Here in New England we have a healthy interest in the historic preservation of Period Homes. This has resulted in many towns creating historic districts, and commissions to oversee the preservation of buildings within the historic districts. In many cases, the historic district commissions have enacted rules about the maintenance of historic homes exterior appearance. These rules may vary from town to town, but one thing they all have in common is maintaining the trim on the building so that it remains “period correct”.
Regardless of the homes siding materials, the fascia, soffit and trim around doors and windows are traditionally wood. The primary function of exterior house trim is to accent the architecture and increase the homes curb appeal. Although the gutters primary function is to direct rain water from the roof to the downspouts, wood gutters are also significant to a home’s appearance as they are integrated on to the trim. In many cases the wood gutters are the main trim on the home. The gutters are indeed an important part of the exterior house trim.
Unfortunately, wood has a limited life and will need to be replaced at some point. How long the wood lasts will largely depend on how well it has been maintained over the years. When the period homes were built the trim and gutters were milled from 200 to 300 year old trees. In many cases the trim and gutters could have a useful life of well over 100 years before needing to be replaced.
Today’s “new growth” wood is very susceptible to rot. Lumber farms are harvesting trees that are just 10 to 20 years old. It simply does not hold up like the wood harvested from virgin forests when the period home was built. It’s not uncommon for us to replace wood gutters and trim that were installed under 10 years ago.
The solution to solve this growing problem is to install wood replacement fiberglass gutters that require no maintenance and are indistinguishable from wood gutters. They come complete with the woodgrain look and feel of actual wood and are 100 percent protected with a gelcoat shell. Our fiberglass gutters come with a lifetime guarantee. To replace fascia, soffits and mouldings we will employ the use of PVC trim board.
Below are some Period Homes where we have installed our wood replacement fiberglass gutters.
Queen Anne – Victorian (1870-1915) Eclecticism, asymmetry, contrast, and even excess, were the hallmarks of the Queen Anne style. Every building sported a variety of surface textures. Elaborate motifs, decorated gables, and spandrel panels are common. Steeply pitched and complex, Queen Anne roofs provided visual interest and variety with gables, dormers, and turrets or towers, often all in one roof.
Italianate (1840-1885) houses are identifiable by their wide projecting cornices with heavy brackets and their richly ornamented windows, porches, and doorways. Italianate roofs are low pitched, often with a square cupola on top.
Colonial Revival (1880-1945) homes tend to be professionally designed and often boast interesting architectural details fashioned from highly durable materials. Gable roofs are the typical roof form found in Colonial revival homes followed by gambrel and hip roofs. Slate shingles were commonly used until around WWII when asphalt shingles began to replace slate because of cost.
Federal (1780-1840) style houses are typically a simple square or rectangular box, two or three stories high and two rooms deep. Some structures have been made larger and modified with projecting wings. Many Federal style design elements are notably understated. Exterior decoration, for example, is generally confined to a porch or entry element. Columns and mouldings are narrow and rather simple.
Greek Revival (1825-1860) homes were usually painted white to resemble the white marble of impressive and costly public buildings. The details were bold, but with simple mouldings. Heavy cornices, gables with pediments, and unadorned friezes were typical. Low pitched gable and hip roofs were typical. The cornice line was embellished with a wide band of trim to emphasis the temple-like roof.
Tudor (1890-1940) homes are characterized by their steeply pitched gable roofs, playfully elaborate masonry chimneys (often with chimney pots), embellished doorways, groupings of windows, and decorative half-timbering exposed wood framework with the spaces between the timbers filled with masonry or stucco.