This list was taken from the Directory of Preservation Resources complied by the Historical Architectural Review Board in the Borough of Columbia, PA.

Encouraging regular maintenance (true preservation) rather than quick-fixes that will fail in a short amount of time this list highlights seven common “repairs” or “upgrades” that do more harm than good.

1. Repointing bricks using mortar with a high content of Portland cement. Instead use a flexible mortar with a high lime content.

2. Sandblasting, using high-pressure power washes, or harsh chemical cleaners to clean or remove paint. This will remove the hard outer shell exposing the soft brick. Always use the gentlest method possible to clean.

3. Applying vinyl or aluminum to wrap the building (walls, sills, soffits, and eaves). The installers regularly remove architectural details. In addition trapping moisture can accelerate structural decay.

4. Replacing original wood windows (unnecessarily). Repair rather than replace. Wood windows can be made energy efficient using weather stripping and storm windows.

5. Ignoring peeling exterior paint. A good paint job will provide a protective coating against insects and moisture.

6. Hiring contractors without the necessary skills or experience working on old buildings. Modern materials and construction techniques are not always compatible with older buildings. A contractor unfamiliar with traditional buildings and methods cab permanently damage the building.

7. Introducing “mix-and-match” period style detail. Respect the original period-style of your building. Fight the urge to make it appear newer, older, or fancier in style than it really is.

Tuesday afternoon I sat in on a webinar focused on what traditional products teach us about durability and sustainability (essentially green building). I am going to pass some the information from the webinar along during this post – next week I will be back to sharing information from the Traditional Building Conference.

*In order to evaluate if a product is durable and therefore sustainable there needs to be a life-cycle assessment (LCA).
*Desirable green attributes:
-Durability
-Low Maintenance (but repairable)
-Fire Retardant
-Life cycle benefits – extending the service life
*2009 new LEED rating systems
-Point increases for urban living (density and alternative transportation)
-Life Cycle Assessment – focuses on structure/envelope assemblies
-Preservation of existing buildings adds points – traditional materials are preferable because of environmental impact
-Leed for Existing Buildings looks at accreditation without major renovations through changes in Operations and Maintenance

Traditional Materials are Sustainable:
-Masonry Walls both brick and stone
-Traditional Lime based mortar
-Roofing – slate, metal, clay tiles
-Old growth woods
-Anything that has stood the test of time and with care and attention can last another 100 plus years is a green solution

We are working on building our preservation store on our website. Besides the Speedheater Paint Removal System we are adding John Leeke’s Practical Restoration Reports. These reports are able to be used by homeowners, contractors, and architects to provide an industry standard within restoration to work to. The reports we are going to carry are: Save Your Wood Windows, Wood-Epoxy Repairs, Wood Gutters, Exterior Wood Columns, Mouldings, Exterior Woodwork Details, and Managing Maintenance. A sample of Save Your Wood Windows
http://historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/WoodWindowsSampleScr.PDF is available at the link above.

If you know of a preservation product or tool that you cannot live without let us know we are always looking for additional products to added to our website to help people restore/preserve their buildings with sensitivity.

Have a great holiday weekend!