Conservation work in action; caring for our external walls

Scaffolding around the main building at Quebec House, a National Trust property in Kent

This spring and summer we’re taking some important steps to look after our special place. External decoration work will be undertaken to ensure Quebec House stays open for ever, for everyone. Not only is this work happening for aesthetic reasons, but also for vital conservation and preservation causes.

A routine inspection

Currently the paintwork around the building is badly flaking. When the paint starts to flake away, it can leave the wooden window and door frames underneath exposed to the elements.

When paint is applied to wood, it creates an important layer of protection against the weather and changes in climate. If left exposed too long, the wood is likely to begin to rot and fall away. In turn this would cause water problems for the inside of the house.

We make sure that our building doesn’t get anywhere near this stage by routinely carrying out this work every 5 to 10 years.

What’s happening?

Scaffolding up to the height of the building is being erected around the main house and along the front of the Coach House.

This gives us a fantastic opportunity to inspect areas of the property that are usually not reachable. We will be checking and looking at areas such as the roof, drains and brick work. 

Any flaking paintwork will need to be completely removed before it can be repainted. To keep the Georgian spirit of the house alive we’ll be keeping the paint colours as historically accurate as possible. Paint samples are being taken from the current colours on the frames and doors to be matched.

We'll be taking colour samples from the current frames to match up the new paint
The front door of Quebec House, a National Trust property in Kent
We'll be taking colour samples from the current frames to match up the new paint

Path closures

Whilst the scaffolding is being taken down some pathways will be closed for visitor safety. This will take approximately a week to complete after the works finish; the exact date is yet to be confirmed.

During this time the main pathway from the visitor entrance to the Coach House (location of the visitor centre and tea room) will be closed off, as well as the pathway to the East side of the building.

A longer route will need to be taken to reach the Coach House. When you enter the property, take the path to the right and follow the wall all the way around until you reach the Coach House.

Thank you for your patience whilst the scaffolding is being taken down.

Why is this work happening now?

The work we’re carrying out is very weather dependent, making the warmer spring and summer months the ideal time to start.

The window frames can’t have their paint removed over the winter, when we are closed, because of the low temperatures and higher chance of wet conditions. Cold and damp conditions also make it much harder for the new paint applied to dry properly. Unwanted moisture can easily be trapped in winter.

When will the work be finished?

The scaffolding will allow us to access parts of the building usually unreachable, so we'll be keeping an eye out for any additional repairs that need doing.

Should everything go to plan, and no extra repair work arise, we hope to be finished by August.

 

Thank you

Your visits make this work possible

Every time you pop in to see us, you help us preserve our special home for ever, for everyone