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Historic Restoration and Repairs, The Common Challenges Within

Nov 02 2023

Introduction to Historical Restoration  

Historic buildings are always a captivating glance when walking through historic towns, cities, or even visiting castles that welcome entertainment and fun for the community. This is just one of the many reasons as to why preserving and repairing period properties is important.  

The restoration of historic buildings can be challenging, however it’s very important to conduct these repairs and restorations so the architectural heritage can be preserved. This article will discuss the importance of restoring historic properties and the challenges faced.        

Identifying and Sourcing Authentic Materials

One of the many challenges to overcome when preserving a historical property is sourcing the accurate and authentic building materials. The importance of having these materials is to maintain historical integrity.            

Sourcing and sustaining supplies of traditional materials for the maintenance and repair of historic buildings can be tricky, specifically to get the distinctive look of many significant historic buildings and areas. The use of locally sourced materials from historic areas are greatly needed to keep up the suitable materials and maintenance for repairing and saving heritage buildings.

To source these materials there are specialist directories which have a variety of suppliers for numerous different types of material required for the repair of historically constructed buildings, such as lime for mortars, hair for plasters, clay roofing, bricks, and handmade bricks.  

Identifying and then selecting the required material for the repair of historic structures requires thorough investigation. the use of authentic traditional materials helps to restore the building without harming its historic character. The physical properties of the materials chosen to repair the historic building needs to be taken into consideration with the existing material, as certain materials can damage the historical architecture speeding up the deterioration process. Durability and repair of the material also needs careful consideration for future maintenance purposes, but always keep in mind the cheapest option might not always be the best option long term.    

Structural Issues with Historic buildings

Overtime period buildings decay and will need repair and restoration. There are many different structural issues that can stem from this. The building will need specialised assessments and repair options to make sure the restoration process advances correctly, based on the building’s structural instability.    

The most Common structural issues identified with the preservation of historical buildings are as follows.  

Concrete Cracking: The structural integrity of historic buildings can be jeopardised from temperature fluctuations, settlement, and structural stress. Cracks weaken the structure of the period building leaving it vulnerable for further complications if not managed and maintained.    

Spalling: When the surface of concrete deteriorates spalling then occurs, this leads to flaking or chipping. The weather as well as chemical reactions and corrosion of the embed steel reinforcements all contribute to spalling.      

Masonry problems: Masonry walls can develop cracking due to settling, temperature fluctuations or water infiltration. Bricks and stone start crumbling due to moisture exposure and weather conditions as well as surface erosion. The mortar holding the masonry units together may deteriorate overtime and repointing will be required.  

Iron and metal corrosion: The metal tie supports, and steel structural elements can corrode and rust overtime.

Stone Decay: the decorative and historic elements of the stone can erode and fade due to weather damage. This results in the loss of structural integrity in the load bearing stone elements.

Roof issues: The roofing materials on historic buildings can become worn out or damaged, which results in them becoming leaky.       

Compliance with Preservation Regulations

Special considerations are needed for historical building repairs, as usually anything that needs repairing must go through an acceptance process with the laws and regulations. These regulations are intended to prevent the destruction of the historic heritage and instead maintain the beauty of the period building or structure.        

When preserving historical buildings, changes might need to be made meaning Listed Building Consent (LBC) from the local planning committee of Historic England needs to be authorised. This consent is required for both exterior and interior changes and any other structures that may be attached.          

Planning permission will also be needed in addition with LBC for specific types of work such as extensions, change in use and alterations that may affect the appearance of the building.  

If LBC is not required, but the building under historic restoration renovation is in a conservational area, Conservational Area Consent for external works may be required.      

A Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) may be mandatory to measure any potential impact the changes could have on the historic fabric and the importance of the building.    

Historic England can provide advice and guidance on the maintenance and renovation of period buildings. Their articles give insights and sources that offer valuable knowledge on best practices techniques and approaches when restoring a historical building.      

Matching Period-Accurate Techniques

The techniques used to build these historical buildings were quite different to modern techniques, therefore it can be hard to replicate them. It is important that skilled craftsmen who understand the best practices in historical restoration are used for the job. This is so everything is done smoothly and correctly during the renovation process.      

Budget Constraints

Preserving historical landmarks can come with formidable financial challenges. The demand for authentic materials and skilled craftsmen makes period building repairs expensive. To make the most of your resources, meticulous budget planning is essential. This financial foresight ensures your restoration project's success while upholding the historical integrity of the structure.

Unforeseen Discoveries

In the field of historic restoration, the unexpected is a common guest. As repairs unfold, unforeseen issues often surface, necessitating a flexible and adaptable project plan. It's here that the value of experienced professionals truly shines. Their expertise not only anticipates challenges but also navigates them effectively, ensuring that your actions taken to preserve the past remains on course. Prepare for the unexpected, and your historical restoration journey will be even more rewarding.


Preserving and restoring historical structures are essential endeavours to maintain architectural heritage. This journey is not without its share of challenges, as we've explored throughout this article. From identifying authentic materials to addressing structural issues, navigating preservation regulations, and matching period-accurate techniques, each step requires careful consideration and expertise. The financial constraints of period building repairs are real, emphasising the need for meticulous budget planning. Moreover, be prepared for the unexpected; unforeseen discoveries are part and parcel of historic restoration. Working with experienced professionals who can adapt to these challenges, as well as having the knowledge of traditional craftsmanship is key to ensuring that many architectural treasures stand the test of time. As we face these obstacles head-on, we continue to preserve the past and pass it on to future generations, enriching our cultural tapestry with the stories of our history.  

Contact us! Let Concrete Renovations Ltd Help

Preserve the legacy of the past with Concrete Renovations Ltd. Our experienced team specializes in restoring historic landmarks, ensuring their legacy lives on. Ready to preserve the past? Contact us for expert period building repair services. Share your experiences and challenges with us as we embark on this remarkable journey together.  

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