What Makes Historic Home Painting Different? 

December 15, 2021

We are so lucky to live in an area of the country where history is practically around every corner. Historic homes and landmarks are a source of great pride for so many of the New England towns and cities our business calls home. 

Historic homes that dot our region of Massachusetts are not only a testament to our past but also add to the aesthetics of our area by showing off time period architecture, attention to detail, and superb craftsmanship. 

Painting a home that is certified and registered with the local historical society means more than just buying a can of paint and some brushes and rollers. Historic homes need some serious TLC and attention to the local ordinances regarding paint colors and changes made to the home in general. 

commercial property painted by Jerry Enos

The Difference in Historic Homes 

Most homeowners know when they purchase a home that it is registered as a historic home. If your property and home is one such structure, there is a rather large difference in the painting, prep, and color selection process. 

Color Selection 

Whether your home is from the Colonial, Federal, or Georgian time periods will dictate quite a bit regarding what was historically painted and which color schemes were often used. The Massachusetts historic town of Ipswich has broken down each time period for our reference and explains what wood was painted and what was common during each period in terms of color choices. 

Painting Preparation 

Not only should homeowners follow regulations regarding the local municipalities guidance on color choices but they should also seek out painters that are experienced in painting older and historic homes. 

Prep for painting an older home tends to be much more extensive than for newer homes. There will be more time spent on testing for lead paint, washing, scraping, sanding, priming, and repairing holes or rotten wood. Additionally, historic homes will need extensive caulking to keep drafts from windows and doors from cooling a home during the winter months. 

Interior and Exterior Painting 

Painting a historic home both inside and out poses some challenges. On the exterior professional painters will want to test for lead, evaluate the strength of shingles and wood clapboards before painting, and sand appropriately to allow a clean surface for paint adhesion. Exterior painting of older homes often takes multiple layers or primer and top coat to get a positive outcome. 

Interior painting will also be slightly different on older homes. Painters will need to account for painting over horsehair plaster or removal of layers of wallpaper. Historic homes also tend to have more details in the trim and baseboards which may mean more sanding and old paint removal. Each of these possibilities adds time to a paint project that homeowners should be aware of before the painting begins. 

Do you have a historic home that needs painting inside or out? Talk to our experienced team about our recent historic home paint projects and get started on yours today. 


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