Introduction to Guidelines
Procedures for Obtaining a Notice
      General Considerations
       Masonry and Masonry Cleaning
    Distinguishing Features and Styl
    Frame Buildings
    Elements Which Are Most Commonly Repaired or Replaced
           Windows and Doors
           Storm Windows 
           Entrances, Porches and Steps 
Stairways and Fire Escape    
Architectural Metals
Walls, Fences and Railings 
           Commercial Signs
    Structural Systems
    Mechanical Services
    New Construction
    Building Site and Environment
    Archeological Features
    Tax Advantages and Preservation Assistance 
     (Loans and Grants)



The following guidelines are designed to help property owners formulate plans for the rehabilitation, preservation, and continued use of old buildings consistent with the intent of CHAP .The guidelines pertain to buildings of all occupancy and construction types, sizes, and materials. They apply to permanent and temporary construction on the exterior of historic buildings as well as new attached or adjacent construction. 

Generally, it is recommended that deteriorated material be repaired, or replaced with new material that duplicates the old as closely as possible. New material which is inappropriate or was unavailable when the building was constructed, such as artificial brick siding, artificial cast stone or brick veneer, is discouraged. 

All buildings, structures, and sites should be recognized as products of their own time. Alterations that have no historical basis and which seek to create an earlier appearance are discouraged. 

Previous changes to a building, structure, or site and its environment may have acquired significance in their own right, and this significance should be recognized and respected. 


Paint colors must be submitted to CHAP for approval. Paint permits are issued upon receipt of paint samples, Most paint manufacturers have a line of "historic" colors (which include a wide range of muted colors) and these are preferred.

Repainting should be done with colors appropriate to the period of the building and neighborhood, Incompatible color contrast should be avoided, Upon request the CHAP office will assist in researching appropriate colors for the historic structure or district,

The removal of paint and finishes should be done carefully, using the least abrasive methods, Strong paint strippers, whether chemical or mechanical, should not be used to avoid changes to the surface.

Removing paint from architectural features that were never intended to be exposed is discouraged,



Original masonry should be retained wherever possible, without applying any surface treatment including paint. Repointing of mortar joints that do not need repointing is discouraged.

When repointing is necessary, old mortar should be duplicated in composition, color, texture, method of application and joint profile. Upon completion, the joint should not exceed the width of the original or existing joints.

Repointing with mortar of high Portland cement content should be avoided because it can create a bond that is often stronger than the building material. This can cause deterioration because the cement and brick expand and contract at different rates. The use of electric saws and hammers to remove mortar can seriously damage the adjacent brick, and is strongly discouraged. '

    b. CLEANING:

The original or early color and texture of masonry surfaces, including early signage, should be retained wherever possible and appropriate. Masonry cleaning should be undertaken only when necessary to halt deterioration or to remove graffiti and stains. Indiscriminate removal of paint from certain masonry surfaces may cause damage to the building and may change the character of the building. Brick and stone surfaces were painted or whitewashed in many cases for practical and aesthetic reasons.

When evaluated by CHAP as necessary, the surface cleaning of structures should be done using the least abrasive methods, such as low pressure water and soft natural bristle brushes. Sandblasting and other cleaning methods that will damage the historic building materials are discouraged. Requests for sandblasting will be investigated individually by the Commission.

   c. STUCCO

Stucco should be repaired ~the a stucco mixture duplicating the original is closely as possible In appearance and texture. For more Information consult the Preservation Briefs available from Technical Preservation Services Division, Heritage Conservation and Recreation Services, Department of Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240, or from CHAP, Room 1037,417 E. Fayette Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202.

Eighteenth Century Eighteenth CenturyEighteenth Century

Early Nineteenth Century Early Nineteenth CenturyEarly Nineteenth Century

Mid-nineteenth Century Mid-nineteenth CenturyMid-nineteenth Century

Late Nineteenth Century Late Nineteenth CenturyLate Nineteenth Century


The distinguishing original qualities or character of a building, structure, or site and its environment should be retained and treated with sensitivity. The removal or alteration of any historic material or architectural feature should be avoided when possible. Examples of distinctive materials include wood, iron, cast iron, terra cotta, tile and brick. Examples of significant architectural features include cornices, brackets, railings, porches, columns, shutters, window and door molding and details, exterior doors, marble steps, fencing and walls. (See illustration) .

Wherever possible, deteriorated architectural features should be repaired rather than replaced. If replacement is necessary, the new material should match the material being replaced in composition, design, color, texture, and other visual qualities. Repair or replacement of missing architectural features should be based on accurate duplication of features, substantiated by historical, physical, or pictorial evidence rather than on conjecture, or the availability of inaccurate architectural elements from other buildings or structures. The CHAP office will assist in determining the original nature of architectural features.


Architectural features such as cornices, brackets, window and door molding and details, clapboard, weatherboard, shingles and other wooden siding are essential parts of the character and appearance of frame buildings, illustrating the continuity of growth and change. These significant architectural features should be retained and preserved whenever possible. (See illustration) . 

Where repair or replacement is necessary, the material should duplicate the size, shape and texture of the old as closely as possible. 

Frame buildings should not be resurfaced with new material which either is inappropriate or was unavailable when the building was constructed such as artificial stone, brick veneer, asbestos or asphalt shingles, vinyl or aluminum siding, Such material can also contribute to the deterioration of the structure from moisture and insect attack



Existing window and door openings including window sash, glass, lintels, sills, frames, molding, shutters, doors, steps, and all hardware should be retained and repaired wherever possible. Introducing new window or door openings to into the principal elevations, or altering window or door openings to fit new stock window sash or new stock door sizes is discouraged.  Such changes destroy the scale and proportion of the building.

If new sash and doors must be used they should duplicate the material, design and hardware of the older existing ones.

Exterior light fixtures and house numbers should be an appropriate size and placed in an appropriate location.  Avoid selecting oversized fixtures.  Upon request the CHAP office will assist in researching period fixtures and lettering.

Inappropriate new window or door features are discouraged.  These include Plexiglas, aluminum storm and screen window  insulating glass  combination that require the removal or original window and doors or the installation of plastic, canvas, or metal strip awnings what detract from the character and appearance of the building.


Storm windows and doors may be installed if they are visually unobtrusive, do not damage existing frames, and can be removed in the future. Storm windows should match the trim color. Mill finished aluminum and vinyl frames can be painted. Stark white aluminum will be discouraged because the finish is an intense artificial color that does not become dull with age. For buildings with white trim. or white frame houses, some manufacturers produce an off-white which is more acceptable. 


Porches and steps which are appropriate to the building and its development should be retained. Porches or additions reflecting later architectural styles are often important to the building's historical integrity and, wherever possible, should be retained. 

The original material and architectural features of porches and steps, such as hand rails, balusters, columns, brackets, and roof decoration of wood, iron, cast iron, terra cotta, tile, and brick should be retained wherever possible. If these materials must be replaced, the new materials should match the old as closely as possible. 


New stairways, elevations and fire escapes should be added in a manner which does not alter existing exits or other important architectural features and spaces. These additions must comply with Baltimore City housing and zoning codes. The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) will cooperate in the investigation of alter- native life safety measures which preserve the character and architectural integrity of the building. In the case where special approval must be obtained from HCD, written confirmation must be presented to CHAP. 

e. ROOFS: 

The original roof shape should be preserved. 

The original roofing material should be retained, whenever possible. Deteriorated roof coverings should be replaced with new material that matches the old in composition, size, shape, color, texture. 

All architectural features which give the roof its essential character, such as dormer windows, cupolas, cornices, brackets, chimneys, cresting, and weather vanes, should be preserved, or replaced, where necessary with new material which duplicates the old. 

Adequate roof drainage should be provided to insure that the roofing materials are providing a weathertight covering for the structure, and to assure that water does not splash against building or foundation walls, nor drain toward the building. 


Architectural metals such as cast iron, steel, pressed tin, aluminum and zinc should be cleaned when necessary with an appropriate method. Metals should be cleaned by methods that do not abrade the surface, and which don't alter the color, texture and tone of the metal. 


Walls, fences, and railings are important elements of the design and character of a structure and district. CHAP must approve changes to existing elements or designs for new ones. Removal or replacement by in- appropriate design or material is discouraged. 


Signs on commercial buildings should respect the existing architectural features and be compatible in scale, color, material, and design with the building. Generally, neon and/or flashing signs are discouraged. Signs flush with the building's facade are preferred. Signs should be simple, utilizing only the name of the business, and should avoid logos. In many cases historic commercial buildings are also in urban renewal areas and must meet renewal codes and design standards. The Planning Division of HCD can direct the property owner to the respective urban renewal planner (Phone: 396-4220) . 


The special problems inherent in the structural systems of historic buildings must be recognized especially where there are visible signs of cracking, deflection, or failure. Leaving known structural problems un- treated will cause continuing deterioration and will shorten the life of the structure. 

Weakened, damaged or inadequate structural members and systems should be stabilized, repaired or supplemented when possible. Historically important structural members affecting the exterior appearance should be replaced only when there are no feasible alter- natives. 

Existing foundations should not be disturbed with new excavations that undermine the structural stability of the building. 


Necessary mechanical services should be installed in are~ and spaces that will require the least possible alteration and damage to the exterior structural condition and physical appearance of the building.

Exterior electrical and telephone cables should be installed in places where they will be visually unobtrusive.

Television antennae and mechanical equipment such as air conditioners and solar panels should be placed in as inconspicuous a location. as possible. The installation of such equipment should not affect the principal elevation.


Contemporary design for alterations and additions to existing proper- ties will not be discouraged when such alterations and additions do not destroy significant historic, architectural or cultural materials, and the design is compatible with the size, scale, color, material, and character of the property, neighborhood and environment.

Wherever possible, new additions or alterations to structures should be done is such a manner that if such additions or alterations were removed in the future, the essential form and character of the historic structure would be unimpaired.

New additions and adjacent reconstruction should be compatible in scale, building materials and texture. New additions should complement the style of the historic structure, but should also appear as products of their own age. Avoid imitating an earlier style of architecture in new additions that have a completely con- temporary function. New additions should not imitate architectural styles which pre-date that of the historic structure.


Distinctive features such as the size, scale, mass, color and materials of buildings, including roofs, porches and stairways, that give a neighborhood its distinguishing character should be retained.

Features such as parks, gardens, street lights, signs, benches, , walkways, streets, alleys, plants, trees; fencing, and building set-backs which have traditionally linked buildings to their environment and which reflect the property's history and development, should be retained.

New plant materials, fencing, walkways, etc., may be used if they are compatible with the character of the neighborhood in size, scale, material and color. Decisions for new site work should be based on actual knowledge of the past appearance of the property found in photographs, drawings, newspapers, or tax records. If changes are made they should be carefully evaluated in light of the past appearance of the site.

Introducing new construction into neighborhoods which is incompatible with the character of the district because of size, color, and materials will be discouraged.

Widening of existing streets, changing the paving materials, and introducing new streets and new parking lots should be done in a manner which is compatible with the character of the neighborhood and maintains the relationship of the buildings to the environment.


Every reasonable effort should be made to protect and preserve archeological resources affected by or adjacent to any project.

Known archeological resources should be left intact.

Disturbance of terrain around the structure should be minimized, thus reducing the possibility of destroying unknown archeological resources. Exceptions will of course be made where access for the handicapped is necessary, and a qualified archeologist has documented the site.

An archeological survey by a qualified archeologist of all terrain that must be disturbed during a rehabilitation program should be arranged, where possible.

The installation of underground utilities, pavements, and other modern features that disturb archeological resources should be avoided. Heavy machinery or equipment should not be introduced into areas where their presence may disturb archeological resources.


Loans and grants are available to assist with the rehabilitation of historic properties. For information about the City and State rehabilitation loans contact the Home Ownership Institute, Department of Housing and Community Development, Suite 1125, 417 E. Fayette Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202 (Phone: 396- 4151). For information about the State and Federal preservation loans, grants, and tax incentives, contact the Maryland Historical Trust, Division of Historical and Cultural Programs Third Floor Department of Housing and Community Development 100 Community Place Crownsville, Maryland 21032-2023 (Phone: 410-514-7600)


Illustrations -  Bob Eney
                    Kathleen Kotarba

Funding Assistance - Jolly Company
                                Hillgartner Natural Stone Company

 Graphics and Printing - Baltimore City, Reproduction and Printing Division