Does Your Historic Property Need Painting and Repairs?
We live in a beautiful area of the country with a very rich history that dates back to the Pilgrims. Historic homes and commercial buildings are a great source of pride and the aesthetics of New England towns and cities. Historical paint colors help to keep the tradition of an historic building true to its heritage.
If you have an old home or business that has paint peeling off in sheets, cracks and bare wood showing through and you are looking to restore it you many have some of the following questions:
- What is the correct way to proceed?
- Does the paint need to be removed to the original wood prior to painting?
- Can you just ‘scrape, primer, and paint’?
- Is it lead based paint?
- Can the painter sand lead paint?
- What are the results that I can expect in 1 year-3 years-5 years?
Stewart Painting has over 30 years of expertise and we have become the go-to painting and carpentry company to handle local historical restorations. Just a few of our recent bigger name historical restorations include:
- Sandwich Town Hall
- Cape Cinema in Dennis
- Penniman House in Eastham
Certificates of insurance are provided to clients and potential clients, upon request.
Contact us today to schedule an estimate!
Let Us Help Renew Your Property’s Historic Beauty
New England is rich with historic and traditional architecture going back to the 1600’s. Whether it is an old
sea captain’s home, a church from the 1700’s or commercial building from the 1800’s, we have the experience you need to safely and effi- ciently renew your property’s look while retaining its historical value. We’ve been managing projects just like these for over 35 years.
Attention to All the Details
Historic properties bring the need for a higher attention to detail and level of skill sets than your typical painting con- tractor may have. You need to deal with a company with full-time employees because most subcontractors don’t have the required training and lead certifications to work on historic homes. At every level of the project, from the estimate to the finished product, we have the experience to take care of all the details that will need to be addressed to make sure that your property looks great while also retain- ing its historic value.
All old and historic buildings have lead, so we need to make sure we’re on the lookout for peeling areas as they need to be assessed. We let the property owner know how we will prepare the building so they know what to expect when the crew gets there. They will see them in the proper equip- ment of lead suits and masks, and laying plastic down and taping areas off to contain the lead paint dust and chips for proper disposal.
We look at what will be required to properly prepare for the washing, painting and carpentry so that everything comes out as expected and we make their old home look like new
again. It’s important to set expectations of what that means – what the edges will look like when prepped and painted. These areas have been painted multiple times. They won’t be even, you’ll have areas that are set back a little bit and have a bit of an edge. But that is what gives this properties their historic
character and finished look.
House Washing the Historic Property
The first phase of work after the estimate, is the washing. We use a low pressure wash (think garden hose strength) to prepare the property before hand scraping and painting. We are just cleaning the surface gently as we do not want any paint chips to come off. The wash is really no more than a rainstorm. The solution does all the work, not the pressure of the water.
The Importance of Experienced Carpenters
Different wood was used in older, historic properties. A lot of Fir was used in porches, decking, door thresholds. The wood wears out more to overuse than to rot. You’ll see dips in the wood from where people consistently walked.
Generally you don’t see as much wood rot in historic properties because they were more porous. There was no insulation back then, which didn’t give you much climate control from the cold winters, but windows and doors leaked air which dried wood out. Wood couldn’t accumulate moisture to allow rot. Additionally, there was better quality lumber back when these historic properties were built. You had old growth wood that was dry. After deforestation over the years of building, now the wood is new growth wood which is not as “seasoned” and is more wet to begin with.
Maybe the toughest part is matching profiles of 200+ year mouldings that simply aren’t made anymore. The dimensions of lumber have changed. Back in the day, a 2 inch think board was the full 2 inches. Now 2 inches is only 1 1/2 inches. So the thickness of wood to recreate mouldings is different which is a challenge that you need a well experi- enced carpenter to deal with the variations in dimensions. Replacing a rake board on historic homes, they were usu- ally 1 inch or 1 1/8 inch thick back then, today the new wood boards are only 3/4 of an inch thick.
Dealing with Town Historical Commissions
If you remove something from an historical home, it needs to be replaced “like for like” or it needs to go before the historical commission which needs to approve it. So if you are changing colors, doors, windows, siding, roofing, any- thing really, you need to go before the town’s historical commission.
Every town is a little different and they all have their little quirks. Stewart Painting has that experience and will go before the commissions to get the necessary approvals or work out any adjustments that need to be made to make the project happen.
Every Job Has Its Own Crew Leader
The Crew Leader’s job is to ensure the property main- tains the historic value and look good at the same time. Protecting the originality of the property and making sure that at the end of the repainting the property owner is happy, the town is happy and the property looks good. They need to look at a 100+ year old problem area and need to bring it back to looking its best.
In the pre-site review, we look to identify areas that could be potential problems that may be hidden, past experience allows this. We can then explain this to the property owner.
By using proper safety equipment and protections, we minimize health risks to the occupants, workers and the neighborhood as lead dust and chips can spread into the air and water. We put plastic down and hand scrape off peeling and chipping paint. We use a flat sheen which helps to hide imperfections. All the while using safety gear, plastic drop cloths to catch as much of the lead dust and scrapings and carefully remove it to minimize any contamination.
Sometimes the plants surrounding an historic home are as historic as the property itself, so we section off the plastic and remove each section as quickly and safely as possible to minimize any damage to the greenery. Plastic left over these plantings will burn them, so it is important to be sure to protect them as much as possible.
Windows and Doors
On every project special care needs to be given by all work- ers around historic windows and doors. If a 200+ year old pane of glass gets broken in a window, you can’t just go to a glass shop get a piece of glass to replace it. Additionally, the glazing around door handles, locks and hinges can’t be removed and you want them to still work and to still look good when done. Our employees understand and are trained to be especially vigilant when it comes to working with these windows and doors.
It’s a fine line between repainting and restoration. We must remind the owner or caretaker that this is a repainting job not a restoration. With that said, with an historic property, we bring our most experienced crew to work on the job because there is so much at stake. You want people that know exactly what they are doing. At Stewart Painting, you can expect the best!
Let Stewart Painting Restore Your Building’s Timeless Beauty
Historic Properties Resources
- Cape Cod Commission-Historic Preservation
- Massachusetts Historical Commission
- Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System
- Historic New England
- National Register of Historic Places