Painting Historical or Older Homes: Tips for Preserving Charm & Character

Historical Building

Preserving the overall aesthetic of an older home requires a delicate balance. You want to respect their original features, but you also want to enhance the beauty of the look that made it charming in the first place. There are a lot of considerations that go into painting an historical or older home, and trusting an experienced Denver painting company can help give professional experience to your project.

However, doing your research before you get started with your project will offer insight as to what might be necessary to preserve that character. From making sure you’re matching up the colors correctly to tips on keeping up with maintenance, that trusted painting company can be an invaluable resource for keeping your older home as charming as ever.

Understand the Home’s Context

By doing research before your repainting project, it’s vital to understand the historical context of the home. This includes its architectural style, original color schemes, and any other significant historical features. The early research can help guide your painting choices preserve the authenticity of the property. There might be specific architectural designs that will need protecting, and in some instances those features can be enhanced.

Older homes will also often feature unique materials such as brick, plaster, or different types of wood. It’s crucial to understand what’s making up this structure, and to preserve these materials whenever possible. This knowledge will help you avoid techniques that could potentially damage or destroy those materials, or cover them up unnecessarily. There are reasons you’re trying to preserve the home’s charm and character in the first place, so you don’t want to unintentionally damage or destroy anything that’s contributing to that charm.

Get the Right Color Selection

If you’re driving to keep the color scheme the same on the historical home, it’s vital to understand the original colors. Getting all of the scheme’s colors to match will be crucial, as it can change the look of the home if even the trim comes off as a little different. Before committing to any color scheme, it’s important to test paint samples on a small portion of the home’s exterior or interior to makes sure it looks appropriate in different lighting conditions and alongside existing materials.

When painting a different color scheme on an older home, make sure to choose paint colors that complement the home’s original architectural style and era. This may involve consulting historical color charts or professionals familiar with historical preservation. If you’re looking to maintain and preserve an historical home, this can provide valuable guidance on achieving the appropriate color palettes. Keeping the home’s original colors from its original era can be a great way to preserve that charm and character.

Maintain Historical Integrity

Along with keeping the original color scheme, it’s also crucial to avoid making drastic changes to a home’s exterior or interior that could compromise its historical integrity. If you discuss preservation with historical experts, work within their guidelines to maintain this. You don’t want to make any alterations that aren’t appropriate with the preservation, and their expert opinions can point you in the right direction to make the most out of your project.

Even if you’re simply working with an older home, there is historical meaning within the individual family. Older homes have meaning within individual family units, and take time to understand the significance and important parts of the home’s character before starting your project. Knowing the historical significance of a home can help accentuate the parts of the exterior or interior, giving the space a whole new meaning on the history of a particular home.

Highlight Unique Architectural Details

This depends on the home, but most older or historical homes will have distinct architectural features from the period they were constructed. Things like trim, molding, or other decorative elements will likely stand out before you even start painting. Consider using contrasting colors to make these unique architectural features stand out. This will highlight some of the charming things from the period the home was built, and give a unique look to either the exterior or interior.

You may even uncover some unique things that were covered up or hidden from previous paint jobs. This makes it even more important to highlight them, as it will give the space a unique look that hasn’t been seen for who knows how many years. The purpose of your project is to pull out those charming details, so don’t be afraid to highlight them – even if the person who painted them previously wanted to cover them up. It’s all part of the story and character of the space.

Use High-Quality Materials

Odds are the historical or older home hasn’t had the benefit of high-quality paints in the past. Paint is much different now than it was in decades past, and investing in high-quality paint and other materials can do wonders for preservation and durability. There are specific paints and other materials designed for historical preservation – and they’re focused on making sure the finished project has longevity and durability. These materials may be more expensive up front, but will keep the home’s character and charm intact over a longer period of time.

High-quality materials will also ensure that the job is done right, and the integrity of your color palette will remain for a longer period of time. You want to preserve the character and charm, but you also want to preserve and protect the home itself. High-quality paints will protect your exterior against fading from harmful UV rays, as well as some of the other dangers that come along with the elements. On the interior, your project will last much longer, keeping that charm consistent for a longer period of time.

Keep Up with Maintenance

Routine maintenance is any paint job’s best friend. This maintenance can prevent damage and deterioration of surfaces on the exterior and interior of your home. Simply doing regular inspections for any signs of wear or damage will keep you ahead of the game on minor touch-ups and repairs – and it will also clue you into when something more drastic may be happening. Staying ahead of trouble can keep repair costs down, and keep the historical home looking and feeling like you want it to.

The exterior is a primary concern of many people that are trying to preserve the charm of an older home, and it may require more inspections than the interior. Keeping an eye on the paint on those unique architectural details will generally just require touch-ups from time to time to keep the home looking its best. However, don’t forget about regular inspections with the interior. Homes get lived in, too, and depending on the rigors of the occupants, you might need regular touch-ups there, as well.

Consult Professionals

If you’re unsure about what is the best approach to painting or preserving an older home, consult with painting professionals to get their expertise in historical preservation. You can certainly consult a trusted Denver painting company, but don’t be afraid to get the insight and opinions of things like architects, contractors, or other preservation specialists. This will not only give you information on the best way to tackle your project, but it may also clue you in to which architectural details should be highlighted.

Most professionals that are interested in preservation will be interested in helping, and you might even uncover some more information about the historical or older home in the process. Understanding the history of a particular home is one thing, but if there are unique things going on with the interior or exterior of the home, it can make the project that much more focused. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, particularly if you don’t know where to start tackling the project.

Look for Documentation & Keep Your Own

Many historical buildings will have detailed records of any painting or restoration work done on the premises, and these can also offer insight into your project. Depending on how detailed they are, they can also shed some light on the last time any work was done on the home at all. They may also come with some historical research that was previously done on the home. This can help with guiding you through your preservation efforts.

Along those same lines, be sure to document the work you do on the home. Keep track of any paint colors used, the dates of the work, and any historical research you performed before starting your project. Just like any previous documentation would help your efforts, your documentation can prove valuable to any future owners or other preservation efforts down the line.

Preserving an older or historical home can be a rewarding project that takes a glimpse back into the past. Keeping the charm and character of these buildings is of paramount importance in preserving our history, and deserve to be done right. For more information on how you can take the right steps to protect and preserve your older home, reach out to the experts at Colorado Painting today.


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