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Historic Preservation - Technical Procedures

Spectitle:

Guidelines For Rehabilitating Historic Buildings: Interior Spaces, Features And Finishes

Procedure code:

0109113S

Source:

National Park Service, Preservation Assistance Division

Division:

General Requirements

Section:

Reference Standards

Last Modified:

02/24/2012

Details:

Guidelines For Rehabilitating Historic Buildings: Interior Spaces, Features And Finishes



GUIDELINES FOR REHABILITATING HISTORIC BUILDINGS:  INTERIOR SPACES,
FEATURES AND FINISHES


U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Preservation Assistance Division
Washington, D.C.


An illustrated booklet addressing the Secretary's Standards and the
guidelines is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office.
The title is "The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for
Rehabilitation & Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic
Buildings", ISBN 0-16-035979-1.

Each of the guidelines included in the booklet mentioned above have
been separated into individual entries for specific use in HBPP.
This entry represents one of many guidelines included in the
booklet and describes RECOMMENDED and NOT RECOMMENDED applications
of the Secretary of the Interior's Standards as they relate to
Interior Spaces, Features and Finishes.  For a list of the
Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, see
01091-04-S; For general information relating to the purpose,
organization and content of the individual guidelines, see 01091-05-S.  Both of these entries
should be referenced along with the
information contained in this document.


BUILDING INTERIOR

INTERIOR:  SPACES, FEATURES, AND FINISHES:

An interior floor plan, the arrangement of spaces, and built-in
features and applied finishes may be individually or collectively
important in defining the historic character of the building.
Thus, their identification, retention, protection and repair should
be given prime consideration in every rehabilitation project and
caution exercised in pursuing any plan that would radically change
character-defining spaces or obscure, damage or destroy interior
features or finishes.

IDENTIFYING, RETAINING AND PRESERVING

1.   Recommended:

    -    Identifying, retaining, and preserving a floor plan or
         interior spaces that are important in defining the
         overall historic character of the building.  This
         includes the size, configuration, proportion, and
         relationship of rooms and corridors; the relationship of
         features to spaces; and the spaces themselves such as
         lobbies, reception halls, entrance halls, double parlors,
         theaters, auditoriums, and important industrial or
         commercial use spaces.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Radically changing a floor plan or interior spaces --
         including individual rooms -- which are important in
         defining the overall historic character of the building
         so that, as a result, the character is diminished.

    -    Altering the floor plan by demolishing principal walls
         and partitions to create a new appearance.

    -    Altering or destroying interior spaces by inserting
         floors, cutting through floors, lowering ceilings, or
         adding or removing walls.

    -    Relocating an interior feature such as a staircase so
         that the historic relationship between features and
         spaces is altered.

2.   Recommended:

    -    Identifying, retaining, and preserving interior features
         and finishes that are important in defining the overall
         historic character of the building, including columns,
         cornices, baseboards, fireplaces and mantels, paneling.
         light fixtures, hardware, and flooring; and wallpaper,
         plaster, paint, and finishes such as stenciling,
         marbling, and graining; and other decorative materials
         that accent interior features and provide color, texture,
         and patterning to walls, floors, and ceilings.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Removing or radically changing features which are
         important in defining the overall historic character of
         the building so that, as a result, the character is
         diminished.

    -    Installing new decorative material that obscures or
         damages character-defining interior features or finishes.

    -    Removing paint, plaster, or other finishes from
         historically finished surfaces to create a new appearance
         (e.g., removing plaster to expose masonry surfaces such
         as brick walls or a chimney piece).

    -    Applying paint, plaster, or other finishes to surfaces
         that have been historically unfinished to create a new
         appearance.

    -    Stripping historically painted wood surfaces to bare
         wood, then applying clear finishes or stains to create a
         "natural look."

    -    Stripping paint to bare wood rather than repairing or
         reapplying grained or marbled finishes to features such
         as doors and paneling.

    -    Radically changing the type of finish or its color, such
         as painting a previously varnished wood feature.


PROTECTING AND MAINTAINING

1.   Recommended:

    -    Protecting and maintaining masonry, wood, and
         architectural metals which comprise interior features
         through appropriate surface treatments such as cleaning,
         rust removal, limited paint removal, and application of
         protective coatings systems.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Failing to provide adequate protection to materials on a
         cyclical basis so that deterioration of interior features
         results.

2.   Recommended:

    -    Protecting interior features and finishes against arson
         and vandalism before project work begins, erecting
         protective fencing, boarding-up widows, and installing
         fire alarm systems that are keyed to local protection
         agencies.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Permitting entry into historic buildings through
         unsecured or broken windows and doors so that interior
         features and finishes are damaged by exposure to weather
         or through vandalism.

    -    Stripping interiors of features such as woodwork,doors
         windows, light fixtures, copper piping, radiators; or of
         decorative materials.

3.   Recommended:

    -    Protecting interior features such as a staircase, mantel,
         or decorative finishes and wall coverings against damage
         during project work by covering them with heavy canvas or
         plastic sheets.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Failing to provide proper protection of interior features
         and finishes during work so that they are gouged,
         scratched, dented, or otherwise damaged.

4.   Recommended:

    -    Installing protective coverings in areas of heavy
         pedestrian traffic to protect historic features such as
         wall coverings, parquet flooring and panelling.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Failing to take new use patterns into consideration so
         that interior features and finishes are damaged.

5.   Recommended:

    -    Removing damaged or deteriorated paints and finishes to
         the next sound layer using the gentlest method possible,
         then repainting or refinishing using compatible paint or
         other coating systems.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Using destructive methods such as propane or butane
         torches or sandblasting to remove paint or other
         coatings.  These methods can irreversibly damage the
         historic materials that comprise interior features.

6.   Recommended:

    -    Repainting with colors that are appropriate to the
         historic building.

7.   Not Recommended:

    -    Using new paint colors that are inappropriate to the
         historic building.

8.   Recommended:

    -    Limiting abrasive cleaning methods to certain industrial
         or warehouse buildings where the interior masonry or
         plaster features do not have distinguishing design,
         detailing, tooling, or finishes; and where wood features
         are not finished, molded, beaded, or worked by hand.
         Abrasive cleaning should ONLY be considered after other,
         gentler methods have been proven ineffective.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Changing the texture and patina of character-defining
         features through sandblasting or use of other abrasive
         methods to remove paint, discoloration or plaster.  This
         includes both exposed wood (including structural members)
         and masonry.

9.   Recommended:

    -    Evaluating the overall condition of materials to
         determine whether more than protection and maintenance
         are required that is, if repairs to interior features and
         finishes will be necessary.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Failing to undertake adequate measures to assure the
         preservation of interior features and finishes.


REPAIRING

1.   Recommended:

    -    Repairing interior features and finishes by reinforcing
         the historic materials.  Repair will also generally
         include the limited replacement in kind -- or with
         compatible substitute material -- of those extensively
         deteriorated or missing parts of repeated features when
         there are surviving prototypes such as stairs,
         balustrades, wood panelling, columns; or decorative wall
         coverings or ornamental tin or plaster ceilings.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Replacing an entire interior feature such as a staircase,
         panelled wall, parquet floor, or cornice; or finish such
         as a decorative wall covering or ceiling when repair of
         materials and limited replacement of such parts are
         appropriate.

    -    Using a substitute material for the replacement part that
         does not convey the visual appearance of the surviving
         parts or portions of the interior feature or finish or
         that is physically or chemically incompatible.


REPLACING

1.   Recommended:

    -    Replacing in kind an entire interior feature or finish
         that is too deteriorated to repair -- if the overall form
         and detailing are still evident -- using the physical
         evidence to guide the new work.  Examples could include
         wainscoting, a tin ceiling, or interior stairs.  If using
         the same kind of material is not technically or
         economically feasible, then a compatible substitute
         material may be considered.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Removing a character-defining feature or finish that is
         unrepairable and not replacing it; or replacing it with
         a new feature or finish that does not convey the same
         visual appearance.


NOTE:  THE FOLLOWING REPRESENTS PARTICULARLY COMPLEX TECHNICAL OR
DESIGN ASPECTS OF REHABILITATION PROJECTS AND SHOULD ONLY BE
CONSIDERED AFTER THE PRESERVATION CONCERNS LISTED ABOVE HAVE BEEN
ADDRESSED.

DESIGN FOR MISSING HISTORIC FEATURES

1.   Recommended:

    -    Designing and installing a new interior feature or finish
         if the historic feature or finish is completely missing.
         This could include missing partitions, stairs, elevators,
         lighting fixtures, and wall coverings; or even entire
         rooms if all historic spaces, features, and finishes are
         missing or have been destroyed by inappropriate
         "renovations."  The design may be a restoration based on
         historical, pictorial, and physical documentation; or be
         a new design that is compatible with the historic
         character of the building, district, or neighborhood.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Creating a false historical appearance because the
         replaced feature is based on insufficient physical,
         historical, and pictorial documentation or on information
         derived from another building.

    -    Introducing a new interior feature or finish that is
         incompatible with the scale, design, materials, color,
         and texture of the surviving interior features and
         finishes.


ALTERATIONS/ADDITIONS FOR THE NEW USE

1.   Recommended:

    -    Accommodating service functions such as bathrooms,
         mechanical equipment, and office machines required by the
         building's new use in secondary spaces such as first
         floor service areas or on upper floors.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Dividing rooms, lowering ceilings, and damaging or
         obscuring character-defining features such as fireplaces,
         niches, stairways or alcoves, so that a new use can be
         accommodated in the building.

2.   Recommended:

    -    Reusing decorative material or features that have had to
         be removed during the rehabilitation work including wall
         and baseboard trim, door moulding, panelled doors, and
         simple wainscoting; and relocating such material or
         features in areas appropriate to their historic
         placement.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Discarding historic material when it can be reused within
         the rehabilitation project or relocating it in
         historically inappropriate areas.

3.   Recommended:

    -    Installing permanent partitions in secondary spaces;
         removable partitions that do not destroy the sense of
         space should be installed when the new use requires the
         subdivision of character-defining interior spaces.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Installing permanent partitions that damage or obscure
         character-defining spaces, features, or finishes.

4.   Recommended:

    -    Enclosing an interior stairway where required by code so
         that its character is retained.  In many cases, glazed
         fire-rated walls may be used.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Enclosing an interior stairway with fire-rated
         construction so that the stairwell space or any
         character-defining features are destroyed.

5.   Recommended:

    -    Placing new code-required stairways or elevators in
         secondary and service areas of the historic building.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Radically changing, damaging, or destroying character-
         defining spaces, features, or finishes when adding new
         code-required stairways and elevators.

6.   Recommended:

    -    Creating an atrium or a light well to provide natural
         light when required for the new use in a manner that
         preserves character-defining interior spaces, features,
         and finishes as well as the structural system.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Destroying character-defining interior spaces, features,
         or finishes; or damaging the structural system in order
         to create an atrium or light well.

7.   Recommended:

    -    Adding a new floor if required for the new use in a
         manner that preserves character-defining structural
         features, and interior spaces, features, and finishes.

    Not Recommended:

    -    Inserting a new floor within a building that alters or
         destroys the fenestration; radically changes a character-
         defining interior space; or obscures, damages, or
         destroys decorative detailing.

                         END OF SECTION