In Brooklyn, brownstone apartment living is unrivalled for its beauty, sense of community and convenience. But, this type of apartment requires some special care, since they are antiques. That’s right, Brooklyn’s brownstone buildings have been standing since the 19th century! So, it’s no surprise they may need a little more attention than more recent apartments for rent in Brooklyn, and most of the apartments for rent in New York City as a whole. ApartmentLove aims to make the rental process as simple as possible so our experts put together a list of some things to keep in mind when looking for a brownstone apartment.

Keep this list of considerations in mind when deciding if renting a brownstone apartment is right for your home needs, but do not let it scare you. Tenants are not alone in their brownstone apartment rental journey. Landlords who use ApartmentLove are aware of the property’s needs, and do an excellent job of caring for them so your contributions to upkeep can be as minimal as possible.

Quality and Repairs

Most of Brooklyn’s brownstone apartments were built between 1820 and 1890. During this time, Brooklyn was experiencing some major shifts. There was an increase in immigration, an expansion of the middle class and a fascination with nature and Romanticism. This meant there were lots of people who needed homes. The wealthy deemed brownstone “ugly” compared to marble and granite, but having a stone façade was a show of wealth.

Thus, many middle-class people sought after brownstone as an affordable alternative. It was marketed as an ode to simplicity, nature and Romanticism. The enormous uptick in a need for new homes meant building codes were less strict. As a result, the quality of the façade installation in some brownstone apartments may not be the most consistent.

With this in mind, it is important to keep in touch with your landlord about any stone degradation you may notice. Making repairs to brownstone apartment facades is a careful, detail-oriented process. However, it is not too much of a disruption to a tenant’s everyday life, as much of the repair process is patchwork to the outermost parts of the façade.

Landlords are usually the ones to coordinate repairs because brownstone is so delicate. Do not attempt DIY repairs and notify your landlord about damage as soon as possible. All brownstone apartment properties listed on ApartmentLove are up to date on any and all brownstone façade repairs.

Keep it Clean

Like all antique things, brownstone apartments need to be treated gently and may need a little extra TLC. Keeping your home clean is important under ordinary conditions, but it is extra important for brownstone apartments. Brownstone stoops are incredibly sensitive, so it is important to keep stoops and gutters clear, especially as autumn approaches. Excessive amounts of rainwater can be absorbed by the stone and the weight of foliage and debris buildup can cause cracks and stone erosion.

Experts advise clearing debris and vegetation by hand. This includes ivy that may sprawl up the façade, as well any leaves or branches that fall onto it as the weather cools down. If your brownstone stoop is really in need of a wash, use warm, soapy water. Do not power wash or chemically treat it, no matter what!

Brownstones Have Sensitive Skin

Brownstones don’t literally have skin of course. However, the material is naturally softer and more porous than most stones. This makes them very sensitive to water damage and pollution. There is a certain irony to that, considering New York is surrounded by water. But there are some simple things you can do to take care of your brownstone apartment without your landlord. First, seal any cracks and gaps with caulking, especially near windows. Second, try to clear excess rainwater out of stoops and ledges. Finally, you can occasionally wipe down the façade if any dirt becomes particularly noticeable.

Once again, this should be done using warm, soapy water. A dry cloth is also acceptable, and usually the better option whenever possible. Chemical treatments and sprays degrade the stone, as do most outdoor gardening and cleaning tools. Do what you can within reason, but also do not forget that you should contact your landlord as soon as possible for serious fixes and restorations.

Brownstone apartments can seem intimidating because of the special considerations, but brownstone living is all about community. All of ApartmentLove’s landlords are there to provide maintenance and upkeep support whenever necessary. Don’t hesitate, find the feeling of home in one of Brooklyn’s beautiful brownstone apartments today!

ApartmentLove | Brownstone Apartments in Brooklyn, NY

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Published: November 14, 2022