4 Considerations for Painting your Business' Historic Building

calander Aug 24 , 2020 user-iconAnderson Painting
Anderson Painting building painting on brick

Regions and properties deemed “historic” by the U.S Department of the Interior, serve as important national and local landmarks as well as attractions that encourage tourism. Owning a business inside of one of these historic buildings is somewhat of a double-edged sword then. On the one hand, such businesses have the advantage of increased foot traffic due to their location. On the other hand, doing business in such a location comes with various governmental limitations. Indeed, if your business is inside a historic building, you likely have less of a say when it comes to making renovations, including how, when, and whether you paint the property. Neglecting such mandates can result in fines and evictions, so it’s important to know what you can and cannot do in this regard.

What to Consider Before Painting an Old Building

1. Is Paint Removal “Justified?”

For standard properties, deciding to invest in interior or exterior painting is mainly up to the owner’s discretion. For historic buildings, however, there is more red tape to get through before getting the green light to paint. Generally speaking, relevant governmental bodies must deem that a paint job is justified before the project can commence. The main concern here has to do with paint removal. According to the National Park Service’s website, “...it must be emphasized that removing paint from historic buildings—with the exception of cleaning, light scraping, and hand sanding as part of routine maintenance—should be avoided unless absolutely essential.”

These regulations are in place to preserve the character of historic buildings and reduce the risk of damaging surfaces. As for what would justify paint removal/painting, the NPS lists conditions such as severe peeling and cracking that cannot be resolved via cleaning or light sanding alone. Simply put, before painting or removing paint from a historic building, make sure you receive the proper permissions from the official governing bodies.

2. Safety Considerations

Proper paint removal and application can be challenging, sometimes dangerous processes, especially when it comes to painting older, historic buildings. As such, it’s important to hire experienced and well-equipped painters to handle these duties, like Anderson Painting contractors. Painters must wear the proper personal protective equipment on the job and follow regulations for paint/hazardous waste disposal.

3. Be Mindful of Lead Paint

This consideration closely follows the previous one, but it’s worth mentioning on its own. Properties built prior to 1978 may contain lead paint, and virtually all historic buildings fall into this category. If lead paint is present in your business’ historic building, all paint removal processes must be performed by lead-based certified contractors to maximize safety and minimize harm to the environment and the building itself. The NPS site lists various methods for lead paint removal, recommending mechanical and thermal interventions (except for blow torches). Chemical removal methods should be practiced with great caution.

4. Color/Branding Conflicts

Lastly, in order to maintain the historic look of a building and match it to its surroundings, your business may have to make sacrifices when it comes to expressing your unique brand via colors, logo, signage, etc. Your business’s brand might boast bright green, but you’ll have a hard time finding historic buildings and communities that match that color scheme. And, unfortunately for your business, the historically regulated color scheme takes precedence over your brand identity. Depending on your location and local laws, you may have more leeway in regards to interior painting, of course, but you still have to receive the proper approval before altering any aspect of the historic building.

When in Doubt, Go to the Experts

If you’re unsure of your rights and responsibilities regarding painting your business’ historic building, partner up with experienced painters who know the ins and outs of these challenging matters. At Anderson Painting, we’ve helped countless businesses update their properties without overstepping their bounds. To learn more about us and all we do, call today at 919-610-1855 or email us at info@andersonpaintingnc.com!

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