Restoring an Original 1880s Wooden Door in Hackney
Original features are at the very heart of a heritage property. Unfortunately, many property owners rush to replace period features when age starts to take its toll. At Fortis & Hooke, we think there is a better way.
They say they don’t make things like they used to. That’s probably truer than ever when it comes to property. The artisans of yesteryear generally put far more effort and attention into crafting timber doorframes, doors and jambs than the mass production methods used today, resulting in elegant products imbued with personality and designed to stand the test of time.
But even the hardiest and most finely crafted items will come to show their age sooner or later. For the owners of one Victorian door in Hackney, that time arrived earlier this year, when the Fortis & Hooke team were summoned to evaluate the wear and tear that over a century of use had inflicted on their property. Of course, we were more than happy to lend our experience and expertise.
First contact was instigated by the client, who indicated that the door on their 1880 house in Hackney, London – which they believed to be the original entrance dating from the same year – was in need of a professional restoration. Although the door was still structurally sound, it had been painted many, many times throughout the decades, and was crying out for a proper overhaul.
As well as stripping away layer upon layer of paint from the door’s surface, which was beginning to look chipped and flaky, we were also tasked with treating it to a new coat and finishing it with draught protection. The project did not require relocation or restoration of the letterbox, locking mechanisms or any other attendant features.
REMOVAL AND RESTORATION
As is common practice with a job of this kind, our first port of call was to carefully remove the door from its hinges and substitute it for a wooden temporary replacement. This serves the double function of allowing our team the space, time and attention they require to conduct a professional job, while not causing undue disruption to the homeowner’s life in the intervening period.
Once the door was in our possession, we began by stripping away the multiple layers of previous paint by hand, before strengthening the timber and treating it to a fresh coat of paint in the workshop. Then, it was simply a case of draught-proofing the door and finishing it with a final coat of paint onsite, as well as installing the immediate surrounding framework at the same time.
THE LONGAEVITAS SYSTEM
Through the use of our fail-safe Longaevitas technique, which adopts the hand-crafted care and meticulous attention used by artisans of old alongside modern-day innovations, we were able to add years of life onto this remarkable Victorian piece. Given that it had stood the test of time so admirably, it would have been a shame to replace it now and we are proud to say that our work has contributed to avoiding such a scenario.
With the door back in place and looking more resplendent than ever, the client was delighted with the results. The front façade of their property is once again befitting of the grand architecture which surrounds it in Hackney’s quaint streets and here’s hoping our efforts can keep the door in position for another hundred years or more.