Taking Care of Your Historic Home

There are some beautiful historic homes in the New River Valley and if you are lucky enough to own one, you want to keep it that way. It’s important to take steps to maintain the old-world charm of a historic home.  Here are steps you can take to keep your aging home properly protected and preserved:

KEEP UP WITH REGULAR MAINTENANCE – Routine maintenance like cleaning and painting (especially the exterior) are vital to minimizing issues that might mean costly repairs. It’s a good idea to develop a maintenance schedule and follow it as best you can.

LIMIT CHANGES – When repairs must be made, try to keep original details intact. For example, if some trim needs to replaced due to rot or infestation, only replace the parts that are damaged. This will save wood and money and help preserve the historic fabric of the house.  If you do have to replace something completely, take photos prior to removing anything so that it can be duplicated to retain the character of the home.

KEEP HISTORIC WINDOWS – If you have early twentieth century (or earlier) windows, you are going to want to keep them. They were made to be repaired, not replaced.  It is possible to make old windows more energy efficient.  Repair, Don’t Replace Old Windows

TAKE SPECIAL CARE WITH MASONRY –  While brick and masonry are long-lasting components, they will need maintenance and eventually, repairs.  Educate yourself about proper ways to care for and repair them.  Identifying Problems With Your Historic Brick Building

EMBRACE THE QUIRKS – You don’t have to “fix” everything. You can repair and stabilize structural damage while keeping elements that show how your home has aged over the generations.

KEEP HISTORIC INTERIOR FEATURES – While you will surely want to update some aspects of your home, try to hang on to the charming features that make it unique. Things like transoms, paneled doors, moldings and such are features that make your home special.

KEEP PLASTER WALLS – Plaster is a remarkable material that is superior to modern day drywall.  In recent years, preservation contractors have discovered the benefits of preserving plaster walls. Damaged plaster walls can be repaired, and if necessary, only replace the damaged portions. Preserving Historic Plaster

CHERISH THOSE OLD HARDWOOD FLOORS – Retaining the old floors in a historic house requires special care.  Be careful not to over-sand them, destroying the antique character in the process. Old floors were hand-planed, and hand-sanding is the best way to maintain their character. 

The most important step you can take to maintain your historic home is to educate yourself. Lots of information can be found online and there are “Old House Specialists” that can help you! Also be sure to check out this guide for historic home owners in Virginia: Virginia’s Historical Registers: A Guide for Property Owners

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the New River Valley area, contact professional, experienced Realtor Desi Sowers and let her assist you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call today at 540-320-1328

Photo credits: nerdwallet.com, traditionalbuilding.com, sharpwoodfloors.com

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