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Your Victorian home is likely more than a century old, meaning it’s stood up to a lot during the passage of time. Restoring your home could mean a few small projects, or it could require a major overhaul, depending on the care it’s received over the years.

Read on to learn about Victorian homes, including the basics of Victorian home restoration.

What is a Victorian home?

The Victorian era’s namesake is Queen Victoria, whose 63-year rule of Britain lasted from 1837 to 1901. During the Victorian era, architecture took a turn reflecting the industrialization of the time.

Some of the features that identify Victorian homes include:   

  • An asymmetrical façade
  • A gable facing forward
  • Steeply pitched roofs, usually shaped irregularly
  • Textured roof shingles
  • Asymmetrical porches, typically one story high
  • Porches that extend along the side walls

There are a variety of Victorian styles of home, including Queen Anne Victorian, Stick Victorian, and Second Empire Victorian. They all look different, yet share some of these major features.

Victorian homes are stately and beautiful, and Victorian home restoration can bring them back to their former glory. We’ve seen Victorians in all phases of life, from those needing a major restoration project to others that have been carefully cared for over time.

Some common problems

With older home restorations come some pretty common issues that could need repair. Problems with old Victorians aren’t unlike the issues found in most older homes. You might have to fix:

  • Old plumbing, including lead waste pipes
  • Knob and tube wiring
  • Sagging floors
  • Deteriorating foundations
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Damaged wainscot

Where to start

When considering a design/build team for your Victorian home restoration, do your research. It’s advised to choose a company with plenty of experience working on older home restoration and remodeling, including Victorians.

Cottage Industries is the proud winner of a historic preservation award for two Victorian addition and restoration projects in Wayne, Pa. Cottage Industries also handled the restoration of The Saturday Club, a national historic landmark in Wayne as well as Phase I of the restoration of the Wayne Train Station.

Historic considerations

When restoring an older home such as a Victorian, there are rules that vary by township and by neighborhood that govern how the outside of an historic house can and can’t be changed. If your home is a national historic landmark, there will be even more rules to follow.

But, what you do with the interior of your house is up to you. You can restore it to its full Victorian grandeur, or add your own personal touch.

When doing an addition to a Victorian home, choose a design/build team with experience matching architectural styles. You want the addition to look like it’s been there all along, without any telltale signs that it is new.

For more on historic home restoration, read about the best path forward for historic home interior design.

Materials and tools

While we strive to make your remodeled Victorian house look and feel authentically old, we can take advantage of modern building materials and tools to do the work. Today’s power tools like nail guns and table saws make the job go quicker than it did for our brethren decades ago when a power tool was anything pulled by a horse. The tools of today are a real labor saver.

Some examples of modern materials making the job better are composite exterior trim like Azek which can be shaped, nailed, and painted like wood but will NEVER rot! Or drainage mats that can be placed behind wood siding. These mats allow moisture to drain from the behind siding instead of getting trapped and eventually leading to a rot or mold issue. Be sure your design/build team is up on the latest materials.

No matter the kind of Victorian home restoration project you’re planning to undertake, at Cottage Industries, we’re happy to share our knowledge and help your building dreams become a reality.

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