Tips and Tricks for Restoring a Historic House

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Home restoration is already difficult enough as it is, but it’s even more challenging if you’re restoring a historical home. You not only have to rehabilitate the physical structure of the house, but you also have to maintain the illustrious history attached to it. It doesn’t matter if you’re treating it as an investment or if you’re planning to move it. Whether you’ve inherited the house or purchased it on your own dime, here’s what you need to know before you restore a historic house.

Restore the original structure as much as possible

Historic houses were built to last, so it would be a shame to do away with its original structure and materials when you could be saving and refurbishing it. As much as possible, avoid replacing things that don’t post an immediate danger to you. Take, for example, the house’s flooring. Unless you’re falling through the cracks, rather than ripping it up and replacing it with new material, try sanding and refinishing wood floors instead.

Consult with experts

Nobody knows historic houses better than preservationists and architects. They’ll be able to help you make the most out of your investment by guiding you throughout the restoration process. Preservationists can help you with the financial aspects of the project, such as pointing you towards any grants or tax cuts you can avail of, as well as the standard procedures for restoring historic properties. Meanwhile, architects can help you retain the original structure of the house as much as possible and point you towards the best materials to use for repairs or replacements.

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Research the home’s history

When buying a historic property, you aren’t just spending money on the physical structure — you’re paying for the history that comes with it too. It’s important to research your home’s history, and figure out exactly where your money is going. There are plenty of methods you can use to familiarize yourself with the property’s history, such as looking through public records, conducting interviews with neighbors, and even performing a simple Google search will most likely turn something up.

Tackle water damage first

Water damage is a sign of serious problems with your home’s foundation. When left unchecked, structural issues can render your home unsafe to live in. Perform a thorough inspection of your basement, floors, ceilings, and windows for any indications of water damage like mold, leaks, or dry rot. As soon as you spot these red flags, don’t hesitate to contact a professional so they can address these problems.

Be gentle with cleaning

Chemical cleansers and rough handling can damage the original structure of your home. Opt for more delicate cleaning agents, preferably natural cleaners, and be gentle when scrubbing or wiping down surfaces. It helps to do a trial run on a small and unnoticeable surface first before handling more visible areas.

Patience is a virtue

Don’t expect to finish your restorations overnight, or even over the course of a few weeks. Some projects could take years to finish, and you’ll need to be financially and mentally prepared for it. Take this into consideration when planning your restoration project and avoid rushing things.

Restoring a historical home can be intimidating but also incredibly fulfilling. These are some things you need to keep in mind before you get started.

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