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Historic Washington DC brick homes give their neighborhoods a classic elegance that is unique to century-old row homes. When restoring one of these structures, homeowners try to integrate modern conveniences and necessities without compromising the integrity of the house. Careful planning will help to ensure success!

When you take on the renovation of a home that’s 100+ years old, chances are that you will find a combination of challenges: things that are out of date and those that are falling apart. Before you start, it’s wise to know if your new home is on a Historic Register. If it is, there will be rules and guidelines for the restoration that are designed to protect its historical value. While you are in the planning stage of a historic home renovation, here are some things to consider:

Original Floor Plan

Were previous renovations made to your home? It is common for historic homes to go through multiple renovations, including entire additions. The value of a historic home can be preserved by restoring the original floor plan and reclaiming its former grandeur.

Craftsman Features

Window casements and stairs, created by individual craftsmen, give the house a distinctly antique and historical air. Authenticity is maintained with restoration, not replacement. The floors are one of the unique elements of a historic home – regardless of material – because they tell the age of the home. It is wise to consult an expert in authentic flooring materials before making upgrades or replacements.

Energy Audit

Historic homes have a reputation for being drafty and hard to heat or cool. Start with a home energy audit to check for air leaks, examine the insulation, and inspect the heating and cooling systems. The audit report will give you recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of your old home.

Mechanical Systems

Plumbing and electrical wiring systems in most old homes need to be replaced with modern units. Old heating and cooling systems should be upgraded with modern heating options like a central HVAC system.

Exterior Façade

The facades of historic DC brick homes in the Washington DC area convey a rich sense of history and add to the value of the real estate. If there is damage to the brick, owners want the repair to be done correctly, using traditional methods and materials. The original mortar gave strength to the brick walls; tuckpointing the old mortar joints with lime based mortar will preserve its beauty and integrity.


Renaissance Development, a leader in historic preservation, specializes in the brick restoration of DC historic buildings. The company uses traditional methods (tuckpointing) and materials to repair and replace damaged mortar joints. Contact us for a free site visit and project quote.


Post by Christina Wilson
Feb 5, 2015 3:30:00 AM