Although restoring an older home can certainly be costly and time consuming, at least more so than a newer home, there is a lot to be gained in the process, especially for the homeowner whose sensibilities tend toward character and charm rather than the cookie-cutter appearance of new construction. That said, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when you decide to take on the major project of restoring and remodeling an older structure. Here are some basics to get you started.
The first thing you should understand is the difference between restoration and remodeling, as you will likely undertake both in the course of fixing up your older home. Restoration entails restoring original pieces to their former state of glory while remodeling requires you to change the form of your structure in some way. And the main thing you need to know is which type of renovation should be used for different home improvement projects.
For example, most homeowners looking to restore a dated structure would like to keep everything as original as possible, but there are at least a couple of instances in which this is not only undesirable, but also hazardous to your health. If, for example, your structure is found to harbor asbestos or lead paint, these items must be removed by a qualified hazmat team before your house will be deemed safe for work and/or habitation. Other parts of your structure are likely out of code and will have to be updated before your home can pass inspection. This could include electrical, plumbing, and heating/cooling components. And there may even be areas you want to upgrade to more modern products.
Unless you like the idea of cooking in a smoke-filled kitchen or paying top dollar to run the fridge, installing newer, energy-efficient appliances is probably at the top of your list. But just so you know, you can get retro-looking models that offer newer amenities. And you may be interested in swapping out drafty, single-paned windows for some that save energy and make for a more comfortable home interior. With so many options to choose from, you may even be able to preserve the original style of windows.
But beyond the obvious practicalities, you probably want to try to salvage as much as you can during the restoration process, including original woodwork, glasswork, fixtures, and so on. This is where restoring an older home can sometimes get expensive. Returning original craftsmanship to its former state is no easy undertaking. It can be a delicate process and you may need to find professionals with specific skill sets to make sure the job is done right. While there are certainly things you can do on your own with the aid of comprehensive online tutorials, you need to be careful – you don’t want to end up doing more harm than good and ruining original pieces in the process.
In such cases, it’s best to call in the pros, whether you need a Restore 24/7 Franchise to address old fire and water damage or you’re looking for specialists that have experience restoring stained glass or cast iron tubs. And don’t forget, items that are beyond salvage could always be replaced with reclaimed items from the same time period to preserve the aesthetic of your structure. Restoring an older home is not going to be quick, easy, or cheap in most cases – it is a labor of love. But the end result will be a forever home that is beautiful, habitable, and one-of-a-kind.