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[10 on Tuesday] 10 Basic Principles for Rehabbing the Right Way

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We define the preservation term rehabilitate as: “To repair a structure and make it usable again while preserving those portions or features of the property that are historically and culturally …

We define the preservation term rehabilitate as: “To repair a structure and make it usable again while preserving those portions or features of the property that are historically and culturally significant.”

To successfully rehabilitate a historic building, though, it’s important to know more than just the definition. So we’re bringing you 10 basic principles to keep in mind when undertaking a rehabilitation project.

Of course, every project is different and will have different needs and solutions. But this handy reference guide is a great way to get you started.

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  • 1. Basic Rehabilitation10 Basic Principles to Keep in Mind WhenRehabilitating a Historic Building Photo courtesy of flickr user: fotosqrrl
  • 2. Photo courtesy of flickr user: cliff10661. Consider its original purpose.When possible, make every effort to use the building for itsoriginal purpose – but, if you can’t, make sure the new userequires minimal change to its historic features.
  • 3. 2. Preserve its character.Identify those unique and historicelements that define the building’scharacter and make every effort topreserve and protect them. Do notremove or alter elements that arecritical to maintaining the originalhistoric fabric of the building. Photo courtesy of flickr user: Steve Snodgrass
  • 4. 3. Buildings are a physical record.Recognize that all buildings are physical products of their time.Avoid changes that may create a false sense of historicaldevelopment. Photo courtesy of flickr user: City of Boston Archives
  • 5. 4. Respect changes.Respect and retain changes to the property thathave occurred over time and have acquiredhistoric significance in their own right.Photo courtesy of flickr user: farmalldanzil
  • 6. 5. Save distinct materials and features.Carefully save and preserve the distinct materials, features,finishes, and examples of craftsmanship that characterize theproperty. Photo courtesy of flickr user: kennymatic
  • 7. 6. Repair, not replace.Whenever possible, repair – rather than replace– deteriorated historic elements. Whenreplacement is necessary, new materials shouldmatch the old in design, composition, and color.Photo courtesy of flickr user: williefogg
  • 8. Photo courtesy of flickr user: -Tripp-7. Clean facades gently.Avoid sandblasting and other damaging processes, andalways test materials first (especially with chemical orphysical treatments).
  • 9. 8. Preserve archeological areas.Keep surrounding archeological areas intact; however, if an areamust be disturbed, take every step necessary to mitigate harm. Photo courtesy of flickr user: Hawaii County
  • 10. 9. Make compatiblealterations.Compatible, contemporaryalterations are acceptable if they donot destroy significant historical orarchitectural fabric. Photo courtesy of flickr user: local louisville
  • 11. 10. Build removableadditions.Build new additions so they can be removedwithout impairing the underlying structure.Photo courtesy of flickr user: Marcin Wichary
  • 12. Ten on Tuesday features ten preservationtips each week. For more tips, visitblog.PreservationNation.org.