Tips for Restoring Old Houses

  1. You need to know when the last mortar tuckpointing maintenance was made. In general, the recommended cycle is 50-60 years.
  2. Make sure to use a matching color, elevation and consistency of the mortar.
  3. Remember to remove only mortar which is damaged. Replace the damaged one with the same material as the original.
  4. Stay away from sealers, as they can trap in moisture and cause problems in cold weather.
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  6. When renovating the heating system, install thermostatic valves to the radiators, so you can control the zoning and save fuel.
  7. When renovating the woodwork, stick to heartwood – it is the healthiest type of wood and will remain free of disease the longest.
  8. If you can, use hand tools for modeling and installing the new woodwork.
  9. When replacing or repairing the woodwork, use quarter grain cuts or rifts for more stability.
  10. If you are using sawn lumber, install it with the heart up.  This will wear better.
  11. Use original joinery instead of modern replacement materials.
  12. Keep the plaster of the old house – it is what gives it that historic value.
  13. Fill any cracks by digging them out and filling the hole with plaster, rather than taping over them.
  14. Course plaster looks like the older ones used, so try using this type in order to keep the original look of the house.
  15. Make sure you identify the roof slates of the house before repairing them or replacing them. You need to use the exact same type.
    new-house
  16. Do regular inspections of the roof with a binocular or by other means at least once a year, and take timely measures if you notice broken, missing or sliding slate.
  17. Do not be tempted to replace your original wooden windows with PVC, which is not as lasting and reliable as the original material.
  18. For better energy efficiency, you can add weatherstripping to your old wooden windows.
  19. If you need to remove the paint from a wall, make sure you do it carefully. It is recommended you use a trisodium phosphate and water solution for that.
  20. When repairing your old furniture, try to find similar matches to the parts you are replacing.
  21. When cleaning the old furniture, make sure you stay away from harsh chemicals, and use all-natural milder ones instead. You don’t want to cause permanent damage to your antique furniture, right?

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