Is It Worth It to Renovate an Old Home?
Publish Date
December 23, 2021
Sarah Nichols

Sarah Nichols

Is It Worth It to Renovate an Old Home?

Old homes have charm, personality, and organic history that modern architecture cannot easily replicate. These are usually the characteristics that an old home renovation project seeks to highlight — and for good reason. Not only is it deeply satisfying to preserve historical elements while incorporating modern aesthetics, but a well-done renovation can increase the resale value of an old home. 

Remodeling contractors understand the desire you have to restore your historic abode to its former glory. However, home remodeling in Dallas, Texas, presents its own unique challenges, such as a lack of specialized labor, extensive costs, DIY traps, and safety concerns. These factors can make renovating your old home more complex than the average, run-of-the-mill home renovation. So, is renovating an old home really worth the investment? The answer is, it depends. Hestia Construction & Design has put together this guide to help you determine if renovating an old home is right for you. 

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Safety Concerns for Old Home Renovation

When it comes to renovating an old home, the first factor you should consider is safety. Historic homes, while beautiful, can sometimes harbor numerous toxins capable of making you and your loved ones ill. Materials like asbestos and lead commonly appear in the development of homes back in the early 20th century before the institution of new safety regulations. These materials pose a significant health hazard, and hiring a professional to remove them can be costly.

Another safety concern could be the electrical system. Some old breaker boxes fail to meet current safety standards. In fact, it’s well known that breaker boxes made by Federal Pacific Electric are notoriously problematic because they don’t turn themselves off when overloaded. This can lead to overheating and house fires. While the company is now defunct, its electrical systems remain in some old homes, especially those built between 1960 and 1985. 

Another potential hazard associated with the electrical systems in old houses is knob-and-tube wiring. This type of electrical system features knobs that hold the wires in place and tubes that guide them through the floor joists. This system presents a fire hazard because the rubber insulation can break down over time, exposing the wires. The addition of insulation into some of these homes further increases the risk of a fire. 

Finally, if you have plans to renovate a bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen, be sure to check out the plumbing. Many old homes still use their original copper, cast iron, or galvanized steel plumbing systems. While these systems have a lifespan of 80 to 100 years, you may want to replace them now instead of waiting for them to start leaking. You also have to consider internal corrosion buildup. Over time, this can cause a decrease in the water pressure and lead to unsanitary, rusty water. 

Hestia employs highly skilled professionals to ensure that every wire, pipe, and fixture is safe in your home.

Costs and Extent of Old Home Renovation

It’s important to note that purchasing an old home usually costs less than buying a new or modern house. However, there’s more to consider than just the upfront cost of your vintage home. If you intend to remodel the home, make certain to factor that into your offer bid. If you’re already the owner of an old home, then remodeling may be a much more viable option since a purchase cost wouldn’t apply to your particular situation.

Even though the initial cost of an older home may be less expensive, the renovation process can be very costly, depending on the extent of your home remodeling needs. Some of the most expensive elements to renovate include the foundation, roof, plumbing system, electrical system, and HVAC system. Hestia Construction & Design can perform a thorough inspection so you receive an accurate price range. 

Once you’ve decided which renovations are the most critical, consider what cosmetic changes you want to make and how they will fit with your home’s historic details. For instance, you might want to add on a room. Expanding your home’s square footage is nice, but adding on to an old home can be difficult. You want any additions to look like part of the original design in terms of the architecture, materials, and style. To minimize the costs and preserve your home’s authentic aesthetic, you might place new additions in the back of your home.

Renovating your old home might take a long time to complete. These homes often feature unique details and unexpected elements that make a remodel more complex. The more changes you want the make, the more drawn-out the process will be. This usually means you’ll spend more money to compensate for the additional materials, time, and labor required. But don’t worry — Hestia Construction & Design is a trusted name and leading figure among remodeling contractors here in Dallas, Texas. Hestia performs renovations right the way, on time, and at a price that fits your budget.

The Trap of DIY

Some DIY projects are safe and relatively simple if you know what you’re doing, such as installing shelves or applying wallpaper. However, unless you’re a professional contractor or extremely skilled at renovations, turning your home remodel into a DIY project isn’t ideal. This is especially true if you want to make complex changes. Online video tutorials often leave viewers with unrealistic expectations of what is achievable for a do-it-yourself home renovation. Not only can these DIY traps be unsafe, but they can lead to significant damage. You also risk injury and financial losses.

While you may very well learn a few techniques, any mistakes you make might actually cost you more than if you had simply hired a remodeling contractor from the start. If you’re trying to perform a complex task, like tearing down a wall, then hiring a remodeling company like Hestia is your best option. This is even more true when dealing with the quirks and fragile elements of an old home. The components you can change easily in a new home become much more challenging when dealing with a home that’s historic.

Some DIY remodeling projects can take longer than a professional job, and the result might not be as pristine, either. The desire to bypass a professional contracting company for a task is understandable, especially if it seems like nothing but a simple cosmetic alteration. For instance, changing a bathroom sink faucet is an easy DIY project in a new home. But in an older home, the cutouts for the faucet and knobs are generally going to have a different shape and dimension than contemporary faucet assemblies. These require custom orders and salvaged vintage pieces that aren’t in production anymore.

Painting is another common DIY job that homeowners try to perform. However, for an old house, exercise extra caution. Because of the harmful materials often found in old paint jobs, removing or stripping the paint may present a health hazard. Cosmetic improvements that don’t impact any important systems or cause safety concerns are usually OK. However, if you have to remove, strip, or replace an important component, it’s best to let a professional handle it with the care and professionalism that your old home deserves.

Learn the Home’s History

Learning about the history of your old home can help you avoid mistakes and stay ahead of costly fixes. Researching your home’s past is important because you can use the information to make more informed aesthetic decisions. For example, it’s good to know if your home is on riparian land or covered waterways. You can aid in the renovation process by conducting your own research beforehand. 

Review old maps from your city’s historical society, or access these maps online through the U.S. Geological Survey. You might also review real estate listings to make meaningful comparisons with vintage houses that are similar to your own. The more details you uncover, the better equipped you will be to determine what materials will work best with the setting and climate of your home. Elements like the molding shape, historical precedents, and proportions should also have proper care for in an old home. Hestia can help you identify these features and protect the integrity of your home.

Why Are You Renovating, and Is It Worth It?

The reason you want to remodel your old home factors into whether it’s a good idea to do so or not. If you’re remodeling for better resale value, more comfort, or to fix outdated components, then starting a home remodeling project is worth it. In fact, renovating an old home can be worth it, even if you don’t experience a high return on investment financially. The enjoyment you may receive from living in an old home that’s restored is invaluable.If you’re ready to explore your options, consult Hestia so they can help you determine how the remodel might affect the value of your home. Hestia Construction & Design can provide you with a reasonable price estimate so you can determine if the cost makes sense for what you want to accomplish.

Is It Worth It to Renovate an Old Home? — Dallas, Texas

Client Testimonials

“Really happy with all the work done. Kitchen looks wonderful great project manager in Will, kept me informed all the way through and dealt with any issue that I had.
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