Exterior Restoration of a Historic Home


The exterior restoration of the facade on this historical home built in 1870 was challenging and rewarding. We had first visited the clients in 2018 for an exterior paint consultation. Eventually, it turned into the present day restoration work we completed. The house is a 150 years old, three story colonial, that is over 5000 sq/ft. Additionally, the client is a professional journalist who has an interest in woodworking and restoration. As a result, the client wanted to preserve as much of the old material as possible.  

The project needed extensive carpentry and wood rot replacement, lead paint removal and stabilization, and window restoration. In addition, we needed to jack up the house to replace rotted sill plates on the foundation and insulate the exterior walls. Lastly, we would complete the painting.

Starting The Exterior Restoration

To start, we had to replace about 30 linear feet of rotted sill plates in the front of the house. Paint Track had to jack the house up and replace 6-8 feet sections of the wood rot at the time with pressure treated wood. But, the challenge was making sure the 8′ tall double hung windows did not shatter under the pressure when jacking the house up. Afterward, we carefully removed all the stained window trim and sashes to the frame before jacking the house up to prevent any damage. After the sill plates were replaced, we carefully reassembled the windows and trim back in place without any damage. 

Replacing Exterior Shingles

The facade of the house had two layers of old shingles that were in rough shape. Part of the home was covered in boards that are not meant for exterior siding. In addition, the lack of insulation of the walls allowed moisture to get behind the boards from the interior. As a result, all the paint on the shingles and boards were peeling. Rather than temporary fix, we consulted with the customer to remove all the shingles and boards. Paint Track advised to insert blown insulation into the walls through small holes on the exterior and wrap the house with tar paper. In terms of siding, advised to install new pre-primed cedar clapboards on the first two floors and cedar shingles on everything above the roof line including dormers and gables. 

Unexpected Termite Rot!

We discovered rotted trim around the four exterior columns that extended 21 feet up supporting the third floor room. Upon removing the trim, we discovered that three out of four column’s cores had rotted or been eaten by termites. This means they were not supporting the structure at all, which was alarming. Paint Track needed to find a solution quickly. The challenge was that we needed 21’ long 6” x 6” pressure treated to replace them. Unfortunately, the longest 6” x 6” we could find was 20’ tall. In order to confirm the safety of our work we consulted with an architect to come up with a plan for the column cores. The Architect advised us on how to attach the top of the columns to the frame of the house safely. 

After The Architect Plans

Three revisions were made to the Architect’s plans, as the first two were found not to be practical due to limitation of the space and connection of the core of the columns to the room above. The architect came up with a plan to build a one foot concrete platform to erect the column on as the solution. The platform had to be reinforced with steel rods in the ground and above to support the weight. The plan also specified a custom made steel brackets to connect the top of the columns to the framing of the house.

This was challenging for the team as we had to open the floor of the third story room to access the area above the columns. This was required in order to connect the brackets with bolts to the 6” x 6” and frame of the house in a tight space. The first two Architect’s drawings of the plans and brackets connections were not possible to implement. Then the Architect created a plan and bracket design that made it possible to install the cores and secure them with the brackets to the frame in the tight space.

Once all that was completed we finished the fine carpentry work, installed siding, trim, wrapped the columns, and painted. 

This project won Paint Track the PCA Best Exterior Residential Restoration Award! Check it out here.

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