Exterior wall painting techniques for a historic restoration

Historic properties have a timeless allure and unique character that can’t be replicated by modern constructions. While the interiors of these buildings may undergo renovation and modernization to meet the needs of contemporary living, their exteriors remain intact in many cases to preserve the property’s integrity.

However, historic exterior walls are subject to many damaging factors, from weathering and pollution to insects and moisture. Without proper Maintenance, such damage can cause long-lasting harms to the beauty and charm of the walls.

Fortunately, various techniques can restore the former glory of historic exterior walls. In this article, we explore the essential techniques to revamp historic walls’ aesthetics, vitality, and grandeur.

Cleaning Historic Exterior Walls

Cleaning is the first step towards reviving the charm of historic exterior walls. If not cleaned regularly, the surfaces can accumulate dirt, grime, and pollutants that make them look dingy and opaque. However, it’s essential to employ proper cleaning techniques based on the type of surfaces, as harsh cleaning methods can strip off the patina and damage the walls’ surface.

Some effective cleaning techniques include:

  • Pressure Washing: Ideal for surfaces that can withstand high pressure, such as brick and stone walls, metals, and concrete.

  • Wet Cleaning: Suitable for delicate surfaces that can’t handle harsh abrasives or water under high pressure. This method involves using a gentle sponge or cloth dipped in a solution of mild detergent and warm water to gently clean the surface.

  • Chemical Cleaning: Suitable for surfaces that require a deep clean to extract stains, mold, and mildew. Chemical cleaning involves using acidic or alkaline cleaning agents to dissolve surface contaminants.

  • Steam Cleaning: Ideal for cleaning delicate surfaces, steam cleaning involves using high-temperature steam to remove dirt, grime, and stains without causing abrasion.

Repairing Historic Exterior Walls

After cleaning the surfaces, repairing the exterior walls’ damage is the next step towards restoring their charm and beauty. The extent of the damage dictates the repair approach, and hiring a professional to assess the damage is recommended.

Some common repair techniques include:

  • Pointing: Pointing involves removing damaged and deteriorated mortar joints and replacing them with new mortar.

  • Patching: Patching or repair mortar is a quick fix for small and localized repair work. It involves filling cracks and defects with a special mix of cement, sand, and water.

  • Masonry Repair: Masonry repair is a comprehensive technique that involves repairing and replacing bricks and stones. A professional mason carefully examines the walls, assesses the damage, and replaces the defective components with a new one.

Preserving Historic Exterior Walls

Once you clean and repair the exterior walls, preserving their beauty and charm is crucial. Preserving the walls prevents recurrent damage and keeps them beautiful and clean over the long-term.

Some techniques that aid preservation include:

  • Application of Protective Coatings: Protective coatings or sealants can protect painted surfaces from weather pollution and ultraviolet rays.

  • Water Repellent Coatings: Water repellent coatings penetrate the walls’ surfaces, reducing water absorption and damage from moisture.

  • Breathable Sealer: Breathable sealers preserve the walls’ charm by allowing moisture to escape and prevent structural damage such as cracks and fissures.

  • Repointing: Repointing, which involves applying a thin layer of new mortar to brick walls, serves to protect the existing mortar from further damage.

FAQs about Restoring Historic Exterior Walls

1) What is the best cleaning technique for old stones?

Ans: Wet cleaning and steam cleaning are most effective for delicate stones.

2) What is the preservation technique for historic brick walls?

Ans: Repointing and the application of a water-repellent sealer is the best preservation technique for historic brick walls.

3) How do you repair structural cracks in exterior walls?

Ans: Hiring a professional is recommended, who will identify the extent of the damage and use the appropriate repair technique.


Restoring historic exterior walls requires a comprehensive approach involving cleaning, repairing, and preserving the walls. Proper cleaning treatments, appropriate repair techniques, and preservation measures can restore the surfaces’ charm, vitality, and grandeur. Hiring a professional to assess the damage and help with the repair work is always recommended to ensure long-lasting results.

Fix It Painting

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat
Need help?
Hi there,
Can I offer you a FREE no obligation quote?