If you are fortunate enough to have a historic home, then you know how much time and thought goes into ensuring that its unique character and architecture remain well preserved. Siding is especially susceptible to age and neglect, and sadly, many homeowners of historic homes put off repairing or replacing their siding until the home has lost its luster.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With some forethought and a definite commitment to caring for your siding, your historic home can maintain its stunning beauty and its structural integrity for years to come.
The Challenges of Maintaining a Historic Home’s Exterior
The same thing that makes a historic home wonderful also presents one of its biggest challenges to its homeowner — its classic look and feel. Old homes look stunning when properly maintained, becoming the envy of the neighborhood with their gorgeous curb appeal. But to keep your home looking that great, you must take good care of the exterior.
And it’s not just the look of your home that needs to be addressed. Keep in mind that the older a home, the more chances there are that portions of the home will wear down with age. Proper maintenance of the exterior helps to minimize the cost of long-term care, and also ensures the home maintains its structural integrity.
In other words, properly caring for your historic home’s exterior is essential to protect the investment you’ve made in it — keeping it safe to live in and preserving its resale value.
Why Your Siding Is Key to a Great Historic Home Exterior
Siding is one of the most important aesthetic and structural elements of a home’s exterior. It must be kept in good condition to keep your home looking and functioning at its best. As a historic home ages, its original wood siding, brick, stucco and stone features get worn down. And if you don’t repair or replace these elements in a timely fashion, your home can suffer, lowering its value.
As you consider ways to bolster the curb appeal and longevity of your historic home, take a close look at the condition of its siding. To determine whether a repair job or siding replacement is the better option, ask these questions:
Do you see signs of damage from insects or moisture?
Historic homes often feature wood siding, which offers a classic, timeless appeal but is subject to many forms of wear and tear. If you notice areas that look rotted, warped, or eaten away, have a siding professional perform an inspection and assess the level of damage. The more serious and long-standing the damage, the more likely it is that you’ll need to replace the siding.
Do you suspect the exterior siding contains lead paint?
Lead-based paint was common many years ago. And while newly built homes don’t feature lead paint, your historic home may not be so lucky. It’s possible that your siding may have lead-based paint on it, which poses a safety hazard. It’s important to remove lead-based paint through safe forms of remediation, which can be an investment but will result in a home that looks beautiful and is healthy to live in. A contractor with experience in dealing with lead-based paint remediation can assess your home and give you options on how to address the issue.
How much maintenance are you willing to do?
Historic homes usually feature wood, brick or stone, which are long-lasting and attractive. However, these materials also require a lot of maintenance. If you want an option that requires little to no maintenance, then siding that mimics the look of wood, brick or stone can be a great choice — allowing for a beautiful appearance that is easy to care for.
Making the Right Choice for Your Historic Home’s Exterior Siding
All homes deserve to be cared for and loved. But historic homes require a little more from their homeowners. In order to preserve the look and feel of your home, and to maintain its historic status, you may need to be more particular than the average homeowner as you choose colors, styles, and siding materials to enhance your home’s exterior. And siding maintenance is key to this process of preservation.
Look for a contractor who is passionate about preserving historic homes. Be sure they handle renovations with care and appreciation for the investment you have made in your home. At Siding & Windows Group, we love beautifying and protecting the look and feel of Chicago’s historic homes. Contact us to request a quote from our team of experts.