Main Street Port Clinton and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio Historical Society will sponsor a Building Doctor Clinic for old-building owners in the Port Clinton area on Sept. 26-27.
The clinic features Building Doctors Justin Cook and Scott McIntosh of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. It begins with a free seminar on Thursday evening, Sept. 26, from 7-9 p.m. at the Commodore Perry Inn, 255 Lakeshore Dr., Port Clinton. Open to all old-building owners in the area, the seminar will feature guidelines for renovation projects and ways to solve some of the most common problems of buildings dating from 1800 to 1955.
On Friday, Sept. 27, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., the Building Doctors will visit pre-1955 buildings within five miles of Port Clinton, advising owners on specific technical or design problems by appointment. The ‘doctors’ examine all kinds of older buildings. Some of the things that typically call for an on-site examination include persistent peeling paint or flaking plaster, a wet basement, deteriorating masonry, and plans for remodeling, additions, or demolitions.
Cook, history reviews manager for the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, has a bachelor’s degree in classics from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Vermont, with post-baccalaureate studies in history at the University of North Florida and urban and regional planning at the University of Florida. He reviews federally-assisted projects for effects on historic properties.
McIntosh, technical preservation services coordinator for the preservation office, holds a bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Kentucky. He reviews applications for federal and state rehabilitation tax credits.
Prescriptions from the Building Doctors:
1. Check your roof and attic or upper stories for leaks at least every six months. Look for separations, bulges, cracks, and signs of moisture. It’s important to check your roof regularly. A sound roof is the key to preventing many problems which can occur below.
2. Inspect your gutters and downspouts during a hard rain to see that they’re working properly. Keep them clean and free of leaves and obstructions which may clog them. Make sure water from downspouts is directed away from the foundation.
3. Open your basement windows in the dry season to let air circulate. Feel basement walls for dampness. A musty odor indicates a high moisture level in the basement. Check for proper ventilation and dehumidification. Be certain that air circulates freely and isn’t blocked by materials stored against the wall.
4. Look for loose or damaged siding. Note any areas of paint failure. Check gaps between boards. Gaps smaller than a quarter-inch will help ventilate the wall cavity; larger gaps may admit rainwater.
5. Caulk gaps where window and door frames meet masonry or wood openings to prevent water from entering wall cavities of frame buildings or masonry of bearing-wall structures.
6. Examine painted surfaces for signs of peeling, cracking and alligatoring. Look for clues to original painting techniques and colors. A common way to examine hidden layers of paint is to carefully sand a small area in a location where it would not have weathered or been in direct sunlight, exposing the individual layers.
7. Assess the condition of all exterior features, particularly those of significance, such as porches, brackets and other decorative trim.
8. Attend the Building Doctor Clinic.
1. Don’t use abrasive methods to clean brick or masonry. They can cause irreparable harm. Sandblasting, for example, removes the hard outer surface of the brick, exposing its softer core to the elements, and damages other kinds of masonry and wood, too. Avoid all techniques for cleaning masonry or wood that involve blasting or high pressure.
2. Don’t use water-repellent coatings on masonry. They can trap moisture inside instead of letting it pass freely in and out as it normally would. When trapped moisture freezes, it expands, often forcing the surface of the brick or stone to flake or spall.
3. Never seal basement windows shut. You’ll trap moist air inside and prevent proper air circulation, which can lead to a damp basement.
4. Don’t plant bushes or vegetation close to the foundation. They prevent sunlight from reaching the ground, allowing moisture to accumulate there.
5. Don’t use blown-in insulation unless you install a vapor barrier, too. Without the vapor barrier, moisture can accumulate, saturating the insulation and damaging your wall.
6. Don’t leave unused gas pipes connected or live ends uncapped. Have gas lines professionally inspected. You can prevent a tragedy and save yourself a great deal of money.
7. Don’t allow bare wires to remain exposed. Have old wiring professionally inspected.
8. Don’t forget to give your building a thorough check-up every six months to ensure that it has a clean bill of health.