Tips For Historic Home Owners (#13 Keep Period Details)

By Scott Sidler November 30, 2012

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 to 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 lose that design feature causes it to lose 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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4 thoughts on “Tips For Historic Home Owners (#13 Keep Period Details)”

  1. my 1915 craftsman had plastic put on sometimes but the Dutch Lap is virtually the same as 90% of the houses in town of the same era, but we had our own lumber yard in town long since gone (the main building was torn down and is now my dad’s garage) which would explain it.

    my question is this, while it would take the original look of my home away but stay period correct to the house style.. when i get to pulling the vinyl off (phase 33) go to a stucco… which the houses that aren’t sided in town have.

  2. 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.

  3. 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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