Where to Start When Restoring a Historic Home
Living in a historic home may be a dream for many current and future homeowners, especially in areas of the South known for their Tudor, Victorian and craftsmen homes. Though historic homes are full of character, they can be challenging to update or renovate. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re ready to take the plunge and purchase a historic Southern home.
DON’T GO IT ALONE
If you’re committed to buying a historic home, work with a real estate agent who specializes in them. Also consider bringing along a trusted, licensed contractor who may be able to spot less obvious issues with the home. Having it examined by a contractor or home inspector could also be a powerful bargaining chip when it comes to negotiating the price down.
START AT THE TOP
When it comes to restoring a historic home, where better to start than the roof. Fortunately, many historic roofing materials are still available today. Consult an expert who can help you decide if you need to replace the roof or repair it. If you opt to replace, make sure to choose a material that was popular during the time your home was built. If possible, consult the home’s original plans or even old photos before deciding on new roofing. Updating your roof first can make it easier to manage subsequent projects like adding insulation and even mold remediation.
CHECK YOUR WINDOWS
Heating or cooling a home in the South can be an expensive proposition, especially if you don’t have energy-efficient windows. If your home still has its original glass, however, you’ll want to preserve it. Fortunately, 3M makes window films that can help make your glass more efficient without changing its appearance. Make sure to work with an authorized 3M dealer to ensure that your windows will be protected. If your home doesn’t have the original glass or if you’ve got rotting wood around your windows, consider replacing your existing system with contemporary windows.
GET DOWN TO BUSINESS
One of the things that people love about historic homes are the beautiful wood floors. Like with your windows, it’s best to restore your original wood flooring if possible. Though there are plenty of fancy finishes available at today’s hardware stores, keep in mind that this was not always the case. Using a simple finish like tung oil or shellac can help restore your floor’s original look. While it may not last as long as contemporary finishes, it also won’t be as hard on your historic floor boards. Plus, you can protect your finish by adding a solar film to your windows to prevent fading caused by the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Restoring a historic home is a big job … so big that you may only choose to undertake it once. Though the process can be stressful, make an effort to enjoy it. All the work that goes into restoring a historic home makes it that much sweeter when you move in. Good luck!