Q: What's the "right thing to do" for an old house? Restore using original building materials or newer materials? Our 1737 home has 75% of it's original heart pine windows and millwork. However, we must replace some rotting 20th century windows and missing millwork. There are no specialists in our area and we just don't have a clue what to do! Help -- heart pine or poplar? - Ashby, Georgetown, South Carolina

A: Steve says : The purist in me says to sink your budget by phasing in the restoration over time. Seventy-five-percent original parts is a lot and you would be doing the building proud to get a custom millwork operation to make you some heart pine windows as you can afford them. Sounds like you have a gem and it would be a shame to pass up the opportunity to replace 20th century windows with accurate reproductions.
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