When it comes to renovation, you can’t approach a historic home in the same way that you would a more contemporary one, and many people are surprised to find that they are woefully unprepared once they begin the process. Renovating a historic home is not just about doing all the right things—it’s also about avoiding some common pitfalls that are associated with them. However, if you’re smart and plan ahead, you’ll find that the process is not as bad as it might seem at first, and with some luck you’ll end up with a fantastic finished product.
Things You Must Do
Before you even begin brainstorming ideas for your renovation, keep in mind that you probably won’t have complete control over the project. Most cities have specific guidelines for what you can and cannot do to important sites, and historical renovations in Hyde Park are no exception to this rule. Always check to make sure your proposed renovations fall well within the regulations set forth by your local historic preservation society.
It’s also important to do budget research before you begin your historic renovation—in some cases it’s possible to underestimate your expenses by more than half! An item-by-item calculation will provide you with the most accurate results, but often times this gets tedious and overwhelming. Thankfully, it’s not hard to find general costs for renovation projects similar to yours. You always want to budget a little more money than you actually need, though, since pries can (and do) change over time.
Things to Avoid
Many people are under the impression that houses made in the past are sturdier than houses made today, and while that’s somewhat true, you need to avoid overestimating how much your home has held up over time. For example, even if your home’s foundation was rock-solid when it was constructed, that doesn’t mean 75+ years’ worth of wear and tear won’t have any negative effects on its integrity.
Also, don’t avoid addressing potentially dangerous issues like the presence of lead, which was used in paint and to solder pipes until the 1980s. Special precautions must be taken to avoid contamination, so don’t assume that it will be an easy (or inexpensive) fix.