Saturday, March 28, 2015

Downtown Frederick FAQ: Does the HPC care what color I paint my house?

Question: Does the HPC care what color I paint my house?  And if I want to paint in historically accurate colors, where can I find out what those colors might be?

Answer by Lisa Mroszczk Murphy, AICP, Historic Preservation Planner for the City of Frederick.   The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)  does not review paint color and maintaining painted surfaces is encouraged. The HPC only reviews painting when it involves painting currently unpainted masonry or the removal of paint from masonry using chemical strippers, abrasive cleaning methods, power/pressure washing since historic materials can be damaged in either case.   

The HPC does review the color of pre-finished products and materials, like a light fixture for example, and on signage.  The only way to really know what paint colors were used historically on a building would be to conduct a paint analysis.  And since we don’t review paint color we’ve never gathered any data on this.  I did a quick search online and there are some good general recommendations here: http://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/28-painting-interiors.htm and http://lenfant.org/print/LEnfantPaintGuidlines.pdf

See also: City of Frederick Historic Preservation.  Design Guidelines and procedures. 

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