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.