Older homes often have their own unique charms, but they can also come with their own set of unique issues. When considering home improvements, sometimes it can be challenging for homeowners to know what projects are worth doing and what is better left untouched. At the same time, how do you decide what you should take on yourself, and what you’re better off hiring help to accomplish? Here’s what you need to know when bringing older homes up to speed.
Know your limits
Before you jump into any home improvement project, it’s crucial to make an honest assessment of your skills, as well as the amount of time and energy you can devote to the undertaking. For instance, even if you can rip out every kitchen cabinet and install all new ones, if you’re piecing things together on evenings and weekends, do you want to live without your kitchen for that long? As SFGate explains, ripping out and replacing kitchen cabinets is far more complex than how it appears on your favorite DIY shows, and it’s also pretty labor-intensive.
In addition to anything that is beyond your realistic time constraints, some projects are simply off-limits to the average layperson. For instance, foundation repairs often require specialized expertise and equipment. At the same time, a foundation repair typically is a must-do, since as some experts explain, a shifting foundation can lead to more house damage, so the sooner, the better. Along those same lines, termite treatment requires a professional exterminator, and must be resolved as soon as possible or those tiny pests will destroy your home’s structure. Become familiar with what termite damage looks like, and if you see signs, hire someone to address the issue before things get worse. The price for termite mitigation varies, but the average homeowner pays $533 for treatment.
Pumped about plumbing
If your home is older, there are several plumbing issues you could be facing. For instance, lead pipes require special water filtration, galvanized pipes can cause rusty water, and polybutylene piping tends to wear out relatively quickly. Replacing pipes is a job for a professional, although installing a water filter is something you can tackle, just follow these instructions from DIY Network. Installing a new toilet on old plumbing can be challenging but is doable, but hiring a pro might save you some trouble and frustration. Replacing a faucet is a reasonable DIY for most homeowners, as well as installing a new tub and shower enclosure.
Vintage versus historic
While a home built in the 20th century has its share of issues and concerns, a house which is truly historic can be particularly complex. Just like a vintage home, in the event you invest in an historic home, you will need to decide what charms you want to live with and what you want to bring into the modern era. Curbed explains an historic home can mean more dramatic tradeoffs, and your first priorities need to be ensuring the home is watertight. Your windows, roof, and masonry also need to be sound, meaning you’ll have to decide how much is worth preserving and how much you want updated. Before you attempt any work, you’ll likely need to bring in both an inspector and contractor to ensure you’re on the right track. It can be a far more costly endeavor to update an historic home, and could very well need to be done in phases.
Older homes can be enchanting, but when it comes to fixing them up, it’s best to ensure you don’t get carried away. Know your limitations, fix crucial things first, and hire professionals when in doubt or when out of your league. Bringing an older home up to speed can be challenging, but also very rewarding when done properly.