Change Your Home One Step at a Time

Change Your Home One Step at a Time

Staying On Top Of Your Craftsman Exterior: Keep Your Old House Looking New And Authentic

by Aiden Carroll

Craftsman -- or arts and crafts -- homes are some of the jewels of the early 20th century home building trends. The interiors feature beautiful wood floors, expertly designed built-in shelves and cabinets, lovely wooden beams, and plenty of windows for natural light. Craftsman homes embraced nature, and this was true even in the exterior material and color choices. If you live in a Craftsman homes, you can help maintain its natural exterior or restore it to its correct color and material. Here are some aspects of exteriors you should consider. 

1. Masonry Restoration and Care

Many Craftsman exteriors were designed with brick, cedar shingles, or stucco. Stucco and brick or stucco and stone combinations were quite common. The stones or bricks were used to to build full basement foundations, and stucco was applied in tinted colors -- most commonly brown, tan, green, mustard, or olive. If wooden siding was used, it was typically painted green, deep yellow, or russet. Some homes had a combination of these colors and white or deep wood trim. Bricks and stones were left exposed, and chimneys were left unpainted and remained a focal point on the exterior.

The plaster between bricks can crumble as it ages, and bricks can break or become damaged. In order to preserve the historic nature of your home, this brick needs to be restored in a professional way. Without the correct skill, you can end up with patchy or unattractive brick work. For example, the plaster used to adhere the bricks together develops a patina as it ages. Skilled masonry contractors can actually match this patina so there aren't unsightly lines of "new" plaster that clash with the rest of the brick foundation. For missing bricks, proper masonry restoration means sourcing bricks that match the existing brick types precisely. Keep in mind that exterior brick work in Craftsman homes is almost never painted. 

To preserve the beauty of the brick portions of your exterior, try to clean the bricks periodically with a gentle setting on a pressure washer. Avoid planting vines or climbers that will disrupt the plaster and weaken the bricks. Keep window wells properly excavated to help prevent the excess pressure on the bricks around windows that can come from moist soil.

2. Avoid replacing exterior materials with cheap alternatives.

If you home has original cedar siding with a stone foundation, don't replace the siding with vinyl and cover up the stone with a faux-rock product. Instead, have an exterior professional come to assess the overall condition of the original siding. Some pieces may need replaced. Craftsman homes were designed to be maintained by the "everyman" -- they have square construction, no-nonsense window designs, and straight lines. If great portions are compromised, try to find a siding (like cement siding printed to look like shakes) that at least harkens to the original style of your home. If the home had stucco originally, covering it up with siding is but a temporary fix. Instead, have the stucco patched and repainted. 

3. Let the original windows shine again.

Craftsman homes have plenty of windows, and these windows are meant to be the "artwork" of the home. They allow light to shine on all the beautiful woodwork inside and allow people to look outside to all the beauty of the natural world. Many people feel that modernizing windows is the best option, and they replace 100 year old wooden windows without a second thought. However, these wooden windows can be made much more weather tight with some minor repairs and proper care. Old windows were again designed to be repaired by the everyman. Each window is easily dismantled to refit sashes, old glass, or broken panes. Sand and refinish the original windows to really embrace the interior and exterior character these windows provide. 

For more assistance, contact a company like Mara Restoration, Inc.


About Me

Change Your Home One Step at a Time

The best way to handle major home renovations is to take them one step at a time. Instead of trying to change your whole home at once, start small. I started with the guest bathroom, then the guest bedroom, then moved on to my kids’ rooms, my bedroom, and the living room. Now I’m working on remodeling the kitchen. I started this blog to help other people who are attempting major home renovations. I’ll show you how to change your whole home by breaking it up into manageable chunks. Wondering which kitchen counters are right for you, or how to add more space to your bedroom? We’ll go over the pros and cons of different materials and discuss DIY renovation projects. Before you know it, you’ll have created your dream home.