All buildings are vulnerable to deterioration over time. Over time, the structural integrity of a building’s foundation can weaken, increasing the risk of safety hazards developing. When this occurs, the building may need significant repairs to restore the structural integrity and appearance of the historic building.
Repairing historic buildings offers many benefits. First and foremost, it ensures the building remains safe to use. Additionally, it is often far more affordable than tearing the building down and constructing a new building in its place. This is, of course, in addition to the sentimental and historic value the building may hold to many in the local community.
Although repairing historic buildings is often the best option after deterioration has begun, there are many challenges that building owners and construction crews may run into. By understanding the most common challenges and taking the time to ensure each concern is addressed in a timely manner, you can make repairing historic buildings much easier on yourself and ensure your building is in great condition for years to come.
Environmental Damage Over Time
Weather elements can damage historic buildings over time, regardless of how well the foundation is constructed. Of course, the rate of deterioration can be slowed by proper routine maintenance of your building. Proper maintenance should include keeping the foundation sealed and properly caulked to minimize the risk of water damage, repairing any roof damage as soon as it occurs and making regular maintenance repairs to the exterior of the property.
Although routine maintenance can slow the rate of damage and deterioration of historic buildings, environmental damage will occur over an extended period of time. The more common types of damage to historic buildings include:
- Damage to the structural walls
- Roof damage and deterioration
- Water damage inside the property
- Stained exterior walls
- Cracks between doors and windows
A common mistake when determining whether a historic building needs restoration is assuming minor issues are too minor to need repair. However, minor issues within the foundation and structural integrity of the property, such as small cracks and gaps, minor roof damage and damage to the exterior walls, can increase the risk of water damage and other potentially more severe concerns.
Differences Between Historic & Current Materials
Another major roadblock in the historic building restoration process is determining the differences between historic and current materials. The fact is that building materials used decades or even centuries ago are far different than what we use today. While the development of better construction materials is certainly a good thing, it can make it more challenging to keep up the original appearance of a historic building.
When repairing historic buildings, many building owners and construction crews will seek to keep the vintage look the building holds. In doing so, it is important to consider what materials work best for the project. You should also take into account how to integrate the new building materials with the historic materials that remain in good condition to make sure all the materials work well together in the finished product.
Cleaning Carefully To Preserve Safety Concerns
Taking the time to ensure the historic building is properly cleaned is essential during the repair process. Otherwise, the building may still have long-term safety concerns. The repair process should always begin with a detailed inspection of every part of the property. Among other potential safety concerns, the inspection should include checking for issues like mold, vulnerable parts of the flooring and damage to the roof.
If there are concerns such as mold, it is essential you clear it up as thoroughly as possible as black mold may increase the risk of health concerns. Additionally, building owners, cleaning crews and construction teams should ensure they use proper protective equipment while they clean to stay safe. If you decide to try and clean areas with mold yourself, be sure to cover your mouth, nose and hands during the process. With that said, it is best to consult with a professional before attempting to clean up mold, as many mold removal jobs are not suitable for a DIY project and require professional assistance to ensure optimal safety and effectiveness.
Contact The Historic Masonry Repair Experts
You can learn more about historic masonry repair by giving our repair experts a call today. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have about the potential challenges you might face while repairing historic buildings and how to avoid them. We specialize in caulking, waterproofing, power washing and masonry restoration, and we understand how to effectively and efficiently repair historic buildings that have older foundation walls.
Our professional and experienced team knows how to deal with any and all of the challenges that are likely to present themselves during the restoration process. Give us a call at 484.265.9646 or contact us online today for more information.