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The Challenges Of Working On Historic Buildings

Historic buildings, like churches and chapels, were often built using very different materials and techniques to modern construction. This has implications for the way that you care for the building, and special considerations should be made to extend its life, improve its functionality, and preserve its historic fabric. It’s extremely important that any changes which take place are done carefully, and that they take account of the aesthetic and practical needs of the building, and the community which it serves. Here are some of the most common renovations to historic buildings and things you should consider.


Most renovations on historic buildings prioritise an upgrade to the seating which has been previously used. For instance - for centuries, cold, hard wooden pews were the only choice for seating inside churches. During a church service, no attendee wants to sit on an uncomfortable wooden pew or metal folding chair - the discomfort detracts from the experience. Now, many historic buildings offer high-quality, comfortable seating for public spaces, and, fortunately, there are now plenty of options when it comes to church seating.

One of the main challenges when it comes to updating church seating is to ensure that the new additions are appropriate and suit the unique style of the building. This can be seen in our recent renovation of Horsley Church. Here, our expert team worked alongside the church parish council and architect for 6 months to find a seating solution that would compliment the historical interior of the building. Stacking chairs were chosen, as the simple design provides comfort and did not distract from the beautiful interior of the building. Stacking chairs are a popular alternative to traditional wooden pews as they provide durability, comfort, and flexibility.


Many churches would benefit from an upgrade to modern flooring options like tile, laminate, stone, concrete, and hardwood flooring. The main focus should be on choosing flooring that will be practical and compliment the existing interior. Church floor experiences high traffic - it’s therefore important to choose flooring that is built to last and durable, so it will be able to retain its condition and quality over time. Church flooring must also be quick and easy to clean as it is likely to pick up a lot of dirt and debris. This is why tile, laminate and concrete are all popular flooring options in churches.


Many churches feature large antique stained glass windows. Stained glass is a unique art form that transforms the experience of visiting and worshipping in a building. Over time, windows may have become distorted, or broken including matching missed glass with original colours and textures. Specialists are able to completely rebuild stained glass windows and restore them to their original glory. Stained glass windows are extremely detailed, so it’s always best to consult with a professional to carry out any restoration work.

Other Considerations

When it comes to renovations of historic building like churches, it’s important to keep in mind the county rules and regulations regarding the historical preservation of these building. Any renovations are likely to cause disruption and it’s vital to share information and keep people updated, while also reminding them of the benefits and why the renovations are taking place.

Final Thought

It is important that historic buildings - like churches - are properly cared for to help extend their life and preserve their historical significance. Restoration projects mean that many more generations can enjoy the historic buildings original architectural features. However, extra care should be taken whenever work is planned, and special considerations should be made to preserve the historic fabric of these buildings. The most important thing is to ensure that any upgrades compliment the original architecture and design element of the historic building.

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