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Frequently Asked Technical Questions

How do I...? Answers to Frequently Asked Technical Preservation Questions

The Internet is a great resource for all kinds of information, including information on preserving, restoring or rehabilitating your historic building. This page provides you with links to Web sites that answer some of the questions we get most often at the Division of Historic Preservation. We've limited questions here to those directed to the actual repair and restoration work itself, but look elsewhere on our Web site for other program information, including funding, the legal protection of historic properties, and listing your property in the State and National Registers.

Topics Covered in this FAQ
(Click on the word, or scroll down the page.)

How can I find a contractor or architect to work on my historic building?

Where can I find sources for suppliers of all those hard to find products I need to restore my historic house?

  • Traditional Building Magazine provides this Web site of sources for products and services directed at the restoration and traditional building market.
  • Tradweb: "Preservation Sourcebook," a guide to historic preservation services and products

A historic building in our community is going to be demolished for a parking lot. We can save it if we can move it. How do I find a building mover?

How do I know what elements arehistoric and important to save when I rehabilitate my old building?

We need additional space in our historic building. Can we add onto it without harming its historic character?

My brick building is so dirty. How do I clean it?

When having tuckpointing (masonry repair) done, are there any special considerations I should bear in mind because my building is historic?

We have to re-roof our historic house soon. How do we determine what roofing material is appropriate?

My windows are drafty and hard to use. Can I repair them or should I just replace them?

My old house is so expensive to heat! How can I make it more energy efficient without harming its historic character?

The storefront on my historic commercial building is missing and boarded up. How do I build a new storefront that is appropriate to the design of the rest the building?

I have an old log cabin on my property. Where can I find information on how to restore it?

Our barn is very old and needs a lot of work. How can I find help?

  • The Wisconsin Historical Society has a web section on old barns with links to comprehensive information on barn preservation.

My old wood siding just won't hold paint — I'm about ready to put on vinyl. How can I make a paint job last?

What colors would be historically appropriate to paint my old house?

  • Old House Journal article on historic paint color "Colorful Issues in Choosing Exterior Paint" by Gordon Bock.

How do I clean graffiti off my brick building?

I think the paint on my house has lead in it! What do I do?

My store is in a historic building. Do I have to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act if it will harm the character of the building?

Are there any financial benefits or tax advantages to owning a historic building?

Owners of historic buildings in Wisconsin may participate in federal and state income tax credit programs for rehabilitation. Currently, two programs are available to owners of properties that are either listed in (or determined to be eligible for listing in) the State Register or National Register of Historic Places. Find out more about Historic Preservation Tax Credits (PDF, 101 KB).

The International Existing Building Code

Owners of historic, commercial buildings may consider using the International Existing Building Code (IBEC). Please be aware that the IBEC does not apply to one and two-family dwellings. Learn more in our guide below.

About the International Existing Building Code
(IBEC) (PDF, 181 KB)

Do you have your own technical preservation question?

For questions or to recommend a good source for additional information on a topic noted above, please share it with us. Contact us by email.


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