ARTICLE Donna Blaber PHOTOGRAPHY Donna Blaber

Like every home with a history, Art Deco homes come with their fair share of problems. However, owners of Deco houses tend to buy them for their unique style, rather than their performance ratings. Renovating an Art Deco home can be a challenge, mostly due to issues relating to water tightness.

Cracks in stucco cladding, a lack of protection at window heads, a sub-standard internal gutter size, an absence of eaves, not to mention their low pitched or flat roofs and parapet walls, all play their part in the problem. However, on a more positive note a great many Art Deco homes currently for sale have already undergone significant renovation work due to their advanced age.

Nevertheless, ceiling insulation remains an issue. Retrofitting under a flat or low-pitched roof is a difficult task, so many still have little or no insulation.

Despite this, Art Deco houses are recognized for their unique character and heritage, and many local authorities have planning requirements in place to protect their special charms. In order to maintain Art Deco street appeal, many owners choose to make extensions and modifications at the rear of their properties rather than at the front.

Common modifications include changes to improve weather tightness such as replacing timber sashes with aluminium-framed windows (although timber is the preferred replacement material for heritage lovers), and making roof alterations.

Fortunately, although weather tightness has been a problem for these homes, the use of native timbers and good under floor clearance and ventilation means that some elements of these homes have aged very well.

Before undertaking any renovation work, BRANZ recommends Art Deco buildings should be carefully assessed by a structural engineer. Health hazards such as asbestos sheeting which was sometimes used as stucco, should also be tested.

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This article featured on page 22 of Issue 002 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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