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Historic preservation contractors are specialists in maintaining the integrity of historic buildings. The work is largely restorative and uses methods seldom used in newer building projects – methods that preserve the craftsmanship of the original builder and stays true to the original vision, requiring a highly specialized touch that only a qualified historic preservation contractor can offer.

Historic preservation differs from a restoration. Restoration is focused on returning the building to its original, as-built condition, whereas preservation centers on the maintenance and repair of existing historic materials, preserving the building’s form as it has evolved through the years. It is a complex process that must consider the intent of the original builder as well as the needs of the current owner. Working with highly skilled artisans and craftsmen, fine details are given a new life, renewed strength, and brought back to their timeless beauty.

Renovating a historic home can be a complex undertaking. Choosing the right contractor is the key to obtaining the quality result you need, as anything less could result in damage or loss of the details that make the historic building unique.

Contractors who are experienced with historic preservation will be able to locate most any part or component of the original build. With a little hard work and good connections to talented artisans, even the finest details can be sourced or reproduced as needed.

Choosing the Right Historic Building Contractor For Your Job

Choosing a historic preservation contractor is not always an easy task. They need to have the right balance of experience, expertise, insight, and knowledge of historical local building practices. They need to be willing to take all the time that is necessary to obtain an ideal result.

Additionally, you need to be able to trust your contractor to give you sound advice as to the scope of the job and what the recommendations might be. Most historic renovation work falls into two distinct categories: preservation and rehabilitation. Preservation focuses on the maintenance and repair of existing historic materials and the retention of a property’s form as it has evolved over time. Rehabilitation acknowledges the need to alter or add to a historic property to meet continuing

or changing uses while retaining the property’s historic character.

Ultimately, the decisions you make now will help you to extend and preserve the value, beauty, and functionality of your building and may help you avoid having to repeat the same work at a later date.

Why Choose a Historic Preservation Contractor?

As with any specialized type of work, historic preservation is highly detailed. There should be no shortcuts taken during the process, and your contractor should be willing to devote the time necessary to bring the result you need. Proper permits must be obtained before any work begins, and when dealing with a heritage building, this is paramount as any changes outside of the scope of the original plans could affect the value of the building – not to mention that it may lead to a loss of its historic designation.

Ultimately, your contractor should serve as the voice of experience throughout the process. They should respect your opinions and provide you with sound advice as to what work needs to be done, what it will entail, how much it will cost, and the timeframe needed to complete the work as discussed.

Where Your Historic Restoration Should Begin

If you are thinking about purchasing, preserving or rehabilitating a historic building, your local historic building organization is a great place to start. Distinctive features, finishes, and any changes that could impact the project must be considered and it’s always good to be prepared for any milestones that would need to be met. Armed with this information, you will be better prepared you for any tough conversations that need to be had before the work begins.

The Heritage Commission of Delaware County presented a workshop on Saturday, April 7, 2018, at which Adam Sherman was asked to speak. His company, Cottage Industries, Inc. was established based on a true passion for older homes. Considered a local authority in historic restoration, his insights are always well-received.

If you are interested in speaking to a historic preservation contractor about your restoration project, reach out today to set up a call.


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