Deciding to live in and restore an old historic house is a big commitment. It is, after all, where you’re going to be living for the rest of your foreseeable future. You want to make sure that you can comfortably live in it for many years to come. Restoring an old house is no cheap or easy task, especially if you’re doing it yourself.
Here are four things you need to consider before you restore any old house yourself.
Expect to Go Over Your Budget
No matter how much money you have allocated to your restoration, expect to go way above budget. Of course, this would depend on the scope of your renovations and the materials you use, but if you want your house to last, you’re going to need the best materials and all the best fixes. Like we said, home renovation or restoration doesn’t come cheap. You can expect to spend as much as 100,000 dollars on a single house’s restoration. You’ll also need to account for unforeseen disasters or setbacks, such as equipment failure, fires, floods, and other emergencies.
If all that still hasn’t made you balk, then be sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into and budget accordingly. There are still ways you can lessen the amount you spend and be economical about the process. But just in case, you want to have backup or emergency funds ready just in case it turns out to be more expensive than you thought it would be.
Prevent Water Damage
The first thing you should take care of is fixing and preventing water damage. Moisture, mold, and mildew is the worst enemy of home renovation, as it can cause the wood to rot at places and invite pests like mosquitoes, woodlice, and even centipedes. Water damage can also affect the overall structure, especially if it goes as deep as your foundation. Look out for any signs of water damage on your walls, ceiling, roof, and windows.
One easy way to fix this is by using wall render, which you can get from any render supplier, to replace any old mortar and masonry while maintaining the building’s look. Render is used extensively in restoration, particularly in blending new and old walls or building robust ones. Another thing you should be doing is replacing your roof shingles, vents, and chimneys. Any of these openings can let moisture inside the house and let it build up. Your first step should always be about fixing existing water damage and preventing further deterioration.
Find a Balance Between Antique and Modern
A common mistake people make when restoring a home is restricting themselves to one time period or era. Just because a house was built in the 1800s doesn’t mean you have to live like it’s the 1800s too. Depriving yourself of the modern amenities you’re used to isn’t a prerequisite to living in an old house. You can still live in a Victorian-style home and have Wi-Fi, an electric stove, and air conditioning. It’s all about striking that right balance between the antique and the modern.
This means deciding early on what assets of the original structure you want to keep and what you’re willing to sacrifice for comfort. The reality of old houses is that none were built to accommodate modern amenities, such as heating and cooling systems, without sacrificing their overall aesthetic. There will be things that you have to replace, some of which are probably no longer made or mass-produced today, for you to live comfortably.
This doesn’t mean that the modern and the old can’t coexist, though. You can most definitely find workarounds and compromises where you can. Try looking for ways you can incorporate the modern into your old house while preserving the vintage aesthetic. Accept that there will be some things you have to let go of, whether it’s contemporary or old, and manage your expectations.
Find the Right Contractor
Sometimes your restoration project could hinge on finding the right person for the job. If you can, it’s wise to get a contractor who specializes in restoring and preserving old homes. They have the most knowledge on the subject and can assist you in areas that don’t quite meet your expertise. They’ll know how best to preserve a structure and its aesthetic while making room for new, modern renovations and will understand your vision better than anyone.
Restoring and living in an old house is a huge commitment, not just because of how much it costs. Be absolutely sure of your decision when restoring an old home and be aware of all the work, maintenance, and money it might require.