Search Website Design and Content © by Eric Krause, Krause House Info-Research Solutions (© 1996)
      All Images © Parks Canada Except Where Noted Otherwise
Report Assembly/Rapport de l'assemblée © Krause House Info-Research Solutions

Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada



January 24, 1977

(Fortress of Louisbourg Report Number E 20)


[E 20 04]






Some Suggestions for Maintenance 
of Restored or Reconstructed 
Historic Period Buildings 

The reason for writing this is to get some of the methods, procedures, and techniques which we have used in the maintenance of reconstructed eighteenth century period buildings recorded for our own reference, or for any others who may have occasion to benefit from our experience.

Most of the subject matter has been developed by experimentation, trial and error, or by the adaptation of conventional materials and techniques to suit the various eighteenth century situations or problems. All of the suggestions contained herein have been successful over the short term, but because of the relative newness of the Fortress reconstruction, have not stood the test of time.

We do not claim Infallibility, nor that there are not more effective or better ways to carry out the various functions discussed. We do feel, however, that the suggestions written here contain a fundamental basis for the establishment of maintenance standards by stating what should be done to maintain the buildings in a sound condition.

In this paper, we are dealing exclusively with eighteenth century French architecture and construction. Many of the suggestions could apply to earlier or later period structures where there is similarity of design and construction.

The types of construction dealt with are:

A. Foundations

B. Exterior Masonry Walls

C . Timber Framed Walls (Half Timber Construction)

Timber framed walls should be inspected annually with close examination given the following:

D . Piquet Constructed Walls (Exterior) 

E. Interior Wails and Ceilings

Note: It Is important when replacing wooden members, boards, mouldings, etc., that they be replaced with like kind; i.e. jack. planed lumber should not be replaced with machine dressed lumber etc. This is., of course, to retain the period integrity of the structure. 

F. Doors 

Invariably such doors are made from softwood, (pine, spruce,, etc.) and because of their construction are very susceptible to a multitude of ills. This is particularly true of exterior doors. Most serious of these ills are: 

G. Windows

H. Shutters

I. Frames and Trim

J. Hardware (Wrought Iron) 

It is important, therefore, that the following functions be carried out once annually or as otherwise indicated particularly on exterior hardware, and interior hardware in buildings which are used seasonally, and are unheated for the major part of the year. 

Note: Normally, Interior hardware is left unpainted in its natural forged state, and except in extreme damp conditions, little attention is necessary to surfaces. Where damp conditions exist and light rusting is visible, wiping the hardware with gun oil or light machine oil will retard rusting.

K. Roofs 

L. Flues

M. Floors

I. Normally maintenance considerations for floor framing sleepers beams and joists, are only necessary on the ground floors and then only when the floor is built on or close to the ground  where the structure is exposed to perpetually wet or damp conditions. where such is the case, and the framing is accessible by crawl space, the framing should be checked every 2 or 3 years except where pressure treated timbers have been used. (i.e. creosote or greensalt pressure treatment). Where untreated timber has been used, inspection can be confined to checking for rot and to ensure that joist hangers are secure.

2. The most commonly used flooring materials in eighteenth century period building are:

Since floor care, i.e. sweeping, vacuuming, dust-mopping are daily functions, and an inspection of sorts is done as part of the function, the value of scheduled inspections on say an annual basis is probably minimal. However, routine checks should be made for loose or protruding boards, nails, or pegs on wooden floors, or loose stones or brick on floors made from these materials. The reason for this is to eliminate tripping hazards and to keep flooring from being further damaged. 

Softwood floors should be scrubbed once or twice a year using a stiff fiber scrub brush and detergent solution. A good coat of linseed oil should be given to such floors once a year; this will protect the floor from stains, water penetration and abrasion, and keep it mare attractive looking. Hardwood floors should be given this treatment on an as needed basis.

Janitorial staff should be instructed to watch for floor defects .and report them immediately to the maintenance supervisor or foreman.

N. Safety Notes (Special Precautions)

Workmen using chemicals such as silicone water repellent, pentachlorophenol, muriatic acid, heavily leaded paints, etc., should be fully briefed on their potential hazards, and the proper safe methods and techniques for their use. Furthermore, safety equipment such as goggles, respirators, rubber gloves or other necessary protective devices must be provided and their usage enforced.

Workmen working on slate surfaced roofs without staging must use safety harness and lines at all times and other relevant safety practices employed. These precautions should also be taken when working on steeply pitched wood surfaced roofs.

When framing, roof truss, or floor members are being repaired or replaced, adequate shoring and bracing must be used to assure workman safety and prevent damage to the structure.