The Dos and Don’ts of Renovating an Old House


The Dos and Don’ts of Renovating an Old House

Renovating an old house is a thrilling and challenging task, filled with endless opportunities to restore its former glory. Whether you have purchased an old house or inherited one from your family, the renovation process can be a labor of love. However, it requires careful planning, a keen eye for details, and a dose of patience. To ensure a successful renovation, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when embarking on this exciting journey.

1. Conduct a thorough inspection: Before starting any renovation project, it is essential to assess the condition of the house. Hire a professional inspector who can identify potential issues like faulty wiring, plumbing, and structural damage. This will help you plan your renovation better and avoid unexpected problems along the way.

2. Prioritize structural repairs: Focus on fixing any structural issues before proceeding with cosmetic upgrades. This includes repairing the foundation, roof, walls, and windows. Investing in the core structure of the house ensures its stability and longevity.

3. Preserve the original charm: Old houses often come with unique architectural details and historical significance. Whenever possible, preserve and restore these elements instead of replacing them. This includes original windows, hardwood floors, crown moldings, and vintage fixtures. Not only will this honor the house’s history, but it will also add immeasurable character to your renovated space.

4. Research and recreate period-appropriate designs: If your house has a specific time period associated with it, research the architecture and design styles of that era. This will help you make informed choices when it comes to selecting materials, colors, and furnishings. Strive to recreate the original charm while incorporating modern amenities that suit your lifestyle.

5. Hire experienced professionals: Renovating an old house requires a team of experienced professionals. Look for contractors, architects, and designers who have prior experience in working with historic homes. Their expertise will be invaluable when it comes to enhancing the original features while incorporating modern functionality.


1. Rush the process: Renovating an old house is a marathon, not a sprint. Avoid rushing the process, as it can lead to costly mistakes and compromises on quality. Take your time in planning and executing each renovation phase to ensure the best results. Remember, patience is key when dealing with an old house.

2. Sacrifice safety for aesthetics: While it may be tempting to cut corners, particularly when it comes to electrical and plumbing work, prioritizing safety is crucial. Follow building codes and regulations and ensure that all renovation work is done to the highest safety standards. This includes hiring licensed professionals for specialized tasks and obtaining the required permits.

3. Neglect energy efficiency: Old houses were not built with energy efficiency in mind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it during renovation. Replace old insulation, upgrade windows to double-glazed options, and install energy-efficient appliances to reduce utility bills and make your home more environmentally friendly.

4. Overlook budgets and contingencies: Renovations, especially on old houses, can be unpredictable. It is important to establish a realistic budget and set aside a contingency fund for unexpected expenses. Anticipate that there may be hidden issues beneath the surface, and be prepared to handle them without compromising the overall renovation plan.

5. Disregard necessary permits: Before undertaking any renovation project, ensure you have the necessary permits and approvals from local authorities. Failing to obtain these can result in fines, delays, and even legal issues. Consult with professionals who are familiar with local regulations to ensure you are compliant throughout the renovation process.

Renovating an old house is a labor-intensive task, but with proper planning and execution, it can be a fulfilling experience. By following these dos and don’ts, you can ensure that your renovation is successful, preserving the history and charm of the old while creating a comfortable and functional living space for the future.

Related Posts