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Older homes have a certain charm that exceeds modern construction, which is one of the reasons why many homeowners prefer them. Many others simply have an old home that they have inherited or bought for cheap with the intention of renovating.
Whatever your motivation for owning an older home, chances are you’re considering home improvements to bring it up to current standards. To what extent should you remodel rather than renovate? What renovations are worth your money and time? What should you DIY, and which repairs require a professional?
Choosing Your Projects
You’ll need to decide whether you’re looking at a renovation or remodel. A renovation involves taking the elements you already have and making aesthetic touches and other updates. Remodeling means making structural changes to the house, such as removing walls and changing the layout of rooms.
A house’s age will impact the scope and cost of the project. For instance, a house from the 1960s is likely to involve aesthetic changes, while one from the 1920s may come with more complex repairs. If it’s just a matter of appearance, then cheaper renovations will suffice, but if you dislike the layout of the house, you will be spending a lot more money.
Bear in mind that some remodeling jobs are considerably more expensive than others. For example, according to Time.com, a bathroom remodel can range from $3,000 to $100,000, which includes design fees, lighting, ventilation, cabinets, flooring, faucets and plumbing.
DIY Or Professional?
For those who prefer to stay away from DIY, the decision of whether to hire a professional contractor will be an easy one. But homeowners with some experience with home improvements will often be itching to do the work themselves, especially since it can be much cheaper.
However, it is important to remember you are dealing with an old house and it comes with certain complications. Older homes are generally harder to work with and often require specialist care such as tiles, woodwork and stonework. If you’re handy, you can tackle straightforward projects like painting and drywall repair, but steer clear of anything involving plumbing, electrical and unfamiliar materials. Whatever you take on yourself, make sure you have the right tools for the job. Home improvement stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot are great resources when you need tools you want to invest in, like a great drill or a sander. But some tools don’t need to cost a lot, especially if you’ll only use them once. Look to stores like Harbor Freight for items you won’t use much or for nominal accessories. For example, you can snag paint brushes for as little as $1.00.
So, you have made the necessary decisions regarding how you are going to approach your home improvement, and you’re ready to get started. Here are a few things you should consider before getting the toolbox out:
- If your home contains valuable or beloved antiques and original furnishings, get them out of the way during any major work to avoid damage. Renting a storage unit is a practical way to do this, but you’ll need to review the costs of renting a unit in your area.
In Denver, for example, the monthly price of a self-storage unit averaged around $76.37 over the last six months.
- Check for water damage and termites before starting any renovation in order to avoid nasty surprises in terms the project cost and duration. Check out the main signs of a termite infestation here.
- Depending on the age of your house, an electrical inspection might be a good idea as you may find yourself having to bring the electrical system up to modern-day code.
Fixing up an older home can be incredibly satisfying. You get to maintain beautiful home’s heritage while bringing it into the 21st century, blending modern comfortable living with old-fashioned charm. However, it is an expensive and time-consuming project, so the key is to pace yourself and prioritize the areas that mean the most to you.