Older homes tend to have character and beauty that is often lost in the architecture of newer homes. Whether a complete restoration to the original splendour is in order or a large-scale floor remodel, one thing is for sure: older homes require tender loving care.
Renovating an older home can help maximize the existing space and revitalize the original structure without compromising your older home’s integrity.
But before you dive into designs and plans, you should be aware of the potential issues that can arise. Having the facts ahead of time can help prevent your older home from becoming “a money pit”. Here are some old home renovation mistakes to avoid.
With the surge in popularity of home DIYs, especially with renovations, many homeowners make the mistake of thinking they can save money and time by not hiring outside sources. This can be feasible with small remodelling jobs…but an older home renovation is not the time to learn how to be an electrician, carpenter, or plumber.
Mistakes can be easily made that can lead to devastating consequences. Furthermore, any structural, electrical, or plumbing that is installed or adjusted by a non-certified technician can void your home insurance policy.
Not Researching the History of the Construction/Inspections
There are several reasons why you should research the construction history or past inspections of your older home before renovations begin. For one, consider the structural implications if one of the previous owners made major updates without the proper permits.
When dealing with an older home, you’ll also want to know if all house problems have been disclosed, the dates of recent updates, causes for permit holdups, or whether the correct land measurements have been provided. If there are no documents or paperwork to detail the work, talk to owners of neighbouring properties and have a trustworthy inspector perform a detailed inspection before you start knocking down walls.
Disregarding the Original Style of the House
It is important to try to restore or keep the original style of the house with any renovation. Chances are the older home was bought with the intention of honouring the initial architectural style of the building.
When doing an older home renovation, try to maintain some of the older architectural features and charm. There’s a certain appeal that comes with having a historic home. Not to mention, many old materials are of a higher quality than modern ones, so keeping some of the older features could increase your property value. Think of an older home renovation as a modern facelift instead of a complete redo.
Not Using the Latest Technology
An older home renovation can be costly. Many homeowners make the mistake of not taking the opportunity of having a contractor on-site to upgrade the home with the latest technology or models.
Just as the renovation is an investment in your lifestyle, investing in smart home technology and new appliances is a step into the future of the home. Technology will increase the value of the home if and when the time comes to sell.
Not Getting Multiple Opinions
As a homeowner, you may have the perfect design in mind for the renovation, but is it viable or feasible? Older homes can hide structural damage which may not support the new renovation.
Before settling on any form of work or hiring a contractor, it is best to get professional advice and various estimates. Keep your initial plan in mind when discussing the project with different architects and designers.
Only Thinking Short-Term
Unfortunately, many homeowners think of the renovation as a short-term solution, not realizing other issues that will require attention at some point. A renovation of an older home can be an opportunity to update the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing of your home, for example.
However, if you are planning to expand your family, you may want to take this time to perform the required changes. While these projects can add to the cost of the renovation, it saves you time and money from having to hire professionals to undo the work and make more changes in the future.
Not Checking Local Guidelines
Knowledge is power and with any type of home renovation, this is a vital part of the project. Different municipalities have specific building guidelines to follow, including obtaining the right permits.
Most neighbourhoods also have their own set of guidelines and regulations, particularly when it comes to renovations. Without these legal documents, a homeowner can face hefty fines and may be required to put the renovation project on hold indefinitely.
Ignoring the Opinion of Neighbours
Look, it’s your home and you can do whatever you want with it—as long as it complies will all local bylaws and regulations. But if you have nearby neighbours who may be affected by your renovation, it might be wise to consider their thoughts before you start your renovation. Everyone has an opinion, and for obvious reasons, there can be some truth in it.
Any exterior renovations you do should fit in line with the aesthetics of the houses on your street. Maintaining the tone can help in the resale of the home in the future. If all the other homes on your street have a Victorian or Early American Colonial style, your home—even if it’s newly renovated and has modern fixtures—may stick out like a sore thumb.
Not Getting Professional Help
Above all, an older home renovation can uncover complicated surprises. Having building professionals to help design, plan, and create your dream home can save you time, headaches, and money in the long run.
For a cost-effective and satisfying renovation, hire a reputable contractor with experience in restoring and renovating older homes. With the surge of new construction across the GTA, not every contracting firm can undertake such a delicate renovation.
Contact Elite Construction and Renovations for the Renovation of Your Old Home
Elite Construction and Renovations is here for you for the renovations you want to your older home. Our success over the past 15 years has been proven by our extensive workmanship guarantee and excellent customer service with no compromise on our work.
We have the expertise, equipment, and team to work with the existing structural framework to create an updated version of your beloved home. Upgrading the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing to industry codes can be done without compromising the style.
Call us today for a no-obligation quote on your next renovation project!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jay McDonald, general contractor and owner of Elite Construction & Renovations, has over 20 years of construction experience. He has completed various Ontario Building Code and Business Management courses from George Brown College and has managed over $50 million-dollars-worth of construction in his career.