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An Introduction to Restoring Period Features in the Home

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Here in Britain, many people live in historic homes with unique characteristics that reflect the history of the property and give the house an endearing quality. Of course, over time these elements may become damaged or worn, and you’ll need to find the best way to restore them to their former glory.

The right restoration methods will depend on what the particular features are made from, as well as the age of the piece – after all, different periods used different construction methods and you’ll probably want to replicate those techniques wherever possible in order to match the originals.

• Wooden features
Depending on the state of your property, elements like fireplace mantles, timber floors, staircases, banisters, window frames, picture rails and cornicing are all items that could use a bit of TLC in order to look their best – and being generally made from wood, you’ll need to be careful in order to avoid causing any additional damage.

Timber floorboards, for example, can sometimes be sanded down and refinished, but if they have suffered severe damage, replacing them might be the only reasonable option. If that’s the case, visit UKFlooringDirect.co.uk to find a stunning collection of solid wood floors that will work very well in historic properties.

• Plaster and brickwork
If the plaster or brickwork on your home has been damaged, it may be necessary to fill in cracks, remould architectural elements or replace some of the pointing. This work needs to be carefully undertaken in order to match the existing work, and in some cases an expert touch will be necessary to create a flawless finish.

• Metalwork
Over time, metalwork can become tarnished, while oxidation can also lead to rust or pitting on the surface. Sometimes a good polish is all it takes to restore these items, while scrubbing away the rust, repainting or treating the features with protective finishes can also help. Sometimes, a skilled metalworker may be necessary to make repairs or replace broken pieces.
General tips

Whether the unique features of your period property are made from wood, plaster, brickwork, metal or other materials, it can often help to do research to find out what the items would have looked like when they were new, and it might be best to consult a specialist if you’re not sure.

When carrying out a restoration, be sure to also think about how you furnish and decorate the rooms – as a traditional colour palette and period-style furniture can help camouflage any items that have been heavily restored or replaced entirely. If previous owners replaced original fittings with more modern items – this is often the case with bathroom fittings, light fixtures and ironmongery – you might want to seek out suitable antiques or high-quality replicas.

It’s safe to say that older houses can sometime be tricky to live in, with their creaky floors, noisy pipes and sometimes surprising wiring – and a remodelling or restoration project can often turn out to be a lot more work than was originally expected due to unusual construction methods that were forgotten or covered up long ago.

But the heritage and inimitable nature of these properties can also be extremely endearing, and by knowing how best to restore the unusual architectural features, you’ll be able to preserve them for future generations, while also maintaining or increasing the overall value of your home.

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