Monday, November 9, 2009

Siding for your historic house - Assessment • Treatment • Maintenance

Second in Your Old House Workshop Fall’ 09 Series

On Nov 2’09 Landmark Society had its second session for Your Old house workshop. The speaker for this session was Mr. Peter Trieb, a preservation consultant with over 30 years of experience. He has his own company named Preservation Matters in Lima New York. Peter’s love for the field of preservation began when his family bought a historic house in Lima almost 35 years ago and ever since, he has been fascinated with historic buildings and has devoted his life to the practice of preservation.

Peter started his talk by giving an overview on how to do a comprehensive survey of a building to look for possible causes of deterioration. He said that time and moisture are the two main enemies of the building. According to him, the best approach to follow in preservation projects is minimal intervention. He believes “less is more” in preservation.

From here he delved into different replacement siding materials including vinyl, aluminum, sheet goods like plywood (T-111), pressboard and masonite. He tried to unravel the myths associated with Synthetic siding such as synthetic siding “protects your property” or is “maintenance-free”. He mentioned that covering the historic building with replacement siding is never a solution instead it further invites more problem, as it becomes a trap for moisture.

He then talked about different siding types including horizontal and vertical siding and mentioned about their properties. With this brief description, he talked about the installation process and what does it involve. He gave us a detailed description of each part and issue involved in the installation of siding covering topics like preparation, house-wraps, ventilation, flashing, membranes, caulking and painting.
He greatly emphasized the significance of historic buildings and mentioned repeatedly that old houses should not be treated like new houses. One must be extremely cautious when using new materials on historic buildings and should carefully assess their effects.

He also talked about different maintenance strategies such as reactive maintenance, unfocussed maintenance and efficient maintenance. He said that a pro-active approach takes one a long way in the care and maintenance of their historic house.
This was a very extensive talk but Peter made it look very simple and easily do-able. He answered many questions during the talk including the use of new materials like hard board cement clapper boards. It was an extremely informative session and all our attendees thoroughly enjoyed it.

A special thanks to Peter for his lovely presentation, Morse Lumber for providing their space for the session and all of you who attended the session.

Posted by Nimisha Thakur, Preservation Associate

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