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The charm and character of a historic home are undeniably captivating. However, maintaining and repairing a historic home, especially one constructed from brick, is a responsibility that demands attention to detail and a deep understanding of its original construction. Unlike modern homes, which are built with contemporary materials and techniques, an old brick home requires expert knowledge to ensure its longevity and integrity. And when it comes to historic brickwork, hiring experts for repairs isn't merely a suggestion—it's a necessity.

Historic Brick Home Repairs Require Traditional Techniques

Exposure to the elements can take a toll on your historic brick home. Cracks in the mortar, efflorescence, and spalling are some of the common issues homeowners of old brick homes may face. These problems aren't merely cosmetic; they could compromise the building's structural integrity if not addressed properly. Brickwork on historic homes requires a specific lime-based mortar mixture and a softer type of brick that is no longer in common use. In addition, homes from this era were built when construction techniques were markedly different from today's standards. An expert in historic home repair will understand these unique challenges and address them appropriately.

Expert craftspeople specializing in historic homes will ensure that the historic brick remains sturdy, structurally sound, and free from water damage. On top of that, the work of a skilled craftsperson can enhance your curb appeal and property value. Poorly done repairs can have the opposite effect, detracting from its historic integrity and financial worth.

Economical and Environmentally Friendly Upkeep

It is always less expensive to repair a small problem instead of allowing it to balloon into a large and costly repair. Water damage, in particular, can cause catastrophic damage to your walls, attic and living spaces. A general contractor will likely use modern, readily available materials which can lead to more significant issues down the line. As newer brick is much harder than historic brick, the compressive forces can cause your historic brick to crack and crumble, potentially resulting in the need for major repairs. Today’s concrete-based mortar mixes won’t allow your brick to properly shed moisture and may cause bricks to crack, spall, or in a potential worst-case scenario, send moisture directly into your home.  

When you bring historic brick experts onto the job, they can help find and address concerns early on in the process, ultimately saving you money. Your budget can be stretched further as these skilled craftspeople can often recycle bricks, which also reduces your environmental footprint. With recycled brick and original mortar mixes, you will prevent the costly mistakes caused by incompatible materials, while consistently maintaining your home’s inherent value and historical accuracy.

Historic Brick Home Preservation is Essential

Preservation is a significant aspect of maintaining a historic home. The goal is to retain as much of the original material and craftsmanship as possible, through a meticulous process of matching existing brick and mortar in terms of composition, color and texture. Another important reason to bring historic brick experts onto your team is to ensure your home's repairs remain in compliance with local or national historic preservation guidelines. Many older homes are subject to rules and regulations aimed at preserving their historic character. Professionals experienced in this area will be aware of such requirements and can ensure that all repairs meet the mandated standards. Failure to comply can result in fines and may require you to redo the work, causing unnecessary expense and stress.

Investing in skilled craftsmen familiar with the complexities of historic home repair is not just advisable; it's essential for the longevity and value of your property. With experts on your side, you can ensure that the history and charm of your home will endure for generations to come.

Renaissance Development, experts in traditional tuckpointing methods, specializes in brick repair and restoration projects in Capitol Hill and many other historic neighborhoods in Washington, DC. Contact us for expert advice on your historic brick home, and ask about a free consultation.

Download Guide to Renovating Your Historic DC Home

Post by Christina Wilson
9/21/23 8:30 AM