Renovate Don’t Decimate: How to Remodel and Preserve Old Homes

Posted on Jun 29 2016 - 10:23am by Housecall

By Marlena Stoddard

Houses in SavannahDIY enthusiasts from around the world are learning that renovating something old is far better than buying new.  Home building used to be an art, and it is important for our neighborhoods that we preserve history rather than bulldozing it for a new, cheap house. While new buildings are nice, there is something about the charm and character of an older home that is mesmerizing.

Each home has a story. There was a dream that built the place and all these years later it’s still standing. It may be tattered and even have mold growing in places, but these once amazing homes can be great again. If the foundation is good or can be repaired rather easily, then the home can usually be saved.

Rejuvenate Hardwood Flooring

At the heart of each older home is normally some type of hardwood flooring. Sure, some people decided that carpet was great and started covering up beautiful natural wood, but that is great news for those who want to uncover and rediscover these floors. The first thing to do when renovating one of these homes is to find out if there is hardwood under the dingy carpets. Even the most distressed floors can be brought back to life with some sanding and polishing, and if they can’t be brought back to a perfect shine, the scars of time can add incredible character to the home.

Related: Old Meets New for Historic House Hunters

Preserve Old Window Charm

Typically, an old home’s windows are better for decor than they are keeping the elements at bay. New windows increase the energy efficiency and seal the home. With some care, new windows will have just as much charm as the old. According to the experts at FAS Windows and Doors, homes built before the 1950s typically use denser, higher quality wood for window frames. Preserving old window frames is a sure-fire way to preserve the quality and charm of the original architecture while keeping you and your home protected from the elements. New windows can work toward keeping the home cool in summer and warm in the winter by providing better insulation from the outside world.

Plumbing and Electrical

One of the most common issues in these old houses is outdated plumbing and electrical systems, but those can easily be updated without damaging the look and feel of the home. Knob and tube wiring is often uncovered, attached to dated fuse boxes, and a new breaker box that can handle the standard amperage should be installed. As far as plumbing goes, any pipes that are left in the home are more than likely filled with sediment. Replacing the plumbing and electrical is imperative.

Those quirky built-in cabinets and fireplaces are just some of the charm of the older home. The history is what makes them worth saving. Instead of tearing down and erecting something new, why not preserve and make something old new again?

1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sky June 30, 2016 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    These are soe very good tips that many home owners should be aware of when trying to preserve an old house.

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