How to Restore Old Elevators in Historic Buildings

How to Restore Old Elevators in Historic Buildings
It is possible to restore old elevator cab enclosures with their original wood, stone, or metal finishing even as you completely replace the entire steam or hydraulic apparatus behind-the-scenes in historic buildings.

Myths About Historic Elevator Repair

Heritage and historic buildings need not cost a fortune to repair and renovate. Nor does a ‘historic’ designation for your building prohibit replacements where required. Modern materials and wood laminates may be amenable to replication of the historic architecture that lies behind the building’s character without the inherent flaws and vulnerability to fire and flooding.

In other words, composite material and layered elevator enclosure panel design can help you retain all the essentials of how your elevator looked a century ago. At the same time, the material will remain fireproof and waterproof either with the help of an external layer of paint or due to an interior hardy material.

You can also add accessibility features that older elevators are likely to have missed by installing handrails, more visually compatible control panels, safety hatches, lighting, reflective materials, etc.

Restoring Historic Elevator Architecture to Perfection

Newer technologies such as 3-D modelling and rendering may be able to capture and recreate ornate balustrades and deco artwork. Quite often, the recreation of historic architecture moldings and carvings, depends upon the skill of the technicians involved.

A case in point is Premier Elevator Cabs replacement of the historic white oak elevator cab inside the Supreme Court building in Washington DC. This project involved re-creating an exact replica of the original that had been damaged in a fire some 30 years ago. After painstakingly taking exact measurements of intricate moldings, carved rosettes, and integrated vents, it took months of craftsmanship to replicate the original fabrication.

When the project was finally ready, everything had been marked down to the last detail, from the ‘Egg and Dart’ gothic keys to the decorative bronze on the light fixtures. A custom made bronze elevator handrail was added along with recessed light fixtures and the elevator system was back to looking fresh yet modern.

As a facility manager, you’re in charge of smoothly maintaining vertical transport facilities by annual servicing, getting ready for inspections, and, perhaps, most importantly, by increasing the value of the property via an elevator renovation project.

Elevator Cab Restoration Tips

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that your historic elevator restoration project remains on track and to standards.

  • Pay Attention to Elevator Aesthetic Details
  • Use Metal Refinishing and Oxidation to Remove Minor Scratches
  • Use Cladding for Deep Scratches, Dents
  • Replace Your Wall Panels if the Damage is irreversible

Elevators serve the vital function of vertical transport carrying people, cleaning dollies, ambulance stretchers, and several forms of heavy equipment. That they remain in top condition is crucial to attaining full functionality for hospitals, offices, factories, and commercial spaces.

External elevator design and servicing companies ensure that facility managers don’t take on the headache of constantly changing building and maintenance codes and fall foul of regulations. You too, can make your job a lot easier and stop critical service disruptions by hiring a competent elevator design and servicing company.

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1. What are the challenges in restoring an old elevator in a historic building? 

Restoring an old elevator in a historic building comes with various challenges. One of the main hurdles is maintaining historical authenticity while integrating modern safety and functionality standards.

Ensuring that the new components seamlessly blend with the existing architecture, sourcing period-appropriate materials, and addressing structural limitations are all part of the restoration process.

2. Are there any regulations or guidelines that I need to follow when restoring an old elevator? 

Yes, there are regulations and guidelines you need to follow when restoring an old elevator. These guidelines might vary based on your location and the specific historic designation of the building.

It’s important to consult with local heritage authorities and regulatory bodies to ensure your restoration project complies with safety codes and preservation requirements.

3. How can I ensure that the restored old elevator meets modern safety standards? 

Integrating modern safety standards into a restored old elevator is crucial. It involves replacing outdated mechanical systems with up-to-date technology, implementing fireproof and waterproof materials, and installing safety features such as handrails, control panels, and emergency lighting.

Collaborating with experienced elevator design and servicing professionals will help ensure your restoration meets contemporary safety regulations.

4. What common design approaches are used when restoring historic elevator cabs?

When restoring elevator cabs in historic properties, several design approaches must be considered. One approach involves replicating the original aesthetic using modern materials that mimic the historic wood, stone, or metal finishing.

Another way is to combine historic appearance with contemporary functionality, integrating accessibility features, reflective materials, and energy-efficient lighting. The goal is to balance preserving the building’s character and accommodating modern user needs.