Tips For Historic Home Owners {#11 Repair, Restore, Replace}

In historic preservation there is a hierarchy of how to care for a historic structure. And when you own an old house it’s a good idea to follow that hierarchy.

  1. Repair & Maintain – The first step is always to repair and maintain your house as you go along. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make little repairs along the way and you’ll keep your house in great shape and avoid the little stuff turning into big stuff.
  2. Restore – When things have gone a bit further than a simple repair it’s time to restore. Restoring is a more involved process that may involve rebuilding whole portions of the house in the style of the original house.
  3. Replace in Kind – If all else fails and your problem area can’t be repaired or even brought back to life with a more thorough restoration it might be time to replace. But if you replace an item it’s important to replace in kind. Try to find a replica or construct an item that is as close to matching the original as possible.

Follow this plan for your old home and you’ll not only save a few pieces of history but add immense value.


If you’ve enjoyed this series so far I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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by Scott Sidler

I'm a historic preservationist and licensed contractor. I help old house lovers understand & restore their homes so they can enjoy the history and character that surrounds them more everyday! When not working, writing or teaching about old houses I spend most of my time fixing up my own 1929 bungalow with my wife Delores and sons Charley and Jude.


  1. Always enjoy your articles, Scott. You write with a simplicity that first-time Old House owners can understand, and your tips are an amazing resource for those of us who work passionately in the restoration field. Thanks for all you do! Judy

    • Thanks Judy! Always appreciate having you as a reader!

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