Restoring An Old House: What You Should Know Before You Start

Mar 23 2019
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I came into my 100 year old farmhouse with my eyes wide open when it came to what I may (or may not) be facing. I knew it hadn’t been updated since the 50s so immediately in my head I understand that I would be having to gut this old home back to the studs. I knew all of the electrical and plumbing would have to be replaced and I would also need to insulate and replace all of the windows as well.

It was a huge job but going into it knowing all of those things helped me plan accordingly and, it also meant, I was hit with absolutely no surprises along the way!

Black and White. Old photos, my farm, my home, my family pictures throughout the last seventy years. My grandparents farm left to me in their passing has gone through numerous changes over the years from renovations they did to my own giant renovation to make this farm my forever home.
(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)

Restoring an old house is no cakes and ale. Old structures are full of surprises and require special care when dealing with them. You make one mistake, and the costs of restoration can add up quickly. But when done right, an old structure can become a dream home.

So before even comparing moving companies and selecting the best in Preston, here are eight things you should know about renovating an old house.

Commitment Is Key

Do you consider things like an evenly cooled or heated room essential? If yes, then you may not be the right person to live in an old house as it comes with its irregularities.

If you’re moving into an old house because you adore old wavy glass windows and its spirited floors, you should know that you will not get the 21st-century comforts.

Watch Out For Water Damage

Water damage is a major concern in old homes that must be addressed as soon as possible. But you’re not alone, about 14,000 people experience water damage in the US at home or work every day.

The long term effects of water damage include dry rot that attracts bugs. So keep an eye around the floors, ceilings, and windows. Any sign of damage could be a serious warning of structural problems.

Something else to pay close attention to is the sill plate. This is the bottommost horizontal element of your house structure that runs around the foundation. The sill plate is susceptible to water as it is close to the wet ground. If you see crooked floors, your first suspect should be a warped sill plate.

Get A Small Team To Help

You may need a contractor and a home inspector to help you estimate the amount of work required to restore the house. However, it could be more helpful to find people with historic home restoration and preservation.

A local contractor will be preferable because they are able to provide the most assistance and work with you as you restore the house. Above all, if you get to choose a team, pick people who understand the difference between ripping houses off and starting over, and preserving historical property.

Start Small

If you’re on a shoestring budget, start small. That means looking for a smaller house to restore because it is manageable. And if you’re inheriting your grandparent’s house, then start with small spaces.

Begin by buying quality materials and restore less space. It is better to live in a perfectly restored old house than to destroy an entire mansion.

Black and White. Old photos, my farm, my home, my family pictures throughout the last seventy years. My grandparents farm left to me in their passing has gone through numerous changes over the years from renovations they did to my own giant renovation to make this farm my forever home.

Invest Wisely

Even if you don’t plan to sell your property in the future, it is prudent to consider its resale value, particularly when budgeting.

Generally, the cost of restoring a house is nearly the same in various locations regardless of the prevailing real estate market. So, don’t over-invest in an old structure that will not generate an equal return.  

Research the resale value of restored houses in your area and make an informed decision on your budget. You can easily save thousands of dollars by choosing the best fireplaces to restore, especially when you find the house has several fireplaces and chimneys. 

Start With Practical Renovations

It might be tempting to renovating the kitchen cabinets when starting but always start with the masonry, roofs, and windows. Restoring house is like managing a crisis. You first need to address problems that will stop future damages. So, get the house watertight and fix the masonry, roof, and windows.

Adopt Non-Threatening Quirks

When restoring an old house, leveling out floors can be costly and time-consuming. So instead of spending thousands of dollars on it, find creative ways to accommodate its crookedness in your new design. For example, you can design millwork like baseboards.

Similarly, if you face difficulty finding the perfect place to add closets and bathrooms, see it as an opportunity. You can change convert one room into a bathroom, preferably near the bedroom. 

Line Walls With Storage

Most old houses have storage issues because they were built for people at a different time. Old houses also tend to have too small rooms to even add furniture.  As such, you may have to add built-in storage along your walls to save space.

Restoring an old house into a home can be exciting and overwhelming. But with a little dedication, commitment, focus, and these tips, you can turn a nightmare into your dream home.

Source

https://www.waterdamagedefense.com/pages/water-damage-by-the-numbers
https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve.htm

Restoring An Old House: What You Should Know Before You Start. Take on a project to restore and old property is not for the faint of heart, start small.
(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)

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