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Tips for Restoring an Old House

By Edited Feb 10, 2016 2 0
Tips for Restoring an Old House
Credit: Rklawton via WikiCommons

If you have ever taken on a remodeling project you know that there are times when you want to pull your hair out. The unknown issues that arise, as well as the coordination of contractors can make you wonder why you ever bothered.

However, older homes have their own charm and the history and quality contained in hundred year old homes cannot be matched in most modern homes built on a large scale by builders. They simply do not make things as well as they used to, especially hard wood floors. When you get acquainted with older homes, you learn to appreciate their history and beauty.

If you have undertaken this effort, here are several things you should remember to help the job go smoother.

Pick a Style From One Era and Stick With It

When looking for an older house to purchase, or deciding to renovate one that you already own,

Tips for Restoring an Old House
it is important to choose a theme from one era and stick with it. If you want southern 19th century décor, go with it throughout the home. Don’t mix it with a Victorian theme.

This also  applies to wall coverings, furniture and types of fabrics, pictures frames and glassware just to name a few.

If you are trying to bring the whole house together, it is the little things that matter, so do not overlook minor details and decorations.

For example, if you are looking for something to get everyone’s attention when they enter your foyer, an old style entry way hall console table is a great choice.

These types of entry way tables look great with a small lamp placed in the center of your hallway with perhaps a vase filled with flowers.

Another great option for decorating a Victorian theme is a canopy wire jewelry organizer in the bedroom. They can hold earrings, necklaces or bracelets and can be set on a dresser or bathroom vanity and provide a vintage look.

Never Throw Away Good Materials

Tips for Restoring an Old House
When you first start renovated an old home, you are going to come across a lot of materials and furnishings that may at first appear like junk. The first impulse when cleaning out or gutting an older home is to get rid of everything in a trash dumpster parked outside.

However, most homes that are a hundred years are older contain hidden treasures including door knobs, windows, doors and lighting fixtures. Salvage as much of the original material from the home as possible. Try to restore the home to its original glory.

If there are some pieces that are missing, go to a local salvage and antique shop to try to match handles and door knobs. If the original windows cannot be saved, finding replacements at a home salvage yard may be an impossible task so it is almost certain you will have to go with modern windows.

Recover and Restore Original Hardwood Floors
Credit: mjpyro

Restore the Original Floors

If a home has been lived in over the years by numerous families, the chances are that an untold number of improvements or enhancements have been made to it. It is not uncommon to find original hard wood floors or even older plank style flooring covered with layers of linoleum or carpet.

Peel back any flooring that does not look original and determine if the original flooring is worth saving. That original wood is priceless and more often than not can be saved with a little work.

At first glance, older wood floors may look like they cannot be saved, but get a professional floor restorer to give you an estimate for stripping and sanding them with a power sander. If there are bad spots in the flooring, that can be patched with newer wood and stained to blend in with the older wood.

Give your old floors a chance before you rip them up.

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Tips for Homeowners

Focus on One Room at a Time

If you have an entire house that needs to be renovated and restored, stick to one room at a time. For a whole house renovation, it is best that you live in another place while the bulk of the work is going on.

However, if that is not possible and you must stay in the house while you do the work, attack the plumbing and electrical issues first.

Focus on the bathrooms and kitchen then move to other areas. If you try to move from room to room in a haphazard manner, you will lose focus. Get one success at a time under your belt.

Unless you are a serious professional plumber and electrician, you need to contract out those jobs to a licensed professional. After those are addressed, then you can fill in the walls. The walls will probably be plaster. If you can save plaster walls, save them especially if you are serious about restoring the historic appearance and value of the home.

Unfortunately, there are areas of the homes where it can’t be saved. They may not have had drywall a hundred years ago, but if they had it, they would have used it because plaster is very labor intensive, so don’t let that stop you. It may not be ideal if you are intent on restoring every detail of the home, but plaster contractors are a dying breed.

After the walls are up, then you can begin to finish out the home and here are some suggestions to add interest to your home.

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