Restoring an Old and Historic House: 3 Things to Do Before You Get Started

Buying an old house and planning a restoration project will always be challenging. You may not always be able to enjoy the modern amenities found in modern homes, plus the restoration project will requireall of your attention and energy. The process, however, is a very rewarding one to experience.


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Before you go ahead and plan your restoration project, there are a number of things to prepare first. These preparations are even more important when you’re restoring a historic building. To get started, here are the three things to do before a restoration project.

Bring in the Right People

A restoration project is not the kind of project you want to tackle yourself. There are so many aspects to pay attention to along the way, which is why having professionals by your side through the entire process is the only way to go.

Older buildings that use materials such as lead paint, for example, require you to work with an EPA renovator that has the proper ZOTA professional certifications. The paint and other hazardous materials must be handled correctly to avoid more problems.

Inspections must be done more thoroughly too. Experienced home inspectors with experience in handling older, historic houses will be able to help you spot potential problems to anticipate as well as the visible issues that need to be addressed immediately.

Search for Water

Water is always an old house’s biggest enemy. Any sign of leaks, damp or moist areas, and mold usually translate to bigger problems to deal with further down the road. Water damage also has the ability to weaken the house’s entire structure, so it is a serious issue to deal with nonetheless. A flooded basement – especially one that has been flooded for a while – is definitely a bad sign.

Before you start planning the restoration project, make sure you search for signs of water around the house. Don’t just stop at potential leaks or surface damage either. Dig deeper and make sure you inspect the house thoroughly for signs of leaks. You can plan better for the restoration project when you know the extent of the damage.

Understand Your Budget

The restoration of an old house, especially a historic one, can get very expensive very quickly. While planning for the project, you want to set a strict budget from the beginning. Work with that budget and start listing the tasks you can tackle at this time without breaking the bank.

Your budget will also determine the extensiveness of the project. Do you want to do structural repairs? Is a refit-and-refinish enough to bring the old house back to its former glory? You have complete control over the scale of the project; don’t feel pressured into doing more than you can actually afford, because it will only end badly.

Last, but certainly not least, check the local regulations about restoring an old and historic house. The US Department of Interiors as well as state governments usually have strict rules on the restoration of historic houses. Understanding these regulations is the final preparation to make before you begin planning the project.

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