Played: November 26, 2021
From True Tales of Old Houses, Devyn and Stacy answer the question, "When is it ok to use modern products in my historic house?" Historic does not always mean better and using modern products can lift your design even more.
Updated Date: Jan 27, 2022
Publish Date: Apr 28, 2021
just nail it. The question today is what kinds of modern products are available that can help preserve old houses. When is it OK to fake it? And when is historic? Always better. Would you like to start us off today? Um Do you want to start us off Stacy? I could start this one is a really, really tricky one because it is so subjective. And that subjective nature of the answer also becomes incredibly controversial because there's such a wide variety of old house owners. So I know weird way. That's why this right back at you Stacey. Yeah, thanks for that. Thanks for that. Now. My house has been not updated in a terrible way, but it has been changed over the years and I'm I'm working against or with modern products now, so we're not going all the way back. There's nothing on my house that's all the way back. Well except 12 windows which on the exterior have probably the original oil paint. But everything else I'm kind of dealing with what's happened between them. So I'm not forced to make a lot of those decisions all the time. I'm just dealing with the hand that I've been dealt so far. I think it's always worth it to look at the historically accurate product first and that's why I always, if I have to make a choice, I'll always look at that one first and weigh the pros and cons. I'm not in a historic district. I'm not, my house is not designated a historic house. So I, I have complete autonomy as far as choosing the choices that I do. A lot of the one thing I guess I would counsel people to look at it is things like, let's talk about columns. For instance, columns you can get in any number of products. You can get PVC columns, you can get metal columns. You can get, oh, I don't know, there's any number of them, fiberglass, you know, to replace things a lot of times when the house was built and check this out first. A lot of times they were built in a way, especially columns where the base was the sacrificial layer. Those were actually meant to come out and be replaced over and over. So maybe it's worth it to keep your column or repair your column and then look at a base that would work better for you or for your climate or something like that. Maybe that's where you might want to consider modernizing is a column I'll use, I have a porch, a street side, I call it the street side, front porch and I'll give you an example of what I did there. That was an original tongue and groove. I'm sure it wasn't the original. It was probably the second one maybe from my 130 year old house. And it was tongue and groove painted and it's on the side of the house, it's on the north side, it's a small porch, the sun never touches it so it's always covered with, it's always cold, it's always damp, it's mildew. The whole thing was rotten, destroyed, destroyed all the pillar bases or the um column bases that are on my porch. So when I replaced the porch floor rather than putting tongue and groove painting it, which would have been historically accurate. I actually went with sustainably harvested Kumerow instead which is really similar to uh just to compare it. It's teak think about t so it's meant for you know, boats, wet situations and so all I have to do every year is oil it and it looks brand new. It's not going to rot, it's not going to as long as I keep it clean, rinse it off some, it's not going to get mildew or mold or anything like that. And if that's not rotting from the bottom, then my column bases are also going to stay a lot more solid. Um, it's kind of an out of the box choice, but it's a small porch, it's not a wrap around. So it wasn't going to really change the overall look of my house in any way. It was just going to make life nicer for me and for The next person who is going to live here. I mean that Cuba is not going to go anywhere for probably another 100 20 years. Right? Yeah. And I appreciate that perspective. And I think one way to kind of make a judgment call on when it's appropriate to use a modern product versus an old product is is looking really at what someone's intention is. And I think very often when, especially old house purists get really upset is when someone replaces something because they think it's lower maintenance. And a lot of our modern day products, I find to be much higher maintenance. So when someone puts in a vinyl window or a composite deck, you cannot power wash that composite decking the same way you can with would that, you mentioned that you re oil with a vinyl window once it starts to bow or the plastic starts to break down, you can't repair it. And so then you have to replace the whole thing. And so that's why I really love old things. That that's why you love them. I'm sure most of the people listening, I'm like, yeah, that's also why I like would it because I can stand it or seal it, or I can I can fix it. And so I think sometimes some of the modern day products are looked at with a rightfully so with like kind of like a sneer, Something is because they end up making things worse down the road or those products can like, they can rot out the entire window frame and then you now have a whole other situation. So I understand why those are disliked and I appreciate what you did because you now still have would and you maintain it in an oil, which is also fitting with your home, even though the wood isn't the same wood, it's a better wood for your needs. I like to think about maintenance in terms of what I have to do, but I also don't intend to leave a problem for someone else. And I think that's maybe the step that sometimes is missed. You know, we're just looking at what's right in front of us and what is going to be easier for us without thinking about the house and the future owners. I mean, I can't make people care about others. I mean, gosh, we try that, right? Yeah, we can try. But I guess what I'm thinking about what's best for the house. I'm also thinking about helping other the future owners make wise decisions to. I'm a little worried about my floors here. I use rubio Monaco, it, which is really a different product than most people would use. Most people would use polyurethane. So I do every now and then get a little bit, you know, anxious and hand wringing over how somebody might, what they might think about the floor. They might not realize what it is and they might try to put poly over it or they might clean it with something harsh and so I'm not moving any time soon. But I'm already planning my endgame. Like all right, I'm going to leave a little folder and it's gonna talk about rubio and they can make their own decisions about how they want to handle it. But as long as they know what's on it, they can at least maintain it properly. I'm not planning on moving anytime soon either. But I also have a binder ready to go for when someone comes in and they have all the products and they have all of the receipts and they know everything that's in there. But you can bet that I'm going to spend a lot of time like making a list of how to take care of my house, which I'll have a hard time not calling at my house when the time comes. But when you are living there anymore, it will become the Goldman House because it's never the house, right? I mean, I still live in Dorothy's house even though I've lived here for seven years. So when I leave it will be like, oh yeah, that was Stacey's house, but it's never going to be my house until until I'm gone. That's interesting. Yeah, that's a good point. There's a ton of products out there that are really helpful that our modern products like Abba Tron, I know you've used that for repairing wood and that's a great way of keeping that original wood intact, but then patching wherever there is a problem and it's solid and good and has been tried and true outdoors and that seems almost like a magical product in a way that's great for old houses. Another thing I was thinking of two beyond like maintenance or repairing of houses is in our old house. We don't have any of the original electrical. We replaced the knob and tube with Rome max when we remodeled and it was just the natural thing to do. But we did install push button light switches and some people might go, oh, you're faking it. But also like they're so charming. So yeah, I want those push button switches and it's a little bit of a nod to what the house originally had because our house did originally have electricity. So they would have had those push button switches and I find them really charming and I think they're, they're like a really subtle reminder of the fact that we are in an old house. And even if we update the walls or if we re paint and stuff, there's something about it, even though they aren't original to the house. I really like those little nods to