Tips For Historic Home Owners {#13 Keep Period Details}

When it comes to your old home’s exterior nothing is as important as the details. Fish-scale shingles, jigsaw cut balustrades, creative cornices. There are so many things that make your old house unique. And saving them or replicating the missing pieces distinguishes your historic home from its neighbors.

If you own a crumbling Victorian or an aging Craftsman what better way to increase not only your own enjoyment of your home but also its value than the restore its own special details.

Occasionally, I find beautifully designed shingle patterns hidden under vinyl siding. They may be worn and rotted, but for the home to loose that design feature causes it to loose a bit of itself. So save what you can and replicate what you can’t. Just remember, the landfill doesn’t allow returns.

Try to think of a detail that’s hidden or missing on your old home and make a note to find a local craftsman who can replace it. I guarantee that piece (no matter how small it may be) will be the proudest part of your historic home.

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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. Louise on said:

    The vinyl siding on our 1923 bungalow cottage was in bad shape and we wondered if the original siding was underneath. Sure enough it was! It was fairly easy to pull the vinyl off. The hardest part was locating replacement cedar shingles. We’ve never regretted doing it and hope our neighbors will do the same.

  2. Elaine on said:

    I have the vinyl siding on my house that was built in 1926. Thank you for letting me know I should have it removed. I hope there is nothing rotting under it. I will sure let you know.

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