Do you have a historic home that you would like to restore to its original condition? Too often, historic homes have been added onto, had original features covered up, and otherwise changed to look more modern over the decades (and sometimes centuries). Many owners of these homes want to restore them to look like they did in their original state of splendor.

Restoring a historic house can be a lengthy process that could be years along the path to completion. That's okay. You have all the time you need to make your house shine like the old days. If you want to get started now, these are the three best ways to bring back some of the house's original features immediately. You can always do the rest of the work later.

1. Get the Masonry Repaired

Original masonry on historic houses may have been damaged, or even covered up with stucco or other types of siding. One of the first things you should do is bring that original brickwork back to the way it was intended to look. Everyone who passes by your house will be able to tell that it's a historic one once the masonry is fixed.

Masonry repair may involve cleaning up and patching dirty or cracked mortar. Some bricks may need to be replaced or re-shaped. If your house has tuckpointing in the mortar work and it's wearing away, you should hire a tuckpointing specialist to fix it for you. This is a very special type of brick work that was very popular in the 19th century, so if you don't know a tuckpointing specialist (or can't find one), your mason contractors will probably be able to guide you to the nearest one to your area.

2. Save the Plaster

Original plaster is one of the most important parts of a historic house, and one of the first to get covered up in attempts to "modernize" it. When you start removing paneling and wallpaper, you will likely encounter old plaster. You may even still be able to see some of it in some parts of your house.

If the old plaster is in poor condition or peeling away, don't remove it or replace it with drywall. This takes away from the historic character of the house. According to, you should use a glue injector to put original plaster back in place.

You should also use new plaster to fill in cracks in the original plaster if it is damaged. Done correctly, you won't be able to tell the difference between the original plaster and the new plaster you used for patching it.

3. Keep Your Historic Windows

If your old windows have gotten drafty, it may be tempting to replace them with lookalike modern ones. Don't do it. Old windows from the mid-20th century and back were typically made with superior old-growth wood and put together in pieces. This means they will last a long time, and any needed repairs can be done on a piece-by-piece basis. If you put a new window in, it will be a one piece affair that will have to be replaced in one piece if it gets damaged.

A little weather stripping, repairing or replacing rotten or termite-ridden wood, and the addition of energy efficient glass is really all you need to do to your historic windows. Other than this, keep them as they are and they will last for the lifetime of the house in most cases, and allow your house to keep its unique historic character.


You don't have to do a whole renovation all at once on your historic house. Just start with these three things to get your house looking its most obvious best. Then, take on additional projects in your renovation as you're able. Get started today and see what a difference these changes will make.

Check out sites like to find contractors near you who can assist you.