Heritage Restoration - What Is It And What Does It Involve?

A heritage restoration involves bringing a valuable piece of our history back to its original, or as close to its original, beauty and splendor as possible. In this post, we will define what a heritage building and restoration is as well as special guidelines and considerations for carrying this unique type of project.  A heritage restoration takes special skill and experience to complete correctly. Royal Masonry has that experience. If you are looking to restore the stonework on your heritage property, call the experts at Royal Masonry.

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What Is A Heritage Restoration?

When you restore a building, you are attempting to return it to the appearance that it had at a particular period in time. This may involve removing additions or other alterations which were added after that time period and then reconstructing the features that were previously there. Heritage restoration is aimed at returning a heritage building back to its previous condition or appearance.

Are There Special Guidelines To Follow With A Heritage Restoration?

A Heritage home restoration is a bit more complicated than a regular home renovation. The Ontario Heritage Act requires the clerk of each municipality to keep a publicly accessible record of all heritage properties in their corresponding municipality. Contact your local municipality to see if your home has been designated.  If your home is designated in Kitchener then you can click here for an individually designated property or here for a heritage conservation district. It is on the list, then you will need to apply for a heritage permit in order to restore, renovate, repair, or disturb your home in any way. A permit is also necessary if you wish to put up or take down any building or structure currently on a designated heritage property. Click here to download a copy of the 2017 Heritage permit application form.

What Is A Heritage Building?

A building may be deemed a heritage building for a number of reasons. It could be because it relates to an important person or significant historical event in your community. It could also relate to a crucial time in the establishment or development of a neighbourhood. Even a well-crafted building which represents the character of the community could be considered.

A building or structure does not have to be old to be considered a heritage building. For example, the CN tower in Toronto is a symbol and a significant part of that city's heritage. It also doesn't have to be a grand structure to be counted as a heritage building. It could be a small cottage, bridge, warehouse, or even an industrial structure. What is important is that it holds a valuable legacy to the past. These types of properties deserve to be preserved and protected.

Who Designates Heritage Properties?

The Ontario Heritage Act gives municipalities the right to pass bylaws to designate qualifying properties as heritage properties, however, they must follow the guidelines set out under the Ontario Heritage Act. Click here to download the full version of the Ontario Heritage Act.  A local municipality will decide if a property is of cultural heritage value or interest. Designating these properties publicly acknowledges their value to a community while also making sure that they will be preserved for the enjoyment of generations to come.

What Is Involved In Heritage Restoration?

An important part of heritage restoration is architectural conservation. This is the physical intervention in a building to help stop its deterioration and make sure that it maintains a stable structure. Some architectural conservation techniques include:

  • wallpaper cleaning
  • reattaching loose plaster
  • masonry repointing: the removal of old mortar in masonry joints and replacing it hopefully with a similar technique and mortar to the original. Read more about repointing here.  
  • consolidation: strengthening deteriorated materials to ensure structural integrity, preferably using traditional skills and materials.

Who Can I Trust With My Heritage Restoration?

It takes a specialist to successfully complete a specialty project like restoring the stonework in a heritage home. Don't take any chances with your significant piece of history. At Royal Masonry, we have the knowledge and the experience to restore your home to its original magnificence. Over the years we have built up a strong reputation for the highest-quality workmanship. Our expert stone masons are second to none. Contact us for a free estimate and begin bringing your heritage home back to life.