University of Vermont


HP 203 Conservation Techniques for Historic Structures

1999 syllabus

Prof. Thomas Visser email link ........Jump down to course schedule for: January, February, March, April


The lecture portion of the class meets on Wednesdays from 2 PM to 5 PM in Wheeler 101.
The staffed lab period will be Thursdays from 2 PM to 8 PM in Wheeler 106.

1999 Topics Assignments Due





Course Introduction
Overview of course syllabus and web site
Preservation philosophies and standards
Conservation science
Field kits, lab protocols, info resources, computers
Use of the video microscope
Capturing microscope images on the computer
















Laboratory Introduction
Hazards and safety protocols
MSDS sheets
Sampling exercise
Basic particle analysis
Sieving particles
Posting simple reports on the WWW
Mortar sampling demonstration
Introduce Lab Project 1 (mortar sampling)
Text: (read)
Fram: 1 - 63 Conservation activities and principles
64-77 Inspection fault diagnosis, recording,
214-217 The Venice Charter or on the ICOMOS Venice Charter web site

WWW sites (read)
National Park Service Preservation Briefs Intro
PB 35: Understanding Old Buildings
PB 17: Architectural Character: Identifying the Visual Aspects of Historic Buildings as an Aid to Preserving Their Character

WWW sites (browse and surf)
UVM HP Links
National Park Service Links to the Past
National Register of Historic Places
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties




Historic masonry construction
Mortars: sands, lime, cement, additives
The Lime Cycle
"Jam jar and vinegar" field analysis technique
PB 2: Repointing Mortar Joints in Historic Brick Buildings
OHJ: 1-56, 151-166 (recommended)
WWW sites (read)
HP 203 Mortar Analysis Case Study: Fairbanks Museum, St. Johnsbury, VT
Mortar Types and Applications Table





Lab: Basic mortar analysis
Mortar characterization lab analysis
Mortar analysis report formats
Using mortar analysis template
Introduce Lab Project 2: Simple Mortar Analysis
Bring Field Kit
Eye protection is required.
Clothing protection is recommended.
Mortar Handouts (read for discussion)
Due: Lab Project 1 (mortar sampling)
Brick bonds and mortar joints
Repointing techniques and guidelines
Appropriate use of cements in mortars
Repointing demonstration
English Heritage AC1 Smeaton project on historic mortars durability



Lab: Producing appropriate mortars
Calcimeter analysis for cement
Introduce Lab Project 3 (mortar matching)
Bring Field Kit
Eye protection is required.
Clothing protection is recommended.
Due: Lab Project 2 (simple mortar analysis)



Brick construction
Brick making process
Brick types and physical properties
PB 5: Preservation of Historic Adobe Buildings
Fram: 126-130, 144-147
Lab: Brick deterioration diagnostics
Analyzing and matching bricks
Introduce Lab Project 4 (bricks)
Due: Lab Project 3 (mortar matching)


Masonry construction and conservation
Building stones
The rock cycle
Stone types and physical properties
Sources and finishing
Cleaning masonry
PB 1: The Cleaning and Waterproof Coating of Masonry Buildings
PB 6: Dangers of Abrasive Cleaning to Historic Buildings
Fram: 118-121



Lab: Conserving stonework
Masonry coatings
Graffiti management approaches
Introduce Lab Project 5 (rising damp)
PB 15: Preservation of Concrete
PB 38: Removing Graffiti from Historic Masonry
Due: Lab Project 4 (bricks)




Additional masonry materials
Concrete conservation
Stuccoes, parging & renders
Cast stone
Terra cotta
Fram: 131-133
PB 7: Preservation of Terra-cotta
PB 22: Preservation & Repair of Stucco
PB 30: Clay Tile Roofs
PB 40: Preserving Historic Ceramic Tile Floors



Lab: Terra cotta and parging
Stucco and parging analysis and conservation techniques
Introduce Lab Project 6 (parging, terrazzo, terra cotta, tile)
Due: Lab Project 5 (rising damp)
Flat plaster
Ornamental plaster
Fram: 172-175
PB 21: Repairing Flat Plaster
PB 23: Preserving Ornamental Plaster
Lab: Plaster conservation
Introduce Lab Project 7 (plaster)
Due: Lab Project 6 (parging, terrazzo, terra cotta, tile)



Wood conservation
Species identification and use
Framing and construction
Wood deterioration mechanisms
Wood Protection
Fram: 116-118, 136-139
ICOMOS International Wood Committee Standards for the Protection of Historic Timber Buildings




Lab: Wood decay diagnostics & treatments
Use of moisture meter for wood




3/17 - 3/18
No class (Spring break)
3/24 - 3/25 No class (HP grad research trips)  
Wood repair and conservation approaches
Patching compounds
Epoxy consolidation and filling
Solvent-based vs. water-based borates wood
Use of traditional carpentry handtools
Carpentry repairs
Reproducing wooden elements
PB 39: Controlling Unwanted Moisture in Historic Buildings
PB 26: Repair of Historic Log Buildings
PB 34: Composition Ornament
WWW: Taking Care of Your Old Barn




Lab: Wood conservation
Introduce Lab Project 8 (wood conservation)

Due: Lab Project 7 (plaster)





Architectural finishes and fillers
Pigments, vehicles, solvents and fillers
Putties and caulking compounds
Paint deterioration mechanisms & diagnostic approaches
Paint removal
Lead based paint hazard mitigation
Fram: 164-167, 176-179, 186-189
PB 28: Painting Historic Interiors






Lab: Coatings
Lab: Paint deterioration diagnostics
Moisture meter use
Treatments for chronic paint failure
Introduce Lab Project 9 (surface finish identification and replication)

WWW: finishes analysis chart

Due: Lab Project 8 (wood conservation)



Physical properties, surface preparation and application techniques
Oil-based coatings
Solvent-based coatings
Water-based coatings
Introduction to finishes analysis techniques
Field sampling techniques
Fram: 148-163, 168-171
Munsell color notation system



Lab: Finishes analysis
Basic microscopy
Introduce Lab Project 10 (finishes analysis)
Due:Lab Project 9 (surface finish identification and replication)
Paint finishing systems and specifications
Advanced computer-assisted videomicroscopy
PB 10: Exterior Paint Problems
PB 8: Aluminum and Vinyl Siding on Historic Buildings
PB 37 Appropriate Methods for Reducing Lead-Paint Hazards in Historic Buildings



Lab: Color placement
Glazes and graining techniques
Introduce Lab Project 11 (paint deterioration survey and treatments)

Due: Lab Project 10 (finishes analysis)





Windows & doors
Deterioration mechanisms
Repair and replacement strategies
Window surveys
Fram: 79-115, 180-185
PB 9: Repair of Historic Wooden Windows
PB 13: Steel Windows
PB 33: Stained and Leaded Glass
National Park Service, Secretary of the Interior's Standards Electronic Rehab Course
4/29 Lab: window surveys and conservation techniques
Introduce Lab Project 12 (windows)
Due: Lab Project 11 (paint deterioration survey and treatments)
5/5 Lab: window surveys and conservation techniques (part 2)
5/12 Final Exam  Due: Lab project 12 (windows)

Course Field Kits

Each graduate student should acquire (or borrow) the following equipment:

Magnifying glass or loupe (8X)
"X-Acto" knife (large No. 1) and curved blades
or "Proedge" Pro #2 Medium duty knife and Pro #22 blades (available at UVM Bookstore)
Forceps or tweezers
Screwdriver (straight point)
Tape measure (25') or folding rule (8' or 12')
Field notebook (bound, grid ruled)
Polyethylene bags (Ziplock type) for samples
Transparent tape
Indelible marking pen
Safety glasses are required for all lab work. These available are at the UVM Bookstore.
Disposable dust masks or respirator
Disposal gloves
Field and lab clothing (Lab coats are recommended for lab work. These are available from the UVM Medical Bookstore in the Given Building complex.)
Pack or shoulder bag is recommended

35 mm camera, preferably a SLR with wide angle lens (28 mm or 35 mm), flash, and/ or tripod, close-up lenses or macro lens for copystand work.
Film - (Kodachrome 64 and 200 are good multipurpose slide films that are relatively archivally stable, but they must be sent to Kodalux for processing. This can take over a week. Ektachrome or Fujichrome slide films can be processed locally in several hours, however they may be less archivally stable. Kodacolor 200 or Fujicolor 200 are good multipurpose color print films. Use Ektachrome 160 or Kodachrome 40 (Kodalux processing only) for color slide copy stand work since they are color balanced for tungsten light. Otherwise under incandescent light use a 40A (blue) filter with daylight films.

Course References
(Most are available at UVM Library or "on reserve" from Prof. Visser or "on reserve" in Wheeler 103)
Bulletin, Association for Preservation Technology (At UVM Library, v 1 - v. 8 in Microforms, v. 9 - current issues in Periodicals)
Traditional Building
Old House Journal
A Guide to Vermont Architecture. Montpelier: Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, 1991.
Ashurst, John & Nicola. Practical Building Conservation. New York: Halsted Press, 1988. Vol. 1-5.
Feilden, Bernard. Conservation of Historic Buildings. London: Butterworth, 1982.
Harris, Cyril, Ed. Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. New York: McGraw Hill, 1975.
Hoadley, Bruce. Understanding Wood. Newtown, Conn.: Tauton Press, 1980.
McAlester, V. & L. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Knopf 1988.
McKee, Harley. Introduction to Early American Masonry. Washington: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1973.
Mitchell, Eleanor. Emergency Repairs for Historic Buildings. London: English Heritage, 1988.
Nylander, Richard C. et al. Wallpaper in New England. Boston: SPNEA, 1986.
Phillips, M. W. & Selwyn, J. E. Epoxies for Wood Repairs in Historic Buildings. Washington: US Dept. of Interior, 1978.
Poore, Patricia, ed. The Old-House Journal Guide to Restoration, Dutton, 1992.
Preservation &Conservation. Washington: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1976.
Recording Historic Structures. Washington: AIA Press, 1988.
Repairing Old and Historic Windows. Washington, DC: Preservation Press, 1992.
Residential Building Systems Inspection. Washington: APT Foundation, 1986.
Respectful Rehabilitation. Washington: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1982.
Slate Roofs. National Slate Ass'n., 1925. (Reprints from Vermont Structural Slate, Fairhaven, VT)
Structural Assessment. Washington: APT Foundation, 1986.
Technology of Historic American Buildings. Washington: APT Foundation, 1983.
Weaver, Martin. Conserving Buildings. New York: John Wiley, 1993.
Wilson, Forrest. Building Materials Evaluation Handbook. New York: Van Nostrand, 1984.
Other references
A Guide to Vermont Architecture is available through the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation in Montpelier (828-3226) for about $3.00 on request.

©1999 UVM Historic Preservation Program
Revised 4/28/99
Prof. Thomas Visser