5 Things You Should Keep When Renovating an Older Home

Older homes have those unique features that you just can’t replicate: soaring ceilings, gorgeous trim and solid construction are just a few reasons people fall in love with these charming properties.

When buying an older home you may feel compelled to gut everything to get a fresh start. I get it. I felt the same way when we bought our 50’s bungalow. Take my advice, put the sledgehammer down. Some original elements can actually enhance the value of your home.

Here are five things you should keep intact whenever possible.

Choose the charm

Solid wood millwork and baseboards, along with plaster crown molding and ceiling medallions—even if they’ve all been painted over in an outdated colour—are usually worth stripping and keeping. These features can add character and texture to the home.

If the home features solid wood doors with tired-looking varnish, don’t replace them with big-box hollow doors. Instead, send them out to be stripped and refinished, and consider updating the hardware.

Don’t give hardwood floors the heave-ho

Before tearing up the hardwood floors, check if they can be sanded and re-stained. Original floors hold a lot of cachet and can save you tons of money if you don’t have to replace them. When properly maintained, hardwood floors can last for decades.

Freshen up your fireplace

Fireplaces can be gorgeous focal points in any room. You can clean up years of soot in the firebox or on the surrounding bricks or tile work. As long as the tiles and hearth are in good condition and meet current building safety codes, you can bring back their vintage beauty. Original wrought-iron fireplace doors can also be brought back to life with a good cleaning. 

Boost your bathroom’s beauty

That original clawfoot tub may look a bit gross after years of wear, but restoring it with reglazing adds value to your bathroom.

Welcome older windows

New windows are not always better than old ones, and the solid wood windows in your older home may be worth saving.

However, when it comes to stained glass or other specialty windows that are cracked or broken, it might not be cost-effective to keep them.

Get advice from the pros

It’s always smart to have an older home inspected before purchasing it, but even if you didn’t, get one done now. Certain elements in a vintage home–such as knob-and-tube wiring or old plumbing pipes–very likely need to be replaced so the home is safe.

Once your home has been inspected and you’re armed with a list of what to restore, repair or replace, consulte a contractor experienced in older homes. 

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