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Period Details: Maintaining Historical Accuracy

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Michael listens on WWBA and you’re thinking about painting. What can we do for you?

    MICHAEL: Hey actually, I’ve got an old 1926 construction built house and …

    TOM: Cool.

    MICHAEL: … I’ve got some – we’re in the process of taking plaster out of the house right now because it’s just kind of cracked beyond all repair. Do you guys have any tips for – I don’t know – like keeping kind of the flavor of an old bungalow-style house? I know we’re going to have to put sheetrock up. Or do you guys recommend – you know, should we try and plaster again or is modern-day plaster not quite as good as the old stuff was?

    TOM: Well, that’s a good – that’s a good question. I think that you can maintain the look and the feel of an older house without doing plaster. It would be nice if you could. It’s interesting the way the wall construction has changed over the years. In a house that was built at the turn of the century, you had balloon framing and then you had wood lath, which is like wood sticks put up against the framing, and then wet plaster in multiple layers put on top of that. And then from like, say, the 30s – late 30s to like the mid 50s, you had plaster lath, which I think was like the best ever wall construction off all time, where you had what was kind of like drywall with a coat of plaster on top of that. And then, of course, you went to totally drywall.

    Now, I don’t think that most people are going to be able to tell what kind of wall construction you have, once you’re in that house, if it’s, you know, finished properly. I think, Leslie, more of the details of an older house come from the trim and style …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … not so much the wall construction.

    LESLIE: I mean I think, Michael, it’s really important to do your research. Look into any historical books, magazines; anything that referenced the time frame of construction of your home and the style – bungalow style. And then look into any sort of decorative features; like Tom said: trimming; how the doors are made. Are there raised panels, are there recessed panels, is there bamboo detailing. Look into all of that and try to duplicate those things as best you can, you know. And you don’t have to do it all at once. Those things can be done later on as you’re doing the work on the house, you know, and as you can afford them budgetarily. But you know, look into the details that make up the aesthetics of that time period and of that building style to really convey that period.

    TOM: Yeah, you’re definitely going to have the best of both worlds, Michael. My house was built in 1886 and that’s exactly what we did. We replaced all of the plaster in this house but we kept the trim – or actually rebuilt the trim in the exact same style it originally was. And you can have the best of both worlds. That is definitely the right way to handle it.

    LESLIE: 888-MONEY-PIT. That’s the number to call. Stay with us.

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