Even though old, historic houses have a certain feel to them, we cannot forget the fact that, in most cases, their best years are behind them. However, does that mean that there’s nothing you can do? Of course not! Truth be told, most antique houses can be renovated and brought back to their former glory – as long as you know what to do and what to repair.
While many people who come into possession of such a house unwillingly (e.g., through inheritance) portray a mentality ‘How can I sell my house fast for cash?’, the truth is that even if they do sell the said house without changing anything, the amount of money they’ll receive for it, is only a portion of what it would be worth if renovated.
Have you come into possession of such a house or live in one and decided to renovate it, but you don’t know where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place – below, you will find a list of items you should consider fixing in your antique home to not only make it more attractive to potential buyers but also more pleasurable to live in.
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Antique homes usually have hardwood floors that can be easily restored with a bit of help from the wood finishing that you can find in most hardware stores – that way, you can easily keep the vintage charm they give to your home without spending too much money.
If your floors are covered in carpet, consider removing it, as there is a big chance that the hardwood floors have been covered by it by its previous owners. Once you do that, check the floors for any damages, caused for example, by water or insects, as well as for any cracking or warping.
Changing the glass in your antique home’s windows without affecting the overall look can be challenging, as old homes often have glass that is stained and wavy – which is why the best idea is just to keep the original windows. However, just like with the floors, you need to check them carefully to ensure no insect or water damage.
If you notice that the sills and frames are in bad condition during your inspection, you will most likely have to replace either all of the wooden parts or just some of them. However, the good news is that you should have no problem with saving the glass in most cases.
When opening the doors, you might have noticed that they tend to be quite heavy to open – well, that’s because they are quite large and made out of solid wood. Of course, you can replace them if you wish to – you can easily find solid wood doors on the market.
However, if you, e.g., are doing a renovation on a budget, or just like the doors and don’t want to get rid of them, you can just sand and restain them – again, a great way of saving money and keeping the vintage charm antique homes hold.
The Trim and Molding
If your house is missing trim, molding, or baseboards, don’t worry as some warehouses or stores keep those elements – often, they are saved from the renovation when the owner didn’t want them as part of their house anymore. This means that you should be able to easily find period pieces for any room that is missing its trim.
If everything is in its place and in relatively good condition, there’s no need to replace them entirely – you can just have them sanded and stained with the color of your choice.
One of the things that you might notice when being in an antique house is that there is at least one fireplace in the majority of them – some go as far as having one in each room. While the previous owners might have bricked up some of them, you should consider knocking down the brick barrier, and updating the fireplaces, to make the house feel cozier.
After all, is there anything better than sitting in front of a fireplace with your significant other or friends, on a cold winter evening, with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine in hand and soft music playing in the background? Hardly.
What Needs to Be Entirely Replaced
Even though some things can be easily brought back to its former glory without spending too much time or money on them, there are also things that you should change without a doubt – especially when it comes to an old house.
Those things include:
- The heating and cooling system – it’s probably a no-brainer, but the majority of old houses were built without an air conditioner. However, they might have a boiler, which you might have to replace. The good news is that if the radiators are in good condition, you don’t need to change them. Also, if, by chance, the previous owners installed an air conditioner, you will have to replace it if it has more than ten years.
- The plumbing – when you buy or inherit an old house, checking the plumbing system should be a priority, especially since some of the older pipes might be leaching chemicals into your water, such as lead, which is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause the baby’s developing nervous system to be damaged
- The wiring – old electrical systems didn’t require a ground; they were 2-wired, while modern systems are either 3-wire or 4-wire. If the older installation does not meet the modern standards, it needs to be replaced – including the fuse box and the circuit breaker box.
The Bottom Line
There’s something about old houses – they have a specific atmosphere that you will not encounter in modern housing. However, since these houses usually have years of wear and tear, there are many things that need to be either fixed up or entirely replaced once you become its owner.
Knowing what to replace and what is still good enough just to be restored can be quite hard, which is why we prepared the shortlist you could read above. We hope that it was at least slightly useful, and it shed some light on what you need to do to bring the house to its former glory. Good luck!