Why are historical buildings important?

To celebrate and acknowledge the history of our cities, it’s important to preserve the architectural structures and historic buildings. Historical buildings may be representative of a particular event or time period. These buildings are important to preserve because they tell stories, and carry a timeless value. 

Preserving heritage buildings can also support the economy, bringing projects to contractors, builders, and architects. These buildings visually represent the community and the tales of our ancestry. Historical buildings can help to attract tourism and to also attract investment. 

Older buildings are often made of top-quality materials, with a longer life expectancy than newer buildings. However, historical buildings age, and so they must receive special care.

What is historical building restoration?

To protect American history and culture, the National Historic Preservation Act was established in 1966. The act outlines the preservation and use of historic buildings, to protect the national heritage of the USA. The act covers historic districts, structures, buildings, and archeological sites.

Historic restoration refers to a preservation technique that aims to restore a building back to how it was in a certain era. The method relies on using historical photographs and blueprints, to gain an understanding of the original building. Construction workers use the original techniques and building methods to return the building to its former state. There are also other ways to save a historical building including:

1 . Preserving the building

Preserving the building means protecting the building’s history and taking care of the original materials. When you preserve a historical building the goal is to limit what the building can be used for in the future, ensuring that the architecture remains the same. Preserving historical buildings properly means that these buildings are unlikely to need extensive restoration work, (due to neglect).

2. Reuse and adaptation 

In some cases, a historical building project might involve adaptation, to give the building a new use. Under these circumstances, the building is saved because its original purpose is modified. Many historical features are kept, and some are modified as part of the new project and purpose.

What type of care do historical buildings need?

Historical buildings require ongoing maintenance work, to limit deterioration. 

Historical buildings may need several different types of restoration work or repairs, depending on the materials and structures. A few of the materials that need special care include:

Stained glass windows

Stained glass windows represent both art and history. The artistic representations in stained glass windows often include clues that tell us how the building was formerly used. 

Windows are sensitive to changing temperatures, and to weather conditions. Due to this stained glass windows often require specialist maintenance. Metal and glass can easily transfer heat, leaving a build-up of condensation on the inside of the windows. Water can cause several kinds of deterioration, whether it’s corrosion of metal or mold growth.

When stained glass is deteriorating due to the environment, the first step is to identify which issues affect the building, and take steps to remedy these. Potential issues could be building maintenance issues, or heating issues.

Decorative Tiles 

You often find decorative tiles in the floors, roofing, and walls of old buildings. These tiles are particularly vulnerable to deterioration, and so they must receive special care. Decorative tiles may experience many different types of damage, for instance, these tiles may lose their layer of glaze. When tiles lose their glaze, they risk abrasion. You’ll also find that tiles may rise at the corners, and buckle. Often referred to as ‘tenting’, this process is caused by excess moisture and ground movement. Tiles can be restored and repaired by a combination of specialist cleaning procedures, and a process of regrouting.

What to consider when restoring historical buildings

When you are restoring historical building structures, there are several considerations that you should make. Many elements will affect the success of your project, including.

1 . Minimal changes

In terms of conservation, it’s important to carry out minimal changes, to preserve the natural architecture. It’s vital not to remove the historic fabric, (unless entirely necessary). Getting rid of the original features can negatively affect the historical significance and charisma. Under some circumstances, it may be necessary to make changes, for example, any old structures or materials that are now damaging the building. A great deal of research should be performed when approaching any historical restoration project.

2. Choosing the right materials

A great deal of expertise is needed to choose the appropriate materials for a restoration construction project. The process starts with plenty of investigation. The material must be either the same as the existing fabric or at least suitably compatible. To protect and care for the building, it’s important to consider durability. Certain materials may contribute to further deterioration, which is why expert knowledge is required.

3. Vacant buildings

When a historic building is vacant there is a much larger risk of decay or damages. It’s advisable to keep historical buildings occupied, to prevent further neglect, and prepare for the restoration process. When taking on a vacant building, you’ll need to gain advice on the maintenance work that needs to be performed. It’s important to complete urgent repairs first, to ensure that the existing maintenance issues do not get worse.

4. The right restoration company

When you are planning a restoration construction project, it’s important to choose the right company to perform the work. Such an advanced set of knowledge and skills are required to undertake this kind of project. You’ll need a company who can restore the building to reflect all its original cultural heritage.

Historic buildings require special care to be resorted to their former condition after neglect. Refine has the skills, knowledge, and patience to carry out this unique work.

Refine Construction was founded back in 2004, since then we have built a strong reputation in the community, producing high-quality work across a variety of different building projects. If you would like to discuss your restoration construction project, feel free to get in touch.

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