While older homes can be loaded with charm and character, they also come with quirks and hidden surprises. As you begin to think about taking on an old home restoration or putting up an addition, there are some things to consider when dealing with an older house.
In a previous blog, we went over some of the “gotchas,” the existing conditions and surprises you should be aware of. Delving further into old home restoration, here are our top seven tips to keep in mind.
1) Know Your Budget
Come up with a project budget before you get started, and leave room to bring your home up to speed. Before you begin, start with the necessities, such as fixing the roof or foundation, or other failing systems in your home. Then, once everything is functioning properly, move on to the other updates and changes you want to make.
2) Prepare For Surprises
Behind the walls and ceilings of older homes can lurk some interesting things: multiple ceilings, sub-standard electrical wires, corroded plumbing, or even termite damage. If your design calls for eliminating or removing walls, know that doing so could reveal potentially costly surprises.
3) Restore or Repair?
Decide whether you want to replace or restore cabinets, fixtures, lighting, and windows. For example, you can change the whole look of a kitchen by prepping and painting your cabinets and adding new hardware. But those costs add up and might not save much over new cabinetry.
4) Lead Paint Removal
If your home was built before 1978 and has lead paint, know the facts. You can strip lead paint with a chemical stripper, or paint over it but sanding lead paint can release harmful lead into the air. Talk to your design/build team about your options, which can range from nothing to an expensive professional lead abatement.
5) Do Away With Moisture
A happy basement is a dry basement. Older homes can have moisture issues, which could cause rot and mold. During your old home restoration, look for signs of leakage, or deteriorated stone and mortar in foundations, and take care of these problems. Got a leaky roof, or one on its last legs? Maybe you should budget for a new roof while you tackle your kitchen or bathroom remodel.
6) Do It Yourself?
It’s easy to think “I can do that,” when it comes to old home restoration. Sure, you might be handy, but do you have the time and energy to take on a big project? If you do, clear your calendar. Remodels tend to take more time than you think, and surprises will crop up. If you are planning to do it yourself, seek advice on each task. YouTube can also be a good resource for DIY.
7) Team player
Be sure your design/build team has plenty of experience with older homes. The expertise of their craftsmen will play an important role in your project. Before a design is finalized, a good designer or architect will seek input from members of the construction team.