Steps to Consider when Restoring an Old House
Restoring and fixing up an old house will probably be one of the most rewarding projects of your lifetime. Getting started, though, can be a really daunting task! Here are some steps we recommend considering if you’re looking to tackle the restoration of an old house:
1) Inspect the House: Before beginning any work (or buying!) it is important to inspect the house thoroughly. This inspection should include an assessment of the foundation, roof, plumbing, and electrical systems. You should also check for any signs of damage or decay, such as water damage or rot. Though these issues may not be a deal breaker (you are looking for a project, after all!) it’s good to begin with a comprehensive understanding of the state of the home.
2) Make a Plan: Start by making a plan that outlines the scope of the project. This plan should include a budget, a timeline, and a list of priorities. You should also consider the specific needs of the house, such as its architectural style and historic features.
3) Develop a Schedule: Once you have a plan and have inspected the house, you can develop a schedule that outlines the order in which repairs will be made. This schedule should prioritize safety and structural repairs before moving on to cosmetic repairs.
4) Make Structural Repairs: Start by making any necessary structural repairs, such as fixing the foundation, repairing the roof, or reinforcing the walls. Structural repairs may need to be done by a professional – and that’s ok!
5) Update Electrical and Plumbing Systems: Upgrade electrical and plumbing systems to ensure they meet current safety standards. This may include rewiring the house, replacing outdated pipes, and installing a new water heater.
6) Repair Windows and Doors: Old windows and doors may be damaged. Repair them as necessary to improve energy efficiency and security. Many windows can be easily repaired, so don’t give up too quickly!
7) Restore Architectural Features: Old houses often have unique architectural features, such as ornate moldings, decorative plasterwork, and hardwood floors. Restore these features to their original beauty if at all possible – no matter how much work it takes, it will be worth the final result – we promise. If details are completely unsalvageable or missing, replace them with salvaged materials where possible, or new materials that match the original style.
8) Paint and Finish: Once the structural and mechanical systems are in good condition, it’s time to focus on cosmetic repairs – perhaps the most fun part. Paint the interior and exterior of the house, and bonus points for selecting a period-appropriate color scheme that compliments the style of the home.
9) Add Modern Amenities: Consider adding modern amenities, such as energy-efficient appliances or a new HVAC system, to increase the comfort and functionality of the house.
10) Hire Professionals: Some aspects of restoring an old house may require professional expertise. Consider hiring a contractor, architect, or historic preservation specialist to assist with the project.
Restoring an old house can be a challenging process, but with careful planning and execution, it can also be a rewarding experience that preserves the character and history of the house for generations to come.