Renovating an Old House: Where to Start

You may not want to tear down an old house – it may be a charming or structure that you want to preserve or you may have a sentimental attachment to it due to past memories. In many cases it makes economical sense to preserve the old structure which may be sound enough to withstand renovations.

These are just a few of the many possible reasons for wanting to preserve and renovate an old house vis a vis tearing it down and rebuilding it from scratch. So it you’re looking to renovate an old house, here is where you can begin:

What is to be the extent of the renovation?

When deciding what you want to alter and what you want to keep, keep in mind the reasons for retaining this old house. You want to renovate and modernized an old structure, but you should take care to retain the old personality and character of the house. If the house conforms to any particular style, retain that style to the extent possible.


Typically some of the main problems with old houses are the wiring and the plumbing. Both may be outdated and inefficient. So consider rewiring and re plumbing the house and also consider whether you want to install more than one bathroom. It was common for older houses to have three or more bedrooms but only one bathroom, and none of them en suite. Even if you plan to oversee and do some of the renovation yourself, take the opinion of a professional who will tell you how far you can go with the renovation without compromising the structural integrity of the edifice.

When you work out a budget allocate an extra 5 to 10% for unforeseen problems, which may be encountered after the work actually begins.

Don’t do a band aid job

Select good quality materials to renovate with. Also ensure that the renovation is done properly without taking and short cuts. This will be in your own interests – so you can enjoy your renovated house for longer without any problems.

Examine all of the different aspects of the home now that you’re renovating. Aspects such as insulation, double glazing, ventilation, ducting, etc are best examined now so that these can be updated along with the rest of the home renovations. Before you actually start on the renovation, have a plan in place to show what you plan to do, the time frame you have in mind and the budget that you’re thinking of.