Preservation Pointers

Are you looking for preservation tips for your rehabilitation project? Preservation Iowa has collected a few pointers for you, including where to find more information online.

If you have some pointers to share or have found an indispensable website with critical preservation information, be sure to share it with us at

Economic Incentives

National Trust for Historic Preservation’s tip sheet on financial assistance: Iowa Tip Sheet

State Historical Society of Iowa Grants: SHSI Grants

Lead Paint Info

National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Lead-Safe Practices for Older and Historic Buildings: Lead Safety

Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil: Basic Information

National Park Service’s Appropriate Methods for Reducing Lead-Paint Hazards in Historic Housing: Preservation Brief #37

Lead-based Paint

If you are working with a building built before 1978 (and we know most of you are), you can almost be assured painted surfaces may contain lead. In addition, the soil surrounding the building and the dust within the building could test positive. Lead can be extremely harmful, especially when ingested. Children young enough to be chewing on painted surfaces or dust-contaminated objects are especially at risk. But that doesn’t mean you must rip out all historic building fabric covered with lead paint. It also doesn’t mean that it is impossible to rehabilitate and restore historic buildings in a lead-safe manner.

New regulations regarding working with lead paint went into effect in April 2010. In response to concerns about how the regulations will affect preservation work across the country, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has developed information on lead safety for preservationists. Their website includes information on the new regulations, FAQs, and links to other online guidance. Be sure also to review information at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Several years ago, the National Park Service prepared a preservation brief on lead-based paint in historic buildings. Although it is not updated with information on the recent regulations, it can assist you in reducing lead hazards in your historic building.

Repair or Replace?
National Trust for Historic Preservation’s These Windows Matter: Window Weatherization

National Park Service’s Repair of Historic Wooden Windows: Preservation Brief #9

National Park Service’s Repair and Thermal Upgrading of Historic Steel Windows: Preservation Brief #13


Today’s push for energy conservation and sustainability is having a drastic effect on how many people look at the energy efficiency of historic and older buildings. Don’t believe the hype you see on T.V. telling us that older, historic windows cannot be energy efficient! Remember, the greenest building is one already built.

With appropriate maintenance, repair, and weatherization, historic windows can be energy efficient. Moreover, by preserving historic materials, you can keep materials out of the landfill and prevent energy from being expended in the manufacture of new units.

Energy Efficiency Study

The Center for Resource Conservation in Boulder, Colorado prepared a study on the energy efficiency of older wood windows. It compares the energy efficiency of various treatment measures (e.g., adding storm windows, retrofitting the old window, etc.) to installing a new vinyl window. Although the report is very technical, it is a good tool for anyone trying to prove replacement isn’t always the best option. In most cases, the older wood window outperformed the new vinyl.