Historic buildings are an essential part of our cultural heritage and serve as symbols of the history and culture of a place. They also provide economic benefits by attracting tourists and investors, enhancing the image of the community, and contributing to the local economy. However, preserving these buildings can be a challenge, as they require special care and attention to maintain their historical significance and aesthetic appeal. One of the critical aspects of maintaining the historical value of a building is paint restoration.
Over time, the original colors and designs of a building’s interior or exterior may fade, peel, chip away, or even be painted over. A historic paint investigation is a natural and early step in the overall restoration, and though they can be costly, they are a necessary step that will bring tremendous value and information to a restoration project. Historic paint analysis and exposures, along with research, can help to uncover incredible original color schemes and decorative designs. Paint restoration can help to return the original color and appearance of a building, which is an essential part of preserving its historical character. By uncovering and restoring these colors and designs, we can honor the architectural style and design of the past and maintain the building’s cultural value.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral before (left) and after (right) restoration of the original paint color scheme.
Apart from the aesthetic benefits, paint restoration can also help to protect and preserve the building’s structure. Environmental factors such as weather and moisture can cause damage to the building’s exterior and interior. These areas of failure can vary in severity, and can include such issues as flaking paint, craquelure, canvas tears or delamination, staining, efflorescence or water damage. Water damage specifically can cause major problems for not only the paint layers, but also the underlying structure. Catching these issued early can help prevent extensive damage, and paint restoration can help to repair and prevent such damage, protecting the building’s structure and extending its lifespan.
Paint delamination at the Virginia State Capitol
Historic buildings also provide economic benefits to the community. Maintaining and restoring them can attract tourists, investors, and donors, contributing to the local economy’s growth. A well-maintained building also sends a positive message to the community, creating a sense of pride and admiration. It also improves the overall image of the organization or business that the building represents, showing that it cares about its heritage and the community’s development and cultural environment. Different types of buildings can benefit from paint restoration in their own ways. Paint restoration in religious establishments, educational institutions, and civic buildings can provide a renewed sense of history and heritage, and help to connect the people who live and work there to the historical importance of the structure.
Paint exposures (left) and the restored original paint scheme and designs (right) at the Grant County Courthouse.
For building owners, maintaining the historical charm and beauty of their property is no easy feat. However, paint restoration is a simple yet powerful way to preserve their building’s history and appeal. By using high-quality materials and techniques such as traditional paint coatings and techniques, paint restoration can be an effective and long-lasting way to maintain the building’s historic charm for future generations. Furthermore, paint restoration can attract people who appreciate history and architecture, increase donor contributions, and boost business for properties with commercial intent. A restored exterior or interior can help attract customers and make an excellent first impression if the building is used for commercial purposes. Similarly, it can also attract new tenants and enhance the overall value of the property.
If you are the owner of a historic building, you know that starting the preservation journey can be difficult and feel daunting when attempted alone. That is why we always recommend contacting an experienced conservator to perform the appropriate tests and repairs to ensure the highest quality work is completed and the building’s historical integrity is maintained. Our team consists of highly skilled conservators that are knowledgeable about the entire paint restoration process. If you or someone you know is in need of paint restoration services for their historic building but does not know where to start, please reach out or request a consultation to be connected with one of our knowledgeable preservation professionals.