Owning an old home can be a real dilemma. It sometimes seems like it’s worth too much to tear down but not worth enough to use. Fortunately, some resourcefulness and hard work can move most old homes from unusable to usable, and then to downright comfortable. If you have an old house that you dream of making into a home for your family, follow these tips to get an idea of how to go about it.
Get It Watertight
The most destructive problem an old home can develop is a water issue. As soon as water can get inside, everything else is in trouble–sheetrock, floors, electrical, insulation, and more. The problem can originate from the roof or walls, or even from below. Before you invest the first dollar in other repairs, make sure the home has a solid roof, tight windows, and no accumulation of water in the crawlspace or basement.
Of course, nothing will be usable in the home until you have electricity, water, and gas, if applicable. You’ll also want to make sure the sewer lines and septic systems are working normally. Any repairs to these components could require that you cut into walls, ceilings, and floors, so it’s important to get all of them working and up to code before you start to finish work.
Check Major Systems
Once the utilities are operational, it’s time to check out the heating and cooling system and the water heater. Remember that there is a difference between these systems just working and working well. An old air conditioner will use more electricity and perform less efficiently. If the system is marginal at all, now is the time to think about AC system installation instead of getting unpleasant surprises later.
Make a Big Finish
Once the house is functional, it’s time to make it beautiful. Complete repairs to the walls, ceilings, and floors. Don’t automatically put down new materials everywhere, though. Weathered woods are very popular right now, and your home may have original hardwood on the walls, floors, or even ceilings that may need little more than some sanding and varnishing. Incorporate easy DIY materials like laminate hardwood, shiplap, and repurposed materials.
Bringing a house into modern use can require a lot of time and work, but the rewards are well worth it. Older homes are solidly built, architecturally unique, and often historically significant. A well-planned restoration process can convert your old house into a beautiful and distinctive home for your family.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter @RachelleWilber.