10 Basic Principles for
1. Consider its original purpose
When possible, make every effort to use the building for its
original purpose. If you can’t, make sure the new use
requires minimal change to its historic features.
Identify those unique and
historic elements that define
the building’s character and
make every effort to preserve
and protect them. Do not
remove or alter elements that
are critical to maintaining the
original historic fabric of the
3. Buildings are a physical record.
Recognize that all buildings are physical products of their time. Avoid changes that
may create a false sense of historical development.
4. Respect changes.
Respect and retain changes to the property that have occurred over time and
have acquired historic significance in their own right.
Carefully save and
preserve the distinct
6. Repair, not replace.
Whenever possible, repair—rather than
replace—deteriorated historic elements.
When replacement is necessary, new
materials should match the old in
design, composition, and color.
7. Clean facades gently.
Avoid sandblasting and other damaging processes, and
always test materials first (especially with chemical or
8. Preserve archeological areas.
Keep surrounding archeological areas intact. However, if an area
must be disturbed, take every step necessary to mitigate harm.
9. Make compatible alterations.
Compatible, contemporary alterations are acceptable if they do not destroy
significant historical or architectural fabric.
10. Build removable additions.
Build new additions so they can be removed without
impairing the underlying structure.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America’s
historic places. Preservation Tips & Tools helps others do the same
in their own communities.
For more information, visit SavingPlaces.org.
Photos courtesy: SDOT Photos/Flickr/CC BY-NC
2.0; Onasill ~ Bill Badzo ~ OFF UNTIL STATS
ARE WORKING/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0; Wally
NCinDC/Flickr/CC BY-ND; Jay Galvin/Flickr/CC
BY-2.0; takomabibelot/Flickr/CC BY-2.0; Gary
Lloyd-Rees/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0; Bob
Marquart/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0; Odense Bys
Musser/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0; Brent
Moore/Flickr/CC BY NC; 2.0; Ben Pugh/Flickr/CC-
BY-2.0; William Murphy/Flickr/CC-BY-SA 2.0
Jul. 29, 2021
May. 16, 2021
Feb. 9, 2021
Feb. 8, 2021
Jan. 13, 2021
Jan. 11, 2021
Sep. 19, 2020
Aug. 6, 2020
Jul. 24, 2020
Jul. 2, 2020
Apr. 1, 2020
Feb. 27, 2020
Feb. 11, 2020
Feb. 7, 2020
Feb. 3, 2020
Dec. 25, 2019
Nov. 21, 2019
Nov. 18, 2019
Oct. 1, 2019
Sep. 1, 2019
These 10 principles should help make your historic rehabilitation a success.