Mt. Lebanon's older buildings is a gift to the community that property owners can certainly take pride in. Judging by the quality of our community's historic properties, quite a few of you already have.