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This month’s question put to Rupert Hilton (MCIOB, AssocRICS, MScCHE, BA(Hons) via the Look Local Magazine Facebook page is:

Q. Can I paint the Front Door of my Grade II Listed House?

The short answer to this question is yes, the real question though is would it require listed building consent?

To answer this – as with any other planning related matter – we must once again define what makes the building in question special and enter the murky world of ‘heritage value’ and ‘significance’.

The Planning, Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act (1990) Section 7 states:

‘..no person shall execute or cause to be executed any works for the demolition of a listed building or for its alteration or extension in any manner which would affect its *character as a building of special  architectural or historic interest, unless the works are authorised.’

It doesn’t however make any reference to ‘repairs’* and generally it is accepted that maintenance and repair on a like-for-like basis does not required listed building consent (*Please note that neither ‘character’ or ‘repair’ are defined in the legislation – which is where a lot of confusion comes from and why decisions often vary depending on the level of knowledge of the conservation officer).

So, the question you must ask yourself is would painting the door affect the building’s special architectural or historic interest? 9.5 times out of 10 on a grade II listed domestic property the answer is no – though there are buildings which retain particularly important or rare doors. I would normally encounter this issue on grade II* and I listed buildings.

My personal view is that as long as you’re not using a paint that might damage the door or is in some way irreversible, then you should be fine. Colour is also ephemeral and subjective – the colour palettes used by the Georgians and Victorians look very garish to our tastes, but this doesn’t make them wrong – and British eccentricity is something we should all cherish.


Based in Chalgrove, Rupert Hilton Historic Building Surveys, is one of the few heritage professionals in the country to be a ‘Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Conservation Accredited Building Surveyor’ and a ‘Chartered Institute of Building Conservation Certified Consultant’.

To contact, email rupert@hiltonsurveyors.co.uk or call 07849 375824.

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