This page provides practical information about how to maintain and preserve your heritage building, with articles and tips from a variety of heritage organizations from across British Columbia and Canada.
HERITAGE HOW TO GUIDES
Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada
The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada is the first-ever pan-Canadian benchmark for heritage conservation practice in this country. It offers results-oriented guidance for sound decision-making when planning for, intervening on and using historic places. This document establishes a consistent, pan-Canadian set of conservation principles and guidelines that will be useful to anyone with an interest in conserving Canada’s historic places.
Heritage Building Maintenance Manual
Maintaining a heritage or character building can offer unique challenges and in some cases requires a little research to ensure you are doing the best thing to care for the structure. To guide you is the Province of Manitoba’s Heritage Building Maintenance Manual on recommended treatments for heritage buildings. It outlines do’s and don’ts when it comes to common decisions about your building’s care such as cleaning exterior wood, window replacement or repairing masonry. The manual has everything from advice on hiring a contractor to troubleshooting a leaky roof. Additional resources can be found below.
Maintaining Heritage Exteriors
- Doors, Practical Conservation Guideline by the City of Saint John, NB
- Porches, Practical Conservation Guideline by the City of Saint John, NB
- Awnings, Practical Conservation Guideline by the City of Saint John, NB
- Heritage BC’s guides & tips on signs, awnings & building illumination
- Keeping Wood Siding on Historic Buildings by Andrew Powter,describes the advantages of retaining historic siding materials and identifies some of the disadvantages of installing modern materials like aluminium or vinyl over the original siding. It also describes the repair and refinishing of wood siding.
- Repairing Wood Siding on Historic Buildings: Runciman House by Andrew Powter, is a case study of siding repair methods used in the restoration of the 200-year-old Runciman House in Annapolis Royal, N.S.
- Wood Siding by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation & Victoria Heritage Foundation, Your Style Series
- A Wood Primer – by Susan Turner, Heritage Magazine, Summer 2000
- Wood Siding, by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation & Victoria Heritage Foundation, Your Style Series
- Masonry Advice, by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation & Victoria Heritage Foundation, Your Style Series
- Masonry Conservation – Conservation Bulletin Series, Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation source: www.tpcs.gov.sk.ca/SHF
- Roofs, Practical Conservation Guideline series by the City of Saint John, NB
- Roof Conservation – Conservation Bulletin Series, Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation source: www.tpcs.gov.sk.ca/SH
- Windows in Historic Buildings: Sustainable, Repairable by Susan Turner, presents an overview on maintaining and upgrading wood windows.
- Repair or Replace: Arriving at a Sustainable Solution by Craig Sims and Andrew Powter, examines the myths associated with window replacement, the durability of traditional window systems and the standards by which window performance is measured in Canada.
- Maintenance and Repair of Historic Wood Windows by Craig Sims and Andrew Powter, describes the common maintenance and repair techniques for typical traditional wood window problems.
- Improving Thermal Performance of Historic Windows by Craig Sims and Andrew Powter, describes the basics of window thermal performance and a range of strategies for optimizing the thermal performance of traditional windows.
- Traditional Windows
- Wood Windows by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation & Victoria Heritage Foundation, Your Old House Series
- Windows, Practical Conservation Guidelines by the City of Saint John, NB
- Maintaining the Beauty of Stained Glass – by Susan Turner, Heritage Magazine, Summer 2004
- Also check out the great articles on exterior elements such as masonry, roofs, siding, doors, awnings & porches provided by the National Park Service
Maintaining Heritage Interiors
- Repairing Flat Plaster Walls & Ceilings and other articles on rehabilitating interiors by the National Park Service
- Old House Online articles on interior & decor
- Building Conservation articles on interiors and features
- Vintage Interior Design Catalogues 1910-1960
- Vintage Millwork Catalogues
Maintaining Heritage Gardens
- Sharon Rempel’s Guide to Researching & Restoring Heritage Gardens
- National Park Service: Cultural Landscapes
- Antique Home: Herb, Japanese & Rose Gardens
- National Park Service: Restoring Vine Coverage
- Old House Journal: Shrubs For Every Old House
- Building Conservation articles on gardens, ecology & landscapes
HERITAGE CONSERVATION PROCESS
Conservation activities can be seen as a sequence of actions – from understanding the historic place, to planning for its conservation and intervening through projects or maintenance.
Understanding a historic place is an essential first step to good conservation practice. This is normally achieved through research and investigation. It is important to know where the heritage value of the historic place lies, along with its condition, evolution over time, and past and current importance to its community.
Planning is the mechanism that links a comprehensive understanding of a historic place with interventions that respect its heritage value. Planning should consider all factors affecting the future of an historic place, including the needs of the owners and users, community interests, the potential for environmental impacts, available resources and external constraints.
Intervening on a historic place, that is, any action or process that results in a physical change to its character-defining elements, must respect and protect its heritage value.
These three phases can further be defined through a series of steps:
Step 1: Understanding
• Refer to Heritage Value and Character-defining Elements
• Investigate and Document Condition and Changes
Step 2: Planning
• Maintain or Select an Appropriate and Sustainable Use
• Identify Project Requirements
• Determine the Primary Treatment
• Review the Standards
• Follow the Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.
Step 3: Intervening
• Undertake the Project Work
• Carry out Regular Maintenance