Call (253) 999-2371 Paul Chunyk is a Realtor in Tacoma, WA. See our new homes for sale in Tacoma, Washington, and all of Pierce County. Search the Tacoma Real Estate Market - condos, mansions, luxury homes, and more

13 Tips For Restoring An Old Home

Purchasing an old home is an exciting adventure. Old homes are unique. They going to have history and character. They also will have a design that cannot be found in every home. Because of the unique characteristics of an old home, this type of home is also going to have to be maintained in a special way. When first purchased, these homes will generally need to be restored in order to be made livable and to increase the home’s longevity. Investing in the restoration of an old home is an investment that takes a considerable amount of time, money, and energy, but the benefits of taking on such a task are rewarding! Thirteen tips for restoring an old home are:

  1. Have information on the maintenance history of the home. A record of the previous maintenance done on the home is going to really benefit the owner of an old home. This will give you information on what you will need to do to restore the home in the present and future and keep you from redoing recently fixed features. An old home has an increased likelihood of having problems. Everything ages over time, including homes. Therefore, just like it is important for any homeowner to take care of their home through regular maintenance, this is even more important for the homeowner of an old home.
  2. Make the home fresh through a new paint job. Painting a home is a simple and affordable way to restore a home. A new paint job is going to make the house look new. By doing some research on the style of home you purchased, you can find specific colors to paint the house in order to bring out the style of the home. Be careful when you begin taking off old paint, as there is some potential to damage the wall.
  3. Repurpose the existing structures. Outbuildings are a common aspect of an old home. Typically used as garden sheds, outhouses, or old garages, the outbuilding can be a difficult aspect of renovating an old home. Homeowners have trouble knowing how to best use these buildings. If you are struggling with what to do with the outbuilding, consider repurposing it. For example, rather than keeping the outbuilding as a garden shed, make it into an extra space for visitors. A renovated outbuilding that is made to fit your family’s needs is going to be used much more often than an outbuilding that is purposed for a need that you and your family do not have.
  4. Keep aspects of the old home. When renovating an old home, it can be tempting to redo the majority, if not all aspects of the home. Because, after all, the home is old, with features that have weathered, worn, and are sometimes decaying. But when renovating an old home, the majority of people are not going to regret having saved at least some aspect of the old home. Pick the floor, or the fire pit, or the old ceiling boards, it does not matter what aspect, but choose to retain some part of the old design. It will add to the value of the home.
  5. Restore the masonry. Restoring the original materials used in the home is a hard, but worthy investment. One aspect that can be restored is the masonry. There are two main features of the masonry that need to be checked: the actual stone and the mortar used to keep the stone in place. To maintain the actual stone, do not fix it through filling in holes or sections. The entire portion should be taken out and replaced with a new piece. For the mortar, the old, damaged mortar has to be removed in order to put the new mortar on. When doing so, however, it is important that the mortar is replaced with a consistency and color similar to the previously used mortar. Mortar is typically going to stay in good condition for 25 to 50 years. But, after that time has passed, a homeowner is going to need to touch up the mortar on their home.
  6. Call in the professionals. The restoration of an old home should not be a full blown do-it-yourself project. A successful and wise DIY home restorer is going to know when to call in the professionals. Restoring an old home can have unusual problems that a typical DIY home maintainer is never going to have experienced before. Calling a professional for help is going to save you time and money seeing as a job not well done in the present can lead to much larger, more expensive problems in the future. There are professionals to be hired for every aspect of the home: landscaping, kitchen, design, structure, etc.
  7. Complete an energy audit before beginning the renovations. One struggle people have with old homes is an increase in the amount paid on energy bills. An old home will typically have some type of problem or problems when it comes to keeping energy bills low. Whether it is a lack of insulation, no sealed windows, or leaking air ducts, most old homes will be in need of some fixing. An energy auditor is going to be able to provide you information on what renovations you should complete to reduce the energy expenses. Having an auditor come before you begin your renovations is going to save you from discovering that you have high energy bills after the renovations are complete. Not doing so is only going to cause you to have to complete more renovations after you thought you were done. When the auditor reveals different aspects that need to be fixed, try to find a way to restore the old materials to make them more energy efficient. It saves some of the history of the home and may actually be the cheaper method.
  8. Restore the curb appeal. When selling a home, the curb appeal is one of the most important aspects of having a successful selling process. Why? Because it draws people to the home. When renovating an old home, it is also important to focus on the curb appeal. Maintaining the old design of the curb appeal and restoring it is going to draw people to your home.
  9. Expose the old structure. As you make decisions on how you want the home renovated, consider having parts of the structure exposed. You can expose wood, concrete, and metal. One of the most common and simple aspects to expose is the beam of the home. An exposed structure adds a unique architectural element to the home.
  10. Purchase the right type of insurance. When you buy insurance for your home, it is always important to buy the correct insurance that is appropriate for you and your situation. When you purchase an old home, it is important to purchase the right type of insurance that is going to give the best benefits for those who own an older home. Rather than going with a cash value policy, consider purchasing a policy that is going to enable you to fully replace the aspects of the home that fall apart.
  11. Realize that not all homes can be saved. When looking for an old home to restore, it is important to realize that not all old homes are going to be able to be restored. Some old homes are going to be in such a poor state that they have to be destroyed. Make sure that you purchase a home that can actually be brought back to life.
  12. Keep the old wood. Old wood is typically going to be of better quality than the more modern wood types. You can tell the quality of the wood by looking at the growth rings. The closer they are together, the better the quality, as the wood will be more durable. Be sure to keep your wooden windows, wooden floors, and wooden doors. Old wood can be refinished and patched. Restoring the old wood is going to give the home a higher quality and richer history.
  13. Protect the plants. An old home is likely going to have an old landscape that goes with it. When designing the home, make a plan that does not involve redoing all of the landscape. Preserving the plants, especially the trees, is going to keep some of the history with the home. When the construction crews come, have a fence placed around the plants to keep any heavy equipment away. Damage to a landscape is not always seen until after the construction crew is done with their work. It takes time for larger plants to reveal the extent of damage done.

An old home is going to have something other homes do not: historic value. These homes are going to have a past that is in need of preserving. Taking on the project of restoring an old home is hard work, but the benefits of doing so are well worth the cost.

Contact Paul Chunyk

Reach out to me, I would love to give you more details and get you headed in the right direction to accomplish your goals.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.