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The historic neighborhoods of Washington DC are desirable, in part, because of the sense of community pride and quality of life they give to residents. Well-preserved brick and mortar protects the authenticity of the original architecture and boosts the property values of the homes.  Traditional brick restoration and repair are essential for preserving the stately old buildings. 

Historic homes aren't for everyone. The desire to own a piece of history - with the unique workmanship and features of an older home - motivates many owners. Historical neighborhoods tend to be stable, with well-landscaped streets and close communities. Many of these neighborhoods are walkable with easily accessed services such as public transit, entertainment, and shopping.

But, old homes need regular maintenance and restoration. Preservation of those unique architectural and design features is essential to maintaining the value and desirability of the individual dwellings and the neighborhood. In many of DC’s historic sections, the old brick houses demand an important and visible maintenance chore:  brick restoration and repair. When it comes to repairs on old brick homes, here’s what knowledgeable and responsible owners of historic DC brick homes look for: 

Tuckpointing and Mortar 

Often the entire façade of a historic row house requires tuckpointing. Such a project requires:

  • Expertise and experience with the appropriate traditional tuckpointing methods and materials that maintain historic authenticity.
  • Familiarity with historical district regulations, DC permit process, and preservation standards.
  • Knowledge of historic architecture and use of lime-based mortar. 

Replacing and Matching Bricks 

Often the home owner’s goal is to retain its authentic feel and original materials.  Rebuilding areas with unique design features requires:

  • The ability to use as many of the original bricks as possible.
  • Access to a source of additional materials that match the originals. 
  • Creative techniques to re-use damaged or unsightly original brick if matching replacements are not available.

Neighborhood Concerns

The sense of pride that comes with the well-preserved streetscapes and private entrances of historic brick homes is of concern when a major brick restoration project is planned. Both home owners and neighbors may be concerned about the amount of disruption and have these concerns:

  • Neighbors want to be informed of when work is scheduled to begin and what to expect.
  • To minimize dust penetrating the building’s interior, windows should be covered with heavy-duty plastic taped into place. Windows of adjacent houses can also be covered with permission from neighbors.
  • Erecting and moving scaffolding per OSHA regulations.
  • Cleanup should be done on a daily basis and a complete site cleanup completed with removal of all construction materials upon project conclusion
  • Damage to landscape should be discussed and negotiated prior to work.


Renaissance Development, a leader in brick restoration and historic preservation, specializes in the restoration of an old brick building’s mortar joints using traditional methods (tuckpointing) and materials. Contact us for a free site visit and project quote.




Post by Christina Wilson
Feb 2, 2016 8:30:00 AM