Tips For Renovating And Designing An Older Home

    Are you thinking of restoring your old home to its original status? Special care is essential when dealing with old structures. Some homes symbolize family heritage since they housed many generations at some point. When an old home becomes part of the family history, there is a reason to preserve it.

    Other people may decide to demolish the old house if they become new owners through the acquisition of the property. However, older homes are not only symbolic of family history but other historical issues like early urban development. Modern dwellings significantly differ from old structures, but such buildings are also attractive in their style.  

    There are various advantages of renovating your old home before it becomes an eyesore in the community. Depending on the condition of the old home it can be less expensive to renovate than to buy land and build brand new. Old buildings can also pose safety threats to the occupants that can lead to injuries or even loss of life. As such, refurbishing and updating to new building codes makes it attractive as well as improving your safety.

    Before undertaking the initiative to renovate your old house, there are specific tips and rules that you should know.  This guide gives you the necessary information about different things you should consider to carry out the renovation project successfully.

    Hire Restoration Experts To Perform The Task

    First and foremost, it is crucial to identify and hire a team of professionals with expert knowledge in the renovation field. Modern contractors and inspectors can give you accurate estimates of the work to be done as well as the costs. You should know the rough estimate of the value of total work so that you set up a feasible budget.

    Apart from gaining insight into the total cost of the project, it is also important to conduct some research about competent people in historic preservation. Local historians can give you valuable information about the appropriate renovation process. The historians know the significant causes of damage to old structures in their respective communities.

    The other advantage of hiring experts to perform restoration exercise at your home is that they have the right equipment for the job. Professionals also know the process of restoring your home, and they do it in stages. Such restoration process is different from ripping other features and constructing new things. Instead, the renovation process should aim to restore the house to its original status.

    An Old House Is Different From A New Building

    You may decide to buy a historic house as a result of specific features that make it unique. However, you also need to know that it differs significantly from modern buildings. As such, you must understand that you cannot install some modern luxuries in a historic building. If you want to preserve its originality, then you should forego some current luxuries. 

    If you feel that you cannot stay in an old house in its original condition, then it is not for you. One thing you should understand from the onset is that you need the commitment to live in an old house. The architecture of an ancient building significantly differs from modern buildings consisting of a variety of luxuries like heating and cooling

    To restore a historic house successfully, you must be fully aware that you are doing it for historical purposes. The moment you may try to modify some sections to match new homes, you are weakening other areas. Poor restoration can lead weakening of the old house and may ultimately crumble since it cannot sustain modern luxuries.

    Therefore, to be successful in this endeavor, you must lay proper groundwork before thinking about doing beautiful things. The inspector should carefully check all the existing structures and systems. Tasks like repairing electrical systems are simple, but you need to understand the architecture and design of the house to do a good job.


    Source: House & Home

    Address Water Damage

    Water damage is usually the main enemy that needs redress when restoring an old house. Water damage, for example, has long-term effects that include dry rot of the wooden floors. The level of wetness in the walls can also lead to the paint peeling off. Molds on the walls and ceilings can also develop as a result of high moisture content within the house.

    The horizontal sill plate that supports all vertical walls is more vulnerable to water damage since it permanently sits in wet soil. The situation is serious during the rainy season where water levels are high. Any damage to the sill plate can lead to water sipping into the walls leading to dampening of wooden floors.

    It is essential to carefully check all wooden material on the house for any sign of damage when carrying out the restoration exercise. These places include floors, windows as well as ceilings. Damage to these areas can also be a sign of other serious structural issues.

       wall with cracks and water damage

    Set Feasible Budget For The Entire Project

    Before you buy a historic house, you need to know that you have sufficient funds to renovate it. The sizes of older homes significantly differ, and some are small and manageable compared to larger ones. If you are not sure about your budget, it is wise to buy a small house that you can manage to restore.

    It is also crucial to buy quality material for restoring your home so that you do a good job. The other types of equipment may be cheap but not durable. You may be forced to perform another restoration task in a short period. To avoid this kind of scenario, you need to do proper things first.

    Make A Smart Investment

    When you buy an old house with the idea of renovating then resell it, you need to do it smart. You must first research the price of similar homes in the area. Generally, it is not wise to overspend on renovating a house that will not be able to make a return on investment.

    If you intend to resell the house, then you need to know critical areas that need renovations. Repairing chimneys is costly since you need to fork out about $12,000 to fix a single vent. To avoid overspending, you need to identify great stacks to repair. When you know the cost of a renovated house in your area, it becomes easy for you to set your budget.   

    Start With Renovating Vital Places

    When restoring an old house, you need to start with critical areas that are likely to be the causes of other problems. Make the house watertight by fixing the roof, masonry, and the windows. Water damage is the principal enemy hence the need to fix areas that can allow water to penetrate inside the house.

    It might be tempting to fix the kitchen or other rooms, but you risk facing a danger of the problem repeating before you even finish the restoration. When the masonry is weak, water can still drip onto the walls and ruin the fresh paint. Therefore, it is wise to fix all the places that can allow water to get inside the house.

    antique copper pots on wall

    It is essential to check if the mortar around the fireplace needs replacement. A fireplace is a delicate area in the house where many leaks are seen, mainly, in older homes. When it needs attention, you need to use durable and quality material to perform the task otherwise it may recur.

    It is crucial to inspect the entire roof for any signs of leakages closely. Dry weather is essential when renovating the roof since this process is supposed to be thorough. All damaged tiles or shingles need replacement, and it is also significant to paint the exterior. Paint also blocks minor cracks that can lead to leakages.

    If the ceiling is still intact, it may not require replacement. You only need to paint to it so that it looks attractive. However, if there are signs of damage caused by watermarks, you may replace the ceiling. Same material should be used to avoid overburdening the roof with extra weight. Leakages can contribute to more damages to the walls and roof.  

    Dig Deeper Into History

    Before rushing into performing restoration work to an old house, try to have more details about its design.  It is essential to dig deeper into its past and try to get as much information as possible about its architecture. You need to conduct extensive historical research about different structures that were built around the same period.

    Some old houses have preserved material underneath, but you can only get to know this if you dig deeper for more details. The other equipment used on old dwellings does not easily deteriorate and can be reconditioned during the renovation. For example, the rough surface of the oak material can be smoothened and polished and save you from buying new stuff.   

    Avoid Extensive Damage To The House

    When updating the cooling, heating and electrical systems in your house, try by all means to avoid complete ripping out old systems. You can still update these systems without disturbing the old setup. It is possible to upgrade technological systems without affecting the entire system.

    You can achieve this by breaking the system into smaller units. The upper part of the house can get power from the attic while the lower part gets it from the basement. The split system helps to preserve the old regime such that the original fabric does not get severely damaged.

    Design The House With Refurbished Items

    When you want your old house under renovation to retain its originality, you can try to get new old things. For example, if you're going to maintain the feeling of creaky oak floors, you can replace them with old but similar products. You need to try to get old but similar items to retain the originality of the place.  Visit your local scrap yards and salvage warehouses.


    New things can do when renovating an old house but you need to preserve its history. Some materials used in the construction of old homes with more than 200 years in existence are no longer available. When you encounter such a scenario, consider getting a close substitute that can help in retention of the old house’s originality.

    Designing The Bathroom

    The bathroom is a bit challenging to create given that the old plumbing system may no longer be sustainable. When you want to incorporate modern things like bathtubs and sinks connected to the heating system, you need a proper design. The designer should include all significant components and make sure that they can fit into the old structure.

    The bathroom is the smallest room in the house hence it requires more patience when working on renovations. The restoration process should happen in phases instead of a once-off event. You should also make sure that plumbing meets code requirements to avoid leaks from the pipes that can cause damages to the walls. A clean looking bathroom should have wall tiles since they are reliable and easy to clean. 

    master bedroom antique style   

    The Challenges of Repair And Renovating

    There are many things that you should know before conducting renovation work in your old house. When you buy historic property, either you have a plan to stay there or to renovate then sell it. When you want to the property for personal use, then you need to understand that old structures may not be compatible with modern luxuries like heating and cooling. 

    On the other hand, if you want to renovate the house for resale, you must lower costs. It is imperative to dig deeper so that you know the appropriate renovations to conduct. It defies logic to invest a lot of money on a project that will fail to attract a good return on investment. You should also aim to source quality materials for restoring the old house.

    It is also essential to hire professionals with knowledge about old buildings in the area to perform restoration work. The contractors should conduct feasibility studies about the texture of the ground, to gain an understanding of the quality of restoration necessary.  There are critical areas like the roof, windows, and chimney that need attention since they contribute to damage to old structures.

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