The idea of buying and renovating an old house is exciting for many homeowners, but the reality can be quite different. Although old houses are often full of character and lovely architectural details, they can be a nightmare when it comes to renovation. Here are five tips to consider before you start renovating.
1. Know Your Limitations
It may be tempting to purchase and renovate an 18th century Victorian fixer-upper, but don’t tackle a difficult renovation that exceeds your budget. Look for a house with minimal structural problems to keep costs down, and keep your renovation budget in mind. It helps if you’re handy, so you can do some of the work yourself.
2. Look for Clues
Some old houses come with original features still in tact, but many have been stripped of their original charm. Many older homes have been subdivided or completely renovated to reflect a more contemporary look with open floor plans and modern features. Look for clues that show how the house looked in its original splendor, then try to duplicate the original charm and character.
3. Hire the Right Help
When your look for renovation contractors like electricians, plumbers and painters, don’t hire someone who has no experience working in older homes. There’s never a one-size-fits-all solution in old houses, so choose workers who have experience in old house renovations. If you buy a 1910 Craftsman bungalow, make sure you hire contractors who are familiar with old wiring, plumbing and finishes.
4. Find Good Resources
In most cases, interior features in old houses were custom made to fit specific spaces, so custom-made replacements will usually offer the most authentic look. If you find good resources, custom items like cabinets, hardware, moldings and lighting may be less expensive than stock items right off the shelf. With good resources, you can create details that complement the character of the house.
5. Restore Original Details
With an old, historic home, think restore, not redo! In old houses, doors, windows, and bathroom tubs and toilets are often non-conventional sizes. Before you rip out doors, windows or bathroom fixtures, try to restore them first. Old houses settle and shift over time, so replacing original details with new parts can be a big problem.
If you love the idea of renovating an old house, you can find home remodeling contractors today who are experts in old house renovations.