Decatur house fair to focus on keeping up older homes

The window is leaking. Your bathroom is drafty. And those fancy shingles on your home’s facade need attention. These problems can occur in any house, but they are even trickier to fix in historical homes.

This weekend’s second annual Decatur Old House Fair will bring together local experts to answer an owner’s most pressing questions. Lecturers will give the skinny on how to develop maintenance plans, update and repair windows, research and identify your home’s style and make energy efficient fixes. We spoke with a few speakers about some things to be learned at Saturday’s fair.

Maintenance plan

Historical home preservation expert Laura Drummond of Atlanta Preservation and Planning Services advises owners to create a list of required repairs, such as fixing leaks and replacing broken glass panes. Next, devise a plan for things that must be done on a recurring basis, such as cleaning gutters. Then, schedule when you will inspect your home for problems, such as walking outside during a storm to check for proper drainage. Lastly, keep a file folder of receipts for all work done on your house. This will help if you sell your home or need to reference past repairs.

Your home’s history

Experts Ken Thomas, a historian and genealogist, and Melissa Forgey, executive director of the DeKalb History Center, will discuss how to research a home’s history and style. Thomas said homeowners seeking historical status for their homes should consult their city directory. The directories, first published in Atlanta in 1859, list everything from the street address to owner-to-owner occupation, and are useful in learning when a house was built and understanding how owners may have been connected, Thomas said. The directories are at places such as the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library and the DeKalb History Center. Forgey, who holds a master’s degree in historical preservation, advises attendees to bring a photo of their home to learn more about its architectural style.

Energy efficiency

Home performance consultant Joe Thomas of Renewal System Solutions in Decatur will speak about a holistic approach to energy efficiency in old and new homes. Guests will learn how to identify sources of drafts and select energy-efficient products such as water heaters and heating and air-conditioning systems. They will also give tips on home insulation and water management problems.

“What we’re trying to do and to promote is for people to really learn about their homes and develop plans for improvement,” he said. “And some of the cheapest fixes make the biggest impact.”

Event preview

Decatur Old House Fair

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. $10, advance; $15, at the door. Holiday Inn Decatur Conference Plaza, 130 Clairmont Ave., Decatur. 404-371-8386, www