Four Mistakes To Avoid When Maintaining And Updating An Original Craftsman Bungalow

Construction & Contractors Articles

If you own an original Craftsman-style bungalow from the early 1900s, chances are good that you are spending, or plan to spend, some time and money maintaining and updating the home. Unfortunately, a lot of people who purchase these homes make mistakes or oversights that end up taking away from the home's character. To ensure your Craftsman home stays looking as authentic as possible as you update and maintain it, be sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Mistake 1: Choosing very non-Craftsman windows.

If your home still has its original windows, then replacing them is certainly not a bad idea, since new, well-sealed windows will save you a bundle on your energy bill. However, you need to use great care when choosing new windows, or you could end up accidentally choosing ones that, to someone who knows a bit about architecture, look obviously updated and not-at-all-Craftsman.

Craftsman homes traditionally have double-hung windows with multiple panes on the top and one pane on the bottom. Usually, the top windows have 4 panes, but 6 is not uncommon. Window companies do carry replacement windows of this sort -- you just might have to look a little harder than if you were to choose single-pane tops and bottoms. Click here to read more about the subject

Mistake 2: Not maintaining the stained glass properly.

The stained glass in your Craftsman home is probably one of a kind and completely unique, since it's likely handmade if it's original to the home. If you do not maintain it, the stained glass you find to replace it won't have the same character because it will be made with today's technology. Thus, it's important to take very good care of your stained glass windows. This includes the following:

  • Avoiding using an overly wet cloth to clean your stained glass.
  • Not pressing too hard on the panes when cleaning.
  • Using only distilled water to clean your windows; hard water can leave them spotty. Window cleaners can weaken them.
  • Contacting an expert who specializes in repairing antique stained glass if the panes ever begin to feel loose. Have them fixed before they are at risk of falling out and breaking.

Mistake 3: Painting the woodwork.

The woodwork in Craftsman homes is always stained, not painted. Some homeowners are tempted to paint the woodwork in their homes if it starts to look a bit worn and dinged, but this takes away from the authenticity of the home.

If your woodwork is looking a bit worse for wear, you are better off stripping it, sanding down any rough areas, and re-staining it. Yes, this is a lot more work than covering it with a coat of paint, but it will preserve the value and authenticity of your historic home.

Mistake #4: Not replacing or maintaining the little details.

A lot of the beauty of Craftsman homes lies in their details. Because the style does not use a lot of ornate patterns or bright colors, the few details that are included really stand out. Wrought iron light fixtures, carefully hewn crown molding, and sculpted pillars at corners of porch rails, for example, add beauty to a Craftsman home.

Over the years, as these details fall into disrepair, it's easy to slowly let them slide. For instance, the light fixture might start to corrode, so you replace it with a modern one. The porch pillar may rot, so you take it down since it's not needed for support. It's easy for one little lost detail to turn into many lost details, and before you know it, your home's character has changed.

Work to preserve the details of your home. Find antique light fixtures to replace ones that are looking worn, re-build pillars, use authentic switch plate covers -- the result will be a home that is every bit as beautiful as the day it was built.

Purchasing a historic Craftsman home automatically grants you an important obligation: preserving that home's unique architecture and style so that others who follow you can also enjoy it. By avoiding the mistakes above, you'll keep your home looking authentic. . 

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29 July 2015

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