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October 5, 2022
Live in a Historic Home? Here’s What You Must Know Before Starting Repairs

If you’re lucky enough to live in a historic building, you no doubt feel a real sense of pride every time you return home.

Living somewhere that is steeped in history and full of character is the stuff of dreams for many homeowners but living in an old building doesn’t come without its own set of unique issues.

Older properties often need repair work, sometimes extensively so.

There are also a wide variety of different problems to contend with in a historic building.

And if your home is listed, there may be certain aspects that are protected and cannot be changed.

In this post we will look at the specifics of carrying out structural improvements when you live in a historic home, and we’ll cover what you need to think about before working with a structural repairs company.

What type of structural repairs might a historic home need?

Whether you live in a converted church, windmill, barn, or hospital, if the building is a historic one you’ve probably needed some specialist repairs to tackle a variety of issues at some point in time.

Some of these issues may be obvious, for example:

  • Deterioration or discolouration of brickwork and mortar
  • Excessive growth of fungus, ivy, or moss
  • Rusting of metalwork
  • Rotting of timber
  • Lintel failure
  • Subsidence
  • Damp

On the other hand, some structural issues, or the presence of asbestos, may be harder for the untrained eye to identify as these will affect the very bones of the property.

For this reason, we advise owners of historic properties to schedule periodic inspections by a professional who can advise if any repairs or maintenance need to be undertaken.

What if I want to make repairs to my historic home?

First thing’s first: check planning permission. Whether you live in a historical or listed building, or even in a conservation area, you may well need to get planning permission from the local authorities before you get started.

This will cover repairs, changes and major renovations and alterations to the home. You can find out if you’ll need planning permission by checking the Government’s Planning Portal.

What materials can I use to repair a historic home?

To maintain the integrity of your historic home’s build you will want to use materials that are sympathetic to its origins.

We all know that PVC double glazed windows aren’t going to look great in a Tudor farmhouse and while that might be an extreme example, working with your building’s DNA is crucial if you want to maintain its look – and its value.

This is why it’s important to work with a structural repair professional that understands and has experience with buildings of heritage.

Restoring, repairing, and maintaining older properties is a niche area and you will need to select a company that knows how to work with the appropriate materials to repair a historic building.

For example, traditional property repair demands materials that are coherent with a building’s aesthetic such as slate, stone, limestone, and timber.

You may also require professional advice about lead roofing, the aforementioned asbestos, and other hazardous materials that were commonly used in historic ‘new builds’.

What to consider before working with a structural repairs company

You, quite rightly, love your home. It has character in spades, it has a sense of history, it might even be listed. But the fact is, you can’t ignore the demands of your aging building.

Regular repairs and maintenance enable you to take preventative action before small issues become big problems.

We know that choosing to work with a structural repairs company might seem a little daunting at first, but having a partner who understands and respects your historic home is crucial.

You might be able to carry out some repairs and maintenance on your own but when you have a partner who understands the very structure of your property, they will be able to advise you every step of the way.

But make sure you do your research before you select a company to work with.

A general builder might not have the skills or knowledge required to undertake the specialist work required, so ensure you check the company’s qualifications, certifications, reviews and ratings, and previous projects if at all possible.

How can Structural Repairs help?

At Structural Repairs, we pride ourselves on being historic building repair specialists. We are experienced and we are qualified to work with every building grade.

Your property may be old, it may be weather damaged, it may just be in need of a little TLC, or it could be in urgent need of repair.

Regardless of the issue, it’s vital you make sure that the professionals involved fully understand the building’s unique features, and that’s where we can help.

If you own a historic home, you are more than welcome to give us a call to chat with us about repair and maintenance or to schedule a free consultation with one of our experts.

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