Skip to Content

The Opportunities in Historic Trades Restoration

Historical restoration for building facadeHistorical restoration trades such as window restoration, masonry restoration, plaster repair, and finish carpentry are all highly specialized, making it hard to find skilled craftsmen in these areas of expertise today. These restoration trades are a dying field and something not many younger tradesmen are familiar with.

Downward view of Historical restoration needed for stairwell

According to the Historic Trades Labor Analysis, July 2022 Edition, rehabilitation construction is still growing. The rehabilitation of existing buildings represents nearly $85 Billion each year. There are 96 million buildings in the US, and about 40% are over 50 years old. That equals roughly 4.3 to 6.2 million structures defined as “historic.” There are many “historic” buildings in need of restoration. However, there is a huge need for tradesmen. Comparatively, there are about 8,545,000 construction workers but only 1,311,000 construction rehabilitation workers. There are considerable benefits to having training and experience in historic preservation. Not only does it increase the quality of work and reduce the number of mistakes, but there is a premium of around 9% on wages.

Historical building's damaged room

There are many programs to help revitalize these trades. Here are some resources.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation dedicates a whole page on its website to the preservation and restoration of these trades. They provide resources to learn more about the trades and various training opportunities.

The Campaign for Historic Trades is another excellent resource for anyone interested in a career in historic restoration. This website provides a step-by-step process of how to get your career started.

Shannon Construction Company has a government services branch in the DC/Maryland area where we have completed various projects. The projects include the St. Regis Hotel’s structural repairs and facade upgrades. Additionally, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cafeteria Renovation.