Thursday 16 July 2020

How to Rejuvenate an Older Property!

For many homeowners, owning an older property is a source of pride thanks to their iconic history, charm and character. However, the flipside of this is that older homes come with issues relating to their age. Whether you’ve got a few surface-level problems or have an entire renovation in mind, there’s a lot to consider when looking to breathe new life into an old property. You’ll likely be seeking to preserve those characteristic vintage elements of your property while modernising the quality of living. It is also important to ensure that the utilities in the house are upto safety standards, so to get started on the renovation, hire an electrician in Melbourne who can check the outdated wiring and electricals.

Identify the work to be done
Before breaking out the toolbox, it’s important to decide what’s on the agenda. Older homes tend to suffer from structural issues, so it may be worth viewing your renovation project as a 'house sandwich': start with the roof and the foundation, then work your way in. Look for leaks, sagging, crumbling, and ensure that the foundation is level and sturdy.

Other common problems to look out for in older homes are:
  • Water damage
  • Insect damage
  • Wood rot
  • Old & hazardous materials (you will probably have to test for things such as asbestos and lead paint and learn how to safely deal with them in your renovation)
  • Outdated electrical, mechanical, and plumbing
  • Old or outdated features

As well as identifying what you’d like to work on, it’s crucial to make a list of things you don’t want to change. Does your house have beautifully moulded skirting or cast iron lacework that you want to preserve or accentuate? Put that in your plans too!

Figure out the cost
Often the least fun but most important part of any renovation project, budgeting will help you understand what you will be able to realistically achieve with your property. This will involve calling around to get quotes for what you aren’t able to work on yourself (it’s important to hire professionals to ensure the best end result) and assessing your savings.

It’s important to prioritise what projects are most important. This can be a difficult process since it’s often hard to tell the final cost of a project until you start digging into it. 

In with the old, in with the new
Part of owning an older property is being proud of its historical assets. Where appropriate, try to preserve these by working around old brickwork, colour, and metalwork. Your house doesn’t need to be a museum, but you can refresh these elements by rejuvenating them with paint or adding modern elements that enhance the original details.

It’s a matter of personal choice, and budgetary or practical concerns, you may have to make some tough decisions. (Also to note, when dealing with original paintwork it’s a good idea to hire a professional painter when painting over or around it as this can be tricky).

Also, just because you own an older property doesn’t mean you have to live how the original owners did! Adding modern appliances and elements such as air conditioning and heating is a great way of bringing an older home into the twenty-first century. Start this process by making a list of what’s important for you or your tenants in a living space.

Lastly, if you’re looking to add more space or open up the layout (an increasingly popular trend in modern homes), approach this process with sensitivity to the original character of the home, as well as care when it comes to the structural layout.

Starting work on an older property can be a daunting process when it comes to ageing problems, budget, and dealing with potentially complicated vintage restorations. But by understanding exactly what you want out of your project, as well as being aware of the considerations and quirks of older properties, you’ll be on your way to putting the finishing touches on your property that will give it new life. 

Till next time... have you renovated an older property?

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