Tips for Renovating an Older Home

Renovating an Older Home

Renovating an Older Home

Renovating an older home need not be a challenge.  Older homes, as most people know, were more carefully built and made of better building materials than is true now.  Builders were craftsmen and proud of their trade, while many homes today are prefabricated or built using computer-generated models, as opposed to an architect creating a blueprint on his drawing board.  Whether you are renovating a home you’ve lived in for awhile, or one you’ve just purchased, a mere handful of renovations can create a remarkable change to your home.  Renovating, as opposed to remodeling, is just a minor change in finish or color to the interior or exterior of a structure in order to make it more visually appealing.  Sometimes this is accomplished with a coat or two or paint; even adding landscaping around the property constitutes renovation.

If your renovation plans are simple, you might end up doing them yourself, but, if they are on a grander scale, you might want to consider retaining an exterior remodeling expert in Decatur, Georgia area to consult, plan or design the proposed enhancement to your home.

Either way, below are some tips to review before you embark on your older home renovation.

Fortune favors the prepared mind

The above quotation about being prepared was uttered by the French scientist Louis Pasteur.  It means that without adequate preparation, innovation does not occur.  The same can be said for renovation.  Whether your home renovations are simple, or on a larger scale, to have the job go seamlessly, you should:

  • Do your homework.  In advance of any renovation project, large or small, research the types of materials for the job, and, more importantly, ensure beforehand that the idea on the internet or in a home show display is going to work in your house.  You should have the dimensions of each room and your entire house and property size at hand so that you can contrast and compare against model rooms or exterior treatments.
  • Be methodical to prevent mishaps.  Once you have chosen the finished style or product for your renovation project, proper planning will eliminate wasted time, effort and most of all, costly materials.   You’ve probably heard the expression “measure twice, cut once” and should take it to heart.  Improper measurements are one of the main reasons DIYers struggle with renovation projects.  If you are unsure of how to measure for materials, you really should consider getting an expert in to assist you in the project.  Always obtain and assemble the correct tools for the job ahead of time.  You don’t want to be scrambling around mid-project looking for the correct tool, and it is distracting to have to run to the hardware store or borrow a neighbor’s tool to finish the project.  Always utilize the correct tools for safety sake as well as to thwart any damage to your home or materials.
  • Don’t be a cheapskate.  In matching materials for older homes in order for new items to harmonize with old items, it is important to purchase materials that mesh with the existing parts of the house.  Don’t risk cheapening your home by cutting corners and buying cheap materials, because, as your Mom told you “you only get what you pay for”.  The rule of thumb would be to either forego the extravagance or wait until you are able to afford what you really want.  If you simply must skimp on some materials, be sure to use the finest quality materials on the areas that face out to the street, thus adding curb appeal to your home.   For example, if you need new thermal windows around the perimeter of your home, do spring for the designer style or top-of-the line window for the front of the house, and use a less-expensive (but still durable) style for the back of the house.  Sounds like a simple enough concept, doesn’t it?

The light bulbs

If the house is old enough, any enhancements you are considering making to the electrical system should be inspected by an electrician beforehand.  Larger kitchen appliances or high-tech media today require three-prong outlets, and, rather than just using a three-prong adaptor, it is best to ensure that the house is up to code.  Older houses with old wiring consisted of only two wires – the power and neutral.  Modern houses with modern wiring have three wires – power, neutral and ground.  So, do yourself a favor and deter the risk of an electrical fire by consulting with an electrician.

Once you are satisfied your electrical system is sufficiently updated and up to code, one of the more-important aspects of renovating is changing the lights in your rooms.  Who would think that the addition of a few lights could be the easiest way to create ambiance, enhance already lit areas with task lighting or gain added light in a room, yet garner such a radical change?  The right lighting in your home will alter colors and the overall feeling in your home.   A large enough room, unbelievably, will benefit by the addition of all three forms of lighting, i.e. ambiance, task lighting and general lighting and the combination of all three creates a good end design.

New and Old Trends

While it’s fun to try new trends, in an older home, if you want to maintain that “old-home look”, it is best to preserve that look by avoiding current trends.  An example would be renovating a storage area in a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, by using open shelving or floating shelves which would definitely look out of place in an older home.

Consider going green

You don’t have to be a tree hugger as you pick and choose what stylistic enhancements you could make to your older home.  In choosing materials that are good for the environment and less likely to leave the proverbial carbon footprint, many people anticipate “going green” will be more costly, thus stick to basic renovations.  This is actually a misnomer.  Though an older home is considerably less eco-friendly, you can still maintain the old-home look and help the environment by simple changes like switching to CFL bulbs, add insulation, buy energy-efficient products and add solar power.

Anticipate chaos

Whether your renovations are minor or major, and whether it is a small DIY project or a professional contractor endeavor, know that there will be hiccups along the way.  Try to be open-minded and take a deep breath before the first sawdust and drywall powder starts a’flyin’.  Sure, there may be sweeping up duties to be done on a nightly basis, and you might be living out of boxes for a while.  Soon solvent fumes might permeate the air as well.  Keep your chin up and anticipate how beautiful your home will be after the renovations are complete.