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Preservation Brief 47: Maintaining the Exterior of Small and Medium Size Historic Buildings

Overview

Preservation Brief 47 is designed for those responsible for the care of small and medium size historic buildings, including owners, property administrators, in-house maintenance staff, volunteers, architects, and maintenance contractors. The Brief discusses the benefits of regular inspections, monitoring, and seasonal maintenance work; provides general guidance on maintenance treatments for historic building exteriors; and emphasizes the importance of keeping a written record of completed work.

Maintenance helps preserve the integrity of historic structures. If existing materials are regularly maintained and deterioration is significantly reduced or prevented, the integrity of materials and workmanship of the building is protected. Proper maintenance is the most cost effective method of extending the life of a building. As soon as a building is constructed, restored, or rehabilitated, physical care is needed to slow the natural process of deterioration. An older building has already experienced years of normal weathering and may have suffered from neglect or inappropriate work as well.

Preservation Briefs are produced by the NPS office of Technical Preservation Services and provide guidance on preserving, rehabilitating, and restoring cultural resources in ways that are consistent with their historic character.

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