The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

Main menu


Consideration urged before painting historic masonry

Oak Park is nationally known for its historic buildings, many of which are masonry. These range from courtyard apartment buildings and Craftsman bungalows to designs by Frank Lloyd Wright. Painting masonry has become a popular way to update a historic building, but it may not always be appropriate. Some things to consider before painting:

  • Painting masonry that has not historically been painted is not recommended.
  • Paint can seal in water, causing the masonry to deteriorate and paint to peel.
  • Paint requires its own upkeep and may hinder needed masonry repairs. It may hide structural issues until they become severe.
  • Paint is difficult to remove without additional damage. Remove using the gentlest method possible.
  • Masonry often features details like decorative patterns and dentils. These showcase your building’s design and workmanship and may be obscured by paint.
  • If the exterior of a masonry or stucco surface has been compromised, appropriate paint can provide some protection. However, if done improperly, it will cause increased damage.
  • Historically painted masonry should be regularly maintained using appropriate preparation, colors, and materials.

Additional information can be found in the Historic Preservation Commission’s Architectural Review Guidelines at For more information about historic preservation in Oak Park, contact or 708.358.5440.