There are a rather a lot of restrictions involved in making improvements to historical buildings, these vary from the rather strict legislation which restricts what can and can’t be done to listed buildings, through to getting even what are initially considered to be minor updates through the planning procedure. Often relatively small details must be considered to retain the characteristic of the building, right down to matching the mortar, tiles and bricks, this is why used building materials hold their price so well.
Doors and Windows
Improving the doors and windows is a good example of this, as if a building is either listed or in a conservation area there could be restrictions on what could be done. Usually if a structure is owned by an organisation such as the national trust, self imposed restrictions will exist anyway, so for example, if it already has traditional timber framed sash windows, these are likely to be repaired as opposed to replaced with aluminium, UPVC or even a different type of timber and style, although if the frames allow, uprated glass may be used, usually double glazed to offer better insulation properties.
Changing doors can also often be a difficult decision, as large country houses are ideal for larger glass doors, these can be the bifold, concertina or sliding style. However because of structural constraints they must usually be made to fit an existing opening and fit in with the traditional appearance of the building and surrounding windows. The range available is not as broad as with simple doors, however many companies do offer an ever widening range of styles these days which in the case of traditional wooden styles may be available in a range of wood stains to match the existing features.
Stonework is a very different case, as often on an older building it was probably hand crafted, although it could now be in a state of disrepair to the point that the specific feature is no longer recognisable. this level of deterioration can be down to a number of things, however, pollution and the stone being worked and consequentially laid in the wrong orientation is often the culprit. These types of repairs can prove to be very costly and are generally best avoided unless entirely necessary.
Until such time that improving the structural appearance is as easy as updating more minor items such as doors and windows these type of repairs will seldom be done in time to save the feature completely.