North Siding Removal

As part of the Mansion Revitalization Project, Mount Vernon’s Preservation team spent several days removing the lower courses of siding on the Mansion’s north end. This was a slow, delicate process, as the vast majority of the Mansion’s siding is original to the 18th century. Removal of the north siding allowed Mount Vernon’s Preservation staff to accomplish several things:

Framing Investigation

Additionally, the removal of the siding allowed the team to see the repairs made to the framing Venetian window in the early 1930s. This crucial work assured the survival of the north end relatively intact. (MVLA)

Additionally, the removal of the siding allowed the team to see the repairs made to the framing Venetian window in the early 1930s. This crucial work assured the survival of the north end relatively intact. (MVLA)

The primary reason for removing the siding boards on the north side of the Mansion was to examine the underlying structure. Sills form the foundation of the frame building, acting as the base to which all vertical framing members are attached. Over time, a portion of the Mansion’s original sills had deteriorated and, in the 19th century, were replaced with masonry, disrupting the traditional joinery.

To address this, the Preservation team needed to access the bottoms of the vertical framing members. By removing the lower courses of siding, they could closely inspect these areas and plan for reattaching the vertical framing to the new sills (to be installed during a later phase of the project). This planning is crucial for ensuring the stability of the Mansion once the new sills are installed.

With the siding removed, the Preservation team could inspect areas where the wooden sill had been replaced with masonry in the 19th century. (MVLA)

Shoring Preparation

(MVLA)

(MVLA)

Another reason for removing the siding boards was to prepare for the installation of shoring that will support the structure while new sills are installed. The shoring needs to be securely attached to the building, which necessitated the removal of some siding boards to facilitate this process. This preparation will ensure that the building remains stable and secure throughout the restoration work.

For similar purposes, siding was also removed from the north cellar entrance. Eventually, this structure, which is a replica, will be removed in order to provide shoring access. (MVLA)

Information Gathering

With the siding boards removed, the Preservation team took the opportunity to gather as much information as possible about the building's construction and condition. By carefully examining each exposed area of the Mansion, Mount Vernon staff can prepare for future restoration efforts and gain valuable insight into the history of Washington’s home.

A member of Mount Vernon’s Preservation staff inspects a siding board. (MVLA)

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Follow along as we post updates and discoveries from the landmark Mansion Revitalization Project.

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