A Guide For Restoring Your Original Craftsman Exterior

Construction & Contractors Articles

When you have an old Arts and Crafts home, preserving the beauty and simplicity of the design can be top priority. Many Craftsman bungalows feature nicely crafted windows, subtle front arches, and low roof pitches that hearken to a natural, low maintenance design philosophy. Preserving a Craftsman exterior is part of a greater mission to preserve the ideals that inspired Arts and Crafts design: embracing natural materials and colors that work with the world instead of against it.

Exterior Material Types

Unfortunately, the age of these homes often means that the exterior surface has fallen into disrepair. Generally, Craftsman homes are finished with three exterior types:

  • brick. Brick was left unpainted and unadorned. Often, brick detail would include blocks turned in a herringbone pattern (this is common on exterior chimney work) or bricks used to mark window openings. Homes may be finished with all brick or only partial brick. If left unmaintained, brick portions of the exterior could have cracked or missing mortar, broken bricks, or bulging walls. 
  • stucco. Stucco was an exceptionally common finishing material for Arts and Crafts Homes. Over time, stucco can crack, fade, or chip. It can also begin to look dingy if not cleaned. Nearly every Craftsman home has stucco as at least part of the exterior finish. Stucco could have been left uncolored, or it could have been dyed or painted.
  • wooden shakes or siding. Wood siding is not as common for these homes, but shakes were more often seen, especially for homes that were built with a second story. These can eventually crack, dry out, or become loose. Since wooden shake siding was painted, the paint could be peeling, leaving a depressing exterior aesthetic.

Restoration Options

Despite the issues noted above with all three of these finishing choices, restoring them is simpler than expected. Many people believe, for example, that cracked and dirty stucco is not salvageable, so they cover the home with vinyl siding instead, leaving the stucco exterior underneath. Vinyl siding, while useful in some applications, is generally not the best approach for staying true to the unique features of your home. Instead, consult a stucco repair service to assess the damage. Cracks can be filled, missing portions patched, and the entire exterior can be cleaned. Finally, existing stucco can be repainted in authentic colors to really bring your home back to life. The best colors to pick include mustard yellow, various shades of green, brown, tan, deep russet, or burgundy. Generally colors found in nature are more suited to Arts and Crafts homes. 

Bricks can be repointed. An experienced masonry restoration specialist can even match new mortar to look like the weathered original. Replacement bricks can be sourced from older home demolitions, or new bricks can be tumbled and stained to match the old ones. Generally, brick exteriors can be salvaged, but you must be careful to choose the right materials for the job -- new bricks and mortar will stand out like a sore thumb against the weathered originals that have developed a unique patina. 

New wooden shingles can replace ones that have been damaged by weather or insects. Wood needs to be repainted every 3-7 years to keep it looking its best. If you're not up to this type of maintenance, talk to your siding contractor about wood-look siding made from cement or metal. 

Before covering up brick, old shakes, or stucco with new siding, have the exterior assessed. It's usually better to restore what is already present than to tear it off or cover it up. If you must cover it up by choosing a completely new exterior finish, consider choosing new stucco or wooden siding, instead of more modern options. This will help to preserve the original look of your historic home. For more assistance, check out a site like http://lifetime-exteriors.net/,


1 November 2016

inspecting the roof on your home

When was the last time you really looked at your roof? I had no idea how important yearly inspections of my roof was until I found myself footing the bill for a full roof replacement and interior ceiling replacement. Since then, I have learned how to inspect my own roof twice each year. I always inspect it each spring after the harsh winter elements have gone away and again in the fall before winter weather sets in. You can use the information compiled on my website to inspect the roof on your home and make the small repairs that will save you from full roof replacement.