Friday, March 4, 2016
If you have an older home that is in need of Historical Renovation there are some important decisions that you need to consider before signing with a contractor.
Because of the delicate nature of this type of work, specialized care needs to be used when updating a home to its original historical glory.
So, how do you balance your renovation project with respect to the original design of the house?
1) Prioritize What You Want To Change
Many times home owners get caught up in the ideas they have with restoring their home that the list of repairs gets rather long. Before starting any home restoration project, you should sit down and decide what projects should be done first and which can wait. Create a master plan which maps out what projects get handled when. We suggest that you take care of any items that can effect the structure of your home first. Items like roof leeks and window leaks can cause damage if not taken care of right away. Old electric systems can be a fire risk. Decide what is a priority and label it in your master plan. Do this with each item on your renovation list until each project has a place and is handled by priority.
2) Respect its architecture of the roof lines and pitches
Be careful not to destroy the integrity of your home by adding a roof that does not meet the historical concepts of the original architecture. Altering the roof's design can ruin your home's proportions. If your home was made with a slate roof as the home pictured here, be sure that the contractor you use specialized in historical preservation and understands the design. Also, make sure that they have access to the products needed to meet the projects needs. In this case, had we changed the home from a slate roof to a shingled roof or a copper roof, the look would have not been the same and the project would have failed.
3) Replicate Original Exterior Details and avoid cutting corners.
When working on a restoration project, considerations must be made for repairing and not replacing certain aspects of the design. For instance, those big beautiful columns that are on porches sometimes are in need of repair due to weather and rot. Some people are going with a style of post that is straight from the lumber yard that is not a pillar but 2 x 4's to cut cost. This changes the look and feel of the original architecture. Instead, you should consider getting new big fat pillars to replace them with. Sometimes these have to be special ordered but the wait is worth it. Also, when looking at restoring things like the interior plastered medallions, it is best to find a craftsman to work on these projects with you. This may cost a little more however, it plaster is a key historic element of any old house.
4) Sometimes what you don't know can hurt you.
Just because you don't see it, does not mean that it shouldn't be a big part of your restoration project. Older homes are known for having problems such as asbestos, lead, radon, mold and wood rot. All of these environmental issues can cause health problems. Before you start any restoration project, you should always keep a reserve fund handy in the event that these problems are found so that they can be taken care of properly.
5) Windows are a key part of any restoration project.
It is common for older homes to have unique window styles such as curved arches, rounded corners and crafted wood work. Try to stick to a style as close to what the original window looked like. In some cases, you may have to have the window repaired rather then replaced. There are many ways to improve the energy efficiency of these windows and speaking to an expert will help you achieve the look and the energy efficiency that you're looking for. Be careful to find the right company to do the job. Many novice remodelers will replace the windows completely with one's they picked up at a local hardware store. Our suggestion is to see if an expert can get you custom made windows that keep the historic look of the home instead.