HP 306 Architectural Conservation I

Course Goals

The main goal of this course is to provide an overview of the study of architectural conservation through an examination of historic uses and physical properties of common historic building materials and finishes. We will explore the composition and pathology of building materials and examine strategies for conservation treatments and rehabilitation.

We recognize that the professional preservationist should have a broad understanding of basic analytical and research skills, including a knowledge of historic construction techniques and the abilities:

Another goal of this architectural conservation course is to provide a background for preservationists who will be working with architects, engineers, building trades workers, contractors, conservators, architectural historians, preservation advocates, grant recipients, developers, property owners, review boards and others.

A final goal of the course is to help prepare students for professional positions in preservation that require the review of conservation treatment proposals, architectural designs, and preservation grant applications. This is the first of a two-part sequence of courses with HP 307 Architectural Conservation II following next semester.

For more information on this course or for access to the most recent syllabus, contact the instructor at historic.preservation@uvm.edu

Class topics include:

Course Introduction
Overview of course goals, syllabus and web site
Preservation philosophies and standards

Mortars: sands, lime, cement, additives
The Lime Cycle
Mortar sampling techniques
Basic particle analysis
Sieving particles

Laboratory Introduction
Hazards and safety protocols
MSDS sheets
Simple mortar analysis lab
Mortar analysis report format
Using mortar analysis template
Sieving particles

Conserving Historic Masonry
Repointing techniques and guidelines
Appropriate use of cements and hydraulic limes in mortars
Digital microscopy introduction
Analyzing mortar aggregates in microscopy lab
Mortar mixing demonstration
Reproducing appropriate mortars lab

Building stones
The rock cycle
Stone types and physical properties
Sources and finishing
Introduction to cleaning masonry and masonry coatings

Cast stone

Brick and earth construction
Brick-making process
Brick types and physical properties
Analyzing and matching bricks
Other fired clay products
Tile and terra cotta

Moisture in porous building materials
Temperature, humidity and salts
Rising damp
Detection by observation, moisture meters, data loggers

Flat plaster
Ornamental plaster
Stuccoes, parging & renders


Wood species identification and use
Framing and construction
Wood deterioration mechanisms
Decay diagnostics & treatments
Use of moisture meters for wood
Wood conservation
Patching compounds
Epoxy consolidation and filling
Wood protection
Preservatives & insecticides
Solvent-based vs. water-based borate wood preservatives

Architectural finishes
Paint: What is it?
Physical properties
Pigments, vehicles, solvents
How is paint made?
Lead-based paint issues
Historic paint applications
Color trends
Exterior color placement
Paint finishing systems

surface preparation
application techniques
tools and specifications

Field sampling and identification techniques
Introduction to finishes analysis techniques
Basic finishes analysis microscopy
Color matching notation
Finishes analysis using digital microscopy
Finishes analysis using UV fluorescence microscopy

Paint condition assessments
Paint deterioration mechanisms & diagnostic approaches
Preparation treatments for chronic paint failure
Paint removal

Decorative Architectural Finishes
Glazes and graining techniques
Trompe l'oeil effects