Some people would rather flip a home than build a new one, but what are the top projects you should focus on for an old home? Older homes are praised for their history, charm, and the comfort they can bring, but people can sometimes overlook how much work these homes may need. While some older homes have been maintained over the years and may only undergo cosmetic touch-ups, it is not uncommon for an older home to need a total overhaul and renovation, right down to the bones.
Renovation projects can range from small, cost-effective changes to larger changes that require more of an investment but result in a more dramatic impact. The most important thing to remember is to take renovations one step at a time, starting with creating timelines and budgets. After those are set, it is merely a matter of prioritization and planning.
Updating kitchens and bathrooms
Kitchens are often first on the list for many homeowners to tackle. Depending on your preference and/or resources, it may be something as simple as repainting, or as complex as knocking down walls. However, keep in mind that completely changing the layout of your kitchen can get extremely pricey in older homes. This is because it can cost a high amount to change the placement of the existing plumbing, wiring, and lines. This Old House has a longer, detailed article full of kitchen remodeling inspiration, as well as renovation ideas for older homes in general.
Bathrooms are also smaller rooms that can add huge value to your home. Remodeling in these areas may include practical tasks like updating plumbing lines or refinishing the shower. Also keep in mind that bathrooms have gone through various trends over the last few decades. For instance, 30 years ago the trend for bathroom vanities was to place them at a height at 30” – the present-day standard is to place them at 36”. There are also technological advancements like smart showerheads. These small changes can end up affecting the budget more or less than the cosmetic updates that will go along with the remodel as well.
While you may be tempted to jump right into cosmetic work, maintaining a comfortable, efficient home should also be at the top of your list. When it comes to windows, there are people who are for replacing, and people who stand by repairing. Just because your older windows are experiencing some trouble today does not mean they cannot be made to function properly tomorrow. The natural wood that was originally used decades ago certainly is better quality than wood used today, and if you can find a talented carpenter or handyman, they might be able to restore your old windows and make them just as effective and efficient as modern windows. If you would rather replace them, note that a full replacement might not be necessary. Contractors have the ability to install a window insert; these are smaller units that fit inside of the existing opening and save having to remove existing trim.
Other low-budget updates
If you do not have the time or financial resources to start on the bigger renovation projects, start with the smaller updates instead. Replacing the hardware in your kitchen and bathrooms will instantly give it a more modern look without breaking the bank. Also, never underestimate the potential of paint when renovating older homes. New curtains, blinds, rugs, and accent furniture can completely transform a home, too.
If you've just moved in to a new home or a home you plan to renovate, be sure to have your HVAC and plumbing systems inspected. Check out our New Home Checklist or schedule an appointment with our easy Online Scheduling or by calling 812-339-9114.