Rehabilitation and Maintenance Guidelines For Residential Structures

Adopted 10-5-04

Rehabilitation and Maintenance Guidelines for Residential Structures.pdf

Laytonsville Historic District Commission 
General Design Guidelines
Updated 3-6-07

Stoops, Steps, & Railings

Porches & Decks

·         Stoops, steps, railings, porches, and decks should be consistent with the historic style of the building.

·         All wood surfaces must be painted, including ribbon boards, railings, and pickets.

·         Unpainted pressure treated lumber or concrete will only be permitted when they are not viewable from the public way.

·         Steps to porches and decks are to be painted and have closed risers.

·         Front porches, including wrap-around, should be open.  They may not be enclosed or screened in.

·         Second story or two story decks are not permitted. (Approved March 6, 2007 Town Council Meeting)


·         Chimneys should be constructed of brick or stone.

·         Prefabricated or metal chimneys are not acceptable.


·         The original doors and hardware should be retained, whenever practicable.

·         If the old doors cannot be retained, the new door should duplicate as closely as possible the size, proportion and shape of the original door.

·         Screen and or storm doors should minimize interference with the appearance of the main door.


·         If the homeowner elects to use shutters, it is recommended those used on the front facade be made of wood, attached to the window frame and hinged.  The shutters should be solid raised panel or louvered. (adjustable or fixed).

·         Shutters should be of the proper scale (cover the window opening if closed).

·         An exception may be granted to permit the installation of vinyl shutters.  The vinyl shutter must be of the proper scale (cover the window if closed).


·         Existing historic windows should be retained if at all possible.

·         Double hung sash windows (two over two, four over four, or six over six) are to be used on facades that can be viewed from the public way.  Awning, casement, or sliding windows/doors will not be permitted on the front facade.

·         If single glazed windows are used, insulation may be provided through the use of interior storm windows, “triple track” exterior storm windows or exterior storm windows with small wooden frames.  Exterior storm windows should be finished to match the color of the window and trim.

·         The pattern, size, proportion, casing, configuration of panes, muntin profile and associated details of the period should be maintained and/or duplicated whenever possible.

·         An exception permitting the use of plastic, vinyl, or metal windows or metal clad windows may be granted.  If an exception is granted, those windows should mimic true divided light wood windows.

Satellite Antennas

·         Under Federal rules and regulation, local governments are entitled to control the appearance and location of satellite dishes.

·         Satellite antennas cannot exceed the established building height limitation in the historic district.

·         Satellite antennas or dishes should be located on the least visually prominent area of a structure, consistent with functional requirements.

·         Satellite antennas or dishes should be as small as possible consistent with the requirements for reception and transmission.

·         If a satellite antenna must be located in a prominent visual position on the ground, screening with fencing materials or vegetation is required.

·         Satellite antennas should be mounted as far back from the roof line of a building as possible to reduce visibility.

General Design Elements

The following guidelines are applicable to renovation, remodeling, or new construction of all structures (dwelling, sheds, fences, ancillary structures) within the Historic District.  They are intended to be in keeping with the general character of the Town. Guidelines do not apply to ordinary maintenance or repair. 

Specific Design Elements

Architectural Detail

·         Architectural details such as door and window trim, cornices, corner boards, chimneys, etc. should reflect the traditional quality and quantity of detailing found in the Town`s historic structures.  The distinctive features, finishes and construction of historic properties should be preserved.


·         Building scale should reflect the existing height and width of structures in the immediate vicinity and the general scale of properties throughout the Town.

                Appropriate Roof Pitch and Cornice Details

                Vertical Elements Support Streets Rhythm

                Compatible Building Heights and Setbacks (Town Zoning Applies)

                Porches and Wide Corner Boards


·         Buildings and fences should be painted in colors that are appropriate to the architectural style and period of the structure.  Colors should be compatible with the colors of neighboring properties.

Building Orientation

·         The principal architectural facade should face the street.  The main entrance to the building should also face the street

Note:  At times, the use of historically correct materials may be significantly more expensive than other alternatives.  Alternative materials and methods may be acceptable, especially for new homes or homes of little or no historic significance.  This note applies to all of the Specific Design Elements even if not repeated under each section.


·         Roofing materials for homes in the Historic District ideally should be wooden shingle, wooden shake, slate, or standing seam metal; however, the use of composite roofing material may also be acceptable.  If an exception permitting composite material is granted, the roof should be a premium grade (no less than 300 lb. per square) and closely resemble natural material (weathered wood blend or antique slate blend colors).  If applying composite roofing, the valleys should be metal- not woven.  Wood roofs should be treated with fire retardant material.

·         The roof pitch for gable roofs should be no less than 7/12 (7 inches vertically for every 12 inches horizontally).

·         Roof styles other than gable will also be considered.

·         Roof overhangs of at least 6 inches are common, as are cornice returns.

·         Fascia and soffit ideally should be constructed of wood.

·         An exception permitting the application of newer construction materials for the fascia or soffit may be granted if molding or other existing cornice details is not obscured.  If the exception is granted, the surface should be smooth and have the appearance of a painted surface.


·         Foundations are to be of rubblestone or brick.

·         An exception permitting block foundations may be granted.  If block foundations are approved they must be parged and reveal no more than 18 inches.


·         Applications for demolition of structures within the Historic District require approval by HDC.  In addition, HDC may require property owners to maintain or repair structures within the historic district, if HDC considers the property to be subject to demolition by neglect.

Definition of Demolition by Neglect

·         Failure to maintain or repair structure that is not due to the owners financial inability to maintain or repair the structure.  The lack of maintenance or repair has or will result in significant deterioration, permanent damage or unsafe conditions.


·         Wood fences should have vertical pickets.  Post and rail or split-rail fences will not be permitted..

·         The finished side of the fence should face to the exterior (face the neighboring property or street).

·         Iron fences typical of the late 19th century will be permitted.

·         Chain link fences visible from the public way are not permitted.

·         Fences are to be painted or covered with a solid stain.

·         Maximum height of any front yard fence will not exceed 3 feet.  The rear corners of the structure will define the front yard. (Approved  March 6, 2007 Town Council Meeting)

Ordinary Maintenance or Repair

·         Exterior painting, repair or replacement when materials, features, colors, or finishes are not changed.

·         Minor landscaping which will not substantially affect the character of the property and its surroundings.


·         Lighting should be historically accurate, in scale, and compatible with the architectural heritage of the structure.


·         Latticework porch underskirtings should be made of ¼ inch thick wood strips, nailed at 90 degree angles and enclosed in a frame.  Horizontal strips should be parallel to the porch floor.  Diagonal orientation is permissible if site documented.  Modern pre-fabricated heavy-weight lattice enclosed in wood frames may be substituted if approved.


·         Skylights visible from the front facade are not permitted.


·         Historic materials should be repaired rather than replaced.  Care should be taken not to damage, remove or obscure the architectural features or character of the structure.

·         An exception permitting the use of other than wood siding may be granted.  The material should mimic painted wood siding.  Wood or wood-like composite cornerboards, trim and fascia are preferred.

P.O. Box 5158
Laytonsville, MD 20882
301-869-7222 FAX

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