Special Considerations for Owners of Old Buildings

A historic building has great potential for its owners, both as an investment and a personal point of pride. Years of accumulated decay may distort or obscure a building’s once bright charms. Restoring such a structure to its classical grandeur can come with countless challenges. However, to accomplish this undertaking will be well worth the work.

Repair and Replacement

Based on a structure’s age and condition, the bulk of restoration work often consists of making repairs to existing elements within the building or, if this is unfeasible, inserting replica versions in their place. In fact, if damages are relatively minor or cosmetic, the work may not even count as restoration, but rather as conservation, where different government standards apply. Owners can contract with a reputable commercial service to renovate marble or similar stone features to their initial luster in a thorough floor cleaning Manhattan NY operation. Additionally, these companies can buff out old scratches, refinish worn surfaces, or even restore and seal tiling.

Problems arise when, due to changing trends, the precise tiles used in the original building are no longer manufactured. The same trouble can occur with repainting when owners discover that the specific paint used cannot be reproduced. In both instances, after documenting the issue, owners are usually allowed to, and even assisted with, finding the closest appropriate match and proceeding with the project.


Conversely, the successful restoration of a long-neglected structure is a massively complicated process involving the demolition of entire sections and rebuilding from the ground up. Such endeavors can take years, including detailed research of authentic historical building techniques and materials, acquiring their nearest equivalents and recreating the original with oversight by professional architects. Supervising and funding a full-scale building reconstruction is likely more than a layman owner can manage. In certain cases, governments may mitigate costs through construction grants and help with hiring expert consultants.


Contrary to what most people perceive as preserving historical integrity, modern elements are sometimes actually added to better maintain a building’s authentic character in the long run. For example, installing air conditioning can slow the ravages of humidity, such as wood warping and mold growth, on original interior features. Moreover, it may be necessary to modify structures to conform to contemporary public building codes, such as installing or upgrading electrical wiring, water pipes and plumbing fixtures, or creating accessible entrances for disabled persons. Of course, all retrofits must be done discretely to interfere as little as possible with a building’s historic appearance.

Historic building restoration is a daunting task requiring serious dedication and labor. However, once completed, owners can take satisfaction in having restored a grand old building to its former glory.