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Rehab Right: Best Practices and Guidance#

Looking for advice on how to plan your next project on a historic building? This is the place for you! 

Check out the resources and tools below on best practices, recent research, and other important guidance on how to keep your historic building for the next century. The City of Fort Collins offers guidance and support through its Rehab Right programs, bringing national preservation guidance home to the city and providing financial incentives and other programs to help keep historic buildings in good shape for the next century. 

Secretary of the Interior's Standards#

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties are the national best practices for how to take care of historic resources, from buildings to landscapes and everything in between. They are the basis for most preservation projects in the United States, are required to be met for exterior developments on many of Fort Collins' historic properties, and are requirements for most financial incentives available to owners of historic property. At the link above, you'll find lots of great information from the National Park Service about how to take care of every aspect of an historic resource, from site improvements to windows to roofing. The Standards divide into four treatment approaches depending on what your overall goal for a project is:

  • Rehabilitation - looking to adapt an historic building for a new use, or upgrade it for continued use? Look for guidance under this approach. Most preservation projects fall into this category. 
  • Preservation - don't need to make changes but need to repair damage or wear-and-tear while retaining historic materials? This might be your best approach. 
  • Restoration - looking to restore a building to its important period in history? This is the appropriate approach but be sure to check the documentation on your building - often, changes that came later in a building's life can be historic, too. 
  • Reconstruction - looking to build back something that's missing based on documentation and photographs? This is the approach, although be careful to be accurate based on available evidence. Conjectural or "period" features are rarely appropriate and this approach is rarely used. 

Not sure where to start? Contact the staff at the Historic Preservation Services staff and we can direct you to the guidance that's right for your problem or project. 

Standards & Guidelines for Treatment

The current (2017) version of the guidelines for the Secretary's Standards for Treatment. This includes guidance on the four main approaches to projects on historic buildings: rehabilitation, preservation, restoration, and reconstruction.

Read the Guidelines

Standards & Guidelines on Sustainability

National best practices maintained by the National Park Service, specifically on how to increase the energy efficiency and sustainability of an historic property. A supplement to the guidance to the left.

Read the Guidelines

NPS Preservation by Topic Database

The National Park Service maintains the national best practice guidance on a variety of topics, from rehabbing commercial store fronts, to re-roofing an historic house. Check out this searchable database of guidance by topic.

Browse by Topic

Guidance Database#

Check out the table below for a list of current best-practice guides for historic preservation, ranging from best roofing practice on historic buildings, to how to incorporate solar panels on an historic house.

Resource Author/Agency/Organization Best Use Hyperlink
Fort Collins Expanded Rooftop Solar Policy City of Fort Collins Energy efficiency, sustainable energy, solar
Preservation-by-Topic Database National Park Service All
Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Treatment of Historic Properties National Park Service All
Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation & Illustrated Guidelines on Sustainability for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings National Park Service Energy efficiency, stormwater, landscaping, maintenance, rehabilitation / adaptive re-use, renewable energy
Preservation Brief 25 - Preservation of Historic Signs National Park Service signs
Preservation Brief 30 - Preservation and Repair of Historic Clay Tile Roofs National Park Service clay tile roofs (terra cotta)
Preservation Brief 32 - Making Historic Properties Accessible National Park Service accessibility, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
Preservation Brief 37 - Appropriate Methods for Reducing Lead-Paint Hazards in Historic Housing National Park Service paint, lead paint, abatement, hazardous materials
Preservation Brief 45 - Preserving Historic Wood Porches National Park Service porches, historic home / house repair
Preservation Brief 2 - Repointing Mortar Joints in Historic Masonry National Park Service masonry, bricks, repointing / retucking, mortar, maintenance
Preservation Brief 3 - Improving Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings National Park Service energy efficiency, retrofit, renewable energy, sustainability
Preservation Brief 4 - Roofing for Historic Buildings National Park Service roofs & roofing, maintenance
Preservation Brief 6 - Dangers of Abrasive Cleaning to Historic Buildings National Park Service maintenance, cleaning, masonry, plaster, stucco, stone, metal, wood
Preservation Brief 8 - Aluminum and vinyl Siding on Historic Buildings National Park Service vinyl, aluminum, siding, substitute materials, repair, maintenance
Preservation Brief 9 - Repair of Historic Wooden Windows National Park Service windows, repair, weatherization, energy efficiency, maintenance
Preservation Brief 10 - Exterior Paint Problems on Historic Woodwork National Park Service paint, maintenance, weatherization, repair, wood
Preservation Brief 11 - Rehabilitating Historic Storefronts National Park Service commercial, storefront, Old Town
Preservation Brief 14 - New Exterior Additions to Historic Buildings: Preservation Concerns National Park Service additions, adaptive reuse, rehabilitation
Preservation Brief 19 - Repair and Replacement of Historic Wooden Shingle Roofs National Park Service maintenance, roofs & roofing, wood, shingle
Preservation Brief 20 - Preservation of Historic Barns National Park Service agriculture, farms, barns, maintenance
Preservation Brief 22 National Park Service stucco, repair, maintenance