If you’re lucky enough to own an older home, you own a piece of history. But if you’re ready to bring that history into the 21st century, there are some things you should know about historic renovations. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider before grabbing a sledgehammer.
#1: Do store your original furnishings
Any time you’re beginning a major home renovation, it’s a good idea to get your expensive belongings out of harm’s way. It’s even more important when you’re dealing with a home furnished with period fixtures and pieces or valuable family heirlooms.
Renting a self-storage unit in Murfreesboro isn’t too pricey; a 10’x10’ space can be yours for under $80 a month. This is a very small price to pay for the peace of mind that your cherished possessions are safe.
#2: Don’t underestimate costs
There are a few DIY remodeling projects that are fairly straightforward. Painting, adding crown molding, and changing out the hardware rarely lead to added expenses. But when you get into structural or significant cosmetic changes that require a contractor, there’s a good chance you’ll run into issues. As listed by Policygenius, water damage, mold, and termite damage can all be uncovered during a renovation.
Other expenses to consider are permits and a bump in your homeowner’s insurance as the value of your property increases. A good rule of thumb is to pad your remodeling budget by at least 15 percent to cover the unexpected. For instance, if you think your bathroom remodel will cost over $10,000, keep an extra $1,500 on hand for little surprises.
#3: Do focus on functional renovations
When it comes to upgrading a home that already has charm, prioritizing things that make the space comfortable, safe, and efficient is key. Depending on when the home was built, you may have lead pipes; you could also have pipes that were repaired with lead solder. This was a common building material until the 1920s and wasn’t banned by national plumbing codes until the 1980s. We know today that lead is harmful to children.
If your home is still outfitted with lead, replace these pipes with PEX or copper. Other functional and important renovations include an updated electrical panel, energy-efficient windows (these may be purchased to match the style of the home), roofing renovations, and improved insulation.
#4: Don’t modernize everything
Not everything in your older home needs to be brought up to the modern-day standards of style. In fact, doing so can actually hurt your resell value and can take away from the home’s character.
While it’s perfectly fine to upgrade the kitchen appliances and countertops, you may wish to refinish rather than replace wood accents. If you’ve never seen a refrigerator from the 1910s, this Reader’s Digest article has you covered.
#5: Do use reclaimed original materials
Many historic districts across the country require renovations to be made in kind, this means using the same materials as originally found in the home. Look for reclaimed materials when possible or work closely with your contractor to ensure anything you do to the home does not violate local rules and regulations. Bankrate offers more information on things to consider when buying and renovating a historic property. Keep in mind that these rules exist for the preservation of the overall feel of the neighborhood.
#6: Don’t rely solely on power tools
When emulating wooden accents, go old-fashioned. Many homes built prior to the advent of our modern day electrical infrastructure were done the old-fashioned way: By hand. This means stair railings, kitchen cabinets, and fireplace surrounds were built by hand – no machine can perfectly replace a hand plane finish.
Whatever renovations you choose to do, do it right and make sure to follow local renovation guidelines.