Friday 20 February 2015

Six common period property mistakes – and how to avoid them!

Maintaining a period home is no easy task. Its advanced age and a long list of past owners often mean it has more need for repairs with any renovation job that is undertaken requiring extra consideration in order to retain the original design and preserve its authenticity.

Image by MadLab Manchester Digital Laboratory from United Kingdom, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

There are many common mistakes owners of period properties make when renovating – here are just six of them and tips on how to avoid them.

Don’t place modern additions in full view

Modern equipment such as satellite dishes and extractor fans may be useful in today’s world but they will look out of place in a period home. Find ways to fit them discreetly or hide them so as not to ruin the overall aesthetic of your home.

Don’t paint every surface

It can be tempting to paint over every available surface in your home but this is a modern trend and not always in-keeping with traditional styles. Modern paints and cement coatings are not usually porous either which means they lock in moisture, causing condensation to concentrate around cracks and potentially lead to decay, damp patches or mould.

Instead of grabbing the paint brush, why not restore materials to their former glory and leave them au naturel.

Don’t use cement over lime mortar

Traditional masonry was constructed with soft lime mortar which allowed flexibility and didn’t restrict movement. Hard cement does not quite do the same job and could cause stress in the wall’s surface on a period home. Cement is also impermeable which means moisture damage may occur.

Lime mortar and cement can also be very different in appearance; resulting in changing the overall look of the wall.

Don’t replace original features with modern ones

While some original features may need to be updated to help them look their best, it is always better to repair or restore where possible rather than replacing. If you do need to replace, then choose units which are made and designed to match the originals.

This applies to everything from sash or casement windows to roof beams and doors.

Don’t add “period style” details

While there are many products available to enhance the period features in your home it is vital that you know what you’re doing before investing in them. Some products sold as “period style” reproductions can actually look out of place or fake so be careful with what you bring into the home.

Don’t use modern cleaning methods

Some modern cleaning products and techniques can actually damage older surfaces. Sand blasting can remove the surface of stone and brick while chemical cleaning products contain acids and alkalis which may react with traditional materials including wood.

Even water can soak into masonry and lead to staining if applied under low pressure so take care when cleaning and ask experts for advice if you’re concerned.

Follow this advice and you could guarantee your period property for many more generations to come!