Basic Approach to Restoring Old Houses


Are you thinking of buying an old house or are you currently living in one and have thought to do some major renovations but just do not know where to start? Given the situation that you already have gotten the fundings to begin with, you should be very keen in regards to all the meticulous details that goes when buying an old house or renovating one, and understanding the basic methods of surveying and evaluating the structural requirements will give you a far better idea to what you will encounter when you start tearing off the walls and floors. Taking on the services of professional house renovators will be the most logical step to take and having to deal with what they think will be better and more sustainable in regards to what you want to what they can do and to how much it will cost you, depends on you.
Before we move on further, most people often pop out the question on the exact definition of what really is an old house? According to English standards, an old house is usually a structure that was built from the start of the 20th century or earlier. Traditionally, old houses were built most of the time with solid walls, usually stone, brick, mortar and timber or a combination thereof. These materials enabled the house to “breathe”, to contract and adjust to certain elements as the weather or occasional ground movements. It is only natural for old structures to occasionally fall apart as a result of years of exposure to the natural elements of the environment, but what greatly depreciates it’s value and appearance is the inappropriate integration of modern day building materials and designs that destroy the house’s original design and purpose.
Modern day methods of using cement, emulsion paints, waterproofing and gypsum plaster may be the most common and convenient materials to use in repairing and restoring most houses and modern day structures, but it will not appropriate for old houses. Modern day building materials such as cement can not be used in old houses and it may render your structure “unbreathable” or it may even give your house a sort of “awkward” feel to it. In fact, old houses are cooler down to a few degrees compared to modern day designed homes and buildings, enabling it to remain cooler in the hot seasons and retain heat during the colder months.
Humidity retention and the occasional wet spots that occur in and around the house are a common problems that happen over long periods of time. This can be clearly seen by the way plaster starts to flake off from the walls or how paint begins to bubble and eventually start to peel off. This is a natural occurrence and is attributed through the passing of time, as moisture and humidity are the first causes of deterioration when it comes to old houses. An old house might have had a number of different owners in the past and most of them might have in one way or the other, had made renovations since the house was constructed. It will be very wise to thoroughly check every inch of the structure to find out whether there had been some form of repairs made that could have contributed to the property’s deterioration.
Old houses are considered classics and it is no surprise why some people still prefer to live in one, as it exudes a touch of the old ways of how people used to live during a particular era. Old style architecture is probably one of the reasons why most people find old houses appealing, especially if it has historical value, which would probably cost more to buy it, let alone have it restored. Restoring an old hose to its original finish may even cost you more than buying a new house but it will be worth your while as fully restored old houses can fetch a handsome price once you decided to re-sell it.
A detailed approach to restoring an old house would mean to recording all pertinent measurements of the entire structure even as to take photographs of every nook and cranny that would need fixing. Restoration experts might come in handy with missing fixtures as they might suggest in making copies of the original fixtures which they will recreate in order to restore the authenticity of your home. A thorough survey of the interior, particularly the walls, the ceiling and most importantly, the floors will determine if there are certain segments that will be needing repair. There is the need to source out materials that are similar to the building materials that were originally used as to keep the restoration process as faithfully close to how the original builders intended it to be.
The very first thing that a restoration expert would first take a look at are the hardwood floors since it comes secondly to the foundation of the entire structure, thus giving it more importance before moving on to other matters. Checking the floors for damages or scratches that were incurred over time by the frequent use of it or by the unmindful use of cleaning appliances such as vacuum cleaners may require the need for it to be re-polished or re-varnished, which ever case they may find appropriate. As for the walls and ceilings, there might be a need to use thermal cameras to find out cold spots in where there are ventilation leaks that may let heat out during the cold months. Thermal imaging can also be useful to detect moisture and humidity build up in walls and ceilings, which could be the result of moisture that is leaking from unknown sources.
Humidity and condensation build up can also be a sign that there are leakages on the insulations that were previously installed by the former owners of the house, to which case it is important to trace the source of the leakage and repair the damage at the soonest possible time. Thermal insulation is very important, especially if old houses are concerned as adequate insulation holds most of the interior heat inside the house during cold seasons and keeps out excess heat during the summer time.

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