The City of Palestine has a set of design guidelines for residential properties such as houses, as well as a set of guidelines for commercial properties, such as businesses.
Both sets of guidelines address three types of treatments to Historic Properties:
When replacing painted wooden elements, such as siding, priming all faces of the wood, instead of just the visible ones will add years to the life of the repair
NOTE: Historic wooden elements such as windows are surprisingly durable and were designed with future repairs in mind. Wooden windows that at first appear to be obviously beyond repair often can be salvaged with the use of wood consolidation products, putties and epoxies for minimal cost.
Historic masonry walls gradually allow excess moisture to escape, painting generally traps moisture in the wall, keeping it from “breathing” Additionally, once a wall is painted, it will always require repainting, increasing maintenance time and cost..
Historic brick was often fired at lower temperature than modern brick. Historic bricks generally expand and contract more. For this reason, historic mortar mixtures were softer and more flexible, using lime and less Portland cement than modern mortar. Using a modern Portland cement mortar on historic brick will cause the face of the brick to crack and fall off, shortening its life by years.
Much like a loaf of bread, when a brick is first baked, it forms a less porous outer crust that helps to keep out water and provides durability. Harsh cleaning treatments, such as sandblasting, wire brush scrubbing, and high pressure spraying damage this “crust” and shorten a brick’s useful life by years.
Historically, metal was used in everything from wrought iron fencing to cast iron storefronts to roof flashing.
Prompt removal or neutralization of rust extends the life of historic metal features by years.
Allowing dissimilar metals to touch one another can result in damage due to galvanic action. For this reason it is important to make sure that appropriate fasteners are used when near metal.
A valuable source for anyone involved in the maintenance and repair of historic properties is the National Park Service’s Preservation Brief series. Each of these Briefs provides information about different aspects of historic building maintenance and repair without becoming overly technical.