Everyone who has a love for Victorian elegance and wants a bit is usually willing to see beneath the restoration involved to the final product.

An abestos-shingled Victorian can provide plenty of challenge in this respect. One such house had been covered with asbestos shingles in 1950 at the cost of $1,000. The reason given was maintenance freedom.

In covering the house with asbestos, all the exterior trim and architectural detail was removed, including the decorative frame around doors and windows. The only thing not removed was the fish-scale moulding that encircles the whole house beneath the eaves. Fortunately, the shingles had been applied over this moulding.

The first problem in removing the shingles is getting the proper equipment. Scaffolding was essential.

The next problem is disposing of the shingles after they are pulled off. Instead of just letting them fall to the ground and later collecting them in boxes, the smart thing to do is to rent a dumpster and dispose of all the trash.

Under the shingles is a layer of tar paper that can create havoc with future paint jobs. The tar paper leaves marks on the house that can later bleed through new paint. The wood should be prepared thoroughly, probably using mineral spirits or washing soda to get rid of the residue left by the tar paper.

Next the task of re-creating the gingerbread trim. To determine the kind of trim that had been on the house, consult old photographs of the area. Also, imprints of some of the decorative details could be present when the shingles are removed.

Because they are so large, corner decoration pieces will have to be cut from 3/4-inch plywood sheets. Using salvaged pieces as a pattern, it is a simple matter to cut out more pieces using a sabre saw. The curves can be intricate to execute, and patience and a steady hand are needed.

All new engineered pieces-and especially those made of plywood-should be carefully coated with a primer-scaler on all sides and then before nailing the pieces in place. Once they are up, it is a simple matter to touch up any scars only easier on the painting arm-it also ensures that all sides of the wood are protected from damage by water and rot.

Re-creating the decorations around the top of the bay window and the front porch can be more difficult. If photos are not too clear, you will have to use poetic license, but the design should fit in well with the established theme. After drawing the pattern and making one master piece, the rest can be cut with a sabre saw. One-inch pine is adequate; two-inch would provide added strength.

The trim above the doors and windows required two-inch cove moulding that is readily available at lumber yards.