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Last edited 02 May 2019
Renovating an old house
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Home renovation projects are not as easy as they make the look on TV, especially in an old house. If you’re considering renovating your period home, it can be overwhelming, and the budget can be large.
You will first need to plan everything out and come up with an optimal design and determine the budget for your project. Inform yourself about the current prices and even call in a contractor to estimate how much money you’ll need to set aside. Once you get the estimated price, increase it by around 10-30 % (for unplanned expenses) and that will be your budget. Next, make sure you organise all the contractors to avoid downtime as much as possible. Discuss your design with an architect and engineer to see if it is realistic and whether it will comply with regulations. It is likely that the original design will need to be altered, so be ready to make some compromises.
 Structural inspection and repairs
Inspect (or arrange inspection by suitably qualified professionals) the structure of your home. This includes the foundation, roof, walls, windows, doors, and so on. No matter how sturdy your roof is, chances are that it will need some work. Does the structure have any cracks or weak spots that require attention. You can even choose to add an additional layer of insulation to make your home more energy efficient. You may wish to replace your outdated windows with newer eco-friendly alternatives to boost your home’s energy efficiency. Finally, inspect the foundation and see if it requires any repairs.
 Check the grid
Power and water should be your next concern. Other than all the damage, a faulty water grid can cause – such as leaky pipes that can cause serious structural damage to your foundation and walls or promote mould and mildew growth – old pipes can even contain lead which can be detrimental to your health. When it comes to the gas or electrical distribution, you need to call in the experts to assess its condition and make any alterations necessary
 Restore old features
The beauty of old homes lies in their intrinsic charm, and you may wish to restore their original features. In some instances, these features can be so old and in such poor condition that it may be necessary to find convincing replicas.
Even if there is a room where no works were done, you should redecorate it as well. Since wallpapers were extremely popular in the olden days, you can even find some that appeal to your aesthetic and implement them instead of paint. However, make sure you first test your old paint for lead and if you find any, remove it before you apply the new one.
For more information see: Renovation
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Alterations to existing buildings.
- Avoiding planning permission pitfalls.
- Basements in buildings.
- Bidding for renovation works.
- Building an extension.
- Building regulations.
- Conservation of the historic environment.
- Façade retention.
- How to build a garage.
- How to build a porch.
- International Existing Building Code (IEBC).
- Licence to alter.
- Loft conversion.
- Making good.
- Permitted development.
- Planning permission.
- Remedial works.
- Renovation v refurbishment v retrofit.
- Self-build home: project plan.
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