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Where To Start When Remodeling An Older Home
Publish Date
January 25, 2022
Jesse Coody

Jesse Coody

Jesse Coody is a native Houstonian who installed his first roof at age thirteen. Ever since, he’s had a passion for construction. He holds over 20 years of project management and sales experience in residential and commercial construction. He graduated from SFA in 1998 with a degree in business, then he went on to manage and facilitate large-scale commercial projects, working on high profile projects, such as Alief High School, ABC Pest Control, and Goodwill. From there, he transitioned back to the Residential sector, preferring the client interaction and the project personality involved. He’s great at building relationships and solving problems. Jesse joined Hestia as a Renovation Specialist in 2017. Jesse loves to be outdoors and spends his free time fishing, camping, hunting, or at the beach. He also enjoys reading and being with his family and friends.

Where To Start When Remodeling An Older Home

Home remodeling can be a large undertaking, especially if you’re considering renovating an older home. Older homes are prevalent in the central Austin area and, as a result, the renovations can be more complex than some of the more recently build suburban homes. Even though reviving an old Austin home can be exciting, weighing the pros and cons and knowing where to start can help you avoid setbacks as you begin your project. Consulting with professionals specializing in home remodeling in Austin, Texas, can help you get all the information you need to do your renovation right.

What To Consider Before Remodeling an Older Home

It’s tough to tell how extensive your renovation needs to be for an older home. While some houses require a ton of work to update, other old homes may already have several updated features or less wear and tear. No matter the condition of the property, it’s imperative that you look into several things before diving into your project.

The History

One of the first things to consider when shopping for an older home is its history. Research the homes you’re looking at and learn more about the history of each house. Look for records of major repairs or earlier renovations, like foundation repairs, additions, and updates to the electrical and plumbing systems. In addition to repairs and renovations, it is important to consider whether the home is located on one of the many flood plains in the Austin area. Hyde Park, South Lamar, and Brentwood are well-known flood plains in popular housing areas of the city. This type of information can help you make a more informed decision when purchasing your old home and help you avoid any pitfalls during your renovation. It can also help determine what kind of renovations you may need to do yourself. 


While small renovation projects can be simple to do yourself, hiring professionals for large-scale remodeling is an important consideration. It’s one thing to touch up the interior paint yourself, but if you’re planning to have extensive repairs and design changes, you’ll benefit from professional home remodeling in Austin, Texas. You can discuss your renovation project with a licensed older home remodeling professional to make sure the work is done right. Many times, older homes hide issues that you would not find without the help of a professional. It is especially important to look for a professional to assist with your remodeling project when you own an older home.

Design Plans

Going all-in on a renovation without a clear plan for the design, materials, and outcomes you’re looking for can have an impact on the success of an older home remodeling project. Discuss your renovation goals with the professionals, and be sure you finalize everything going into your project. Having a clear picture of the design plans will help ensure that the older home remodeler you work with can give you exactly what you want. Some professional remodeling companies will even employ interior designers to make sure your vision or ideas are executed perfectly.


Another consideration is the budget. Setting a budget for your renovation is crucial for keeping the project moving on time and at costs you can afford. Many homeowners factor both the purchase price and total estimated costs of remodeling old homes into their budgets to make sure projects achieve their desired results, and they are getting a good return on investment. If you’re looking for a professional for your home remodeling project, be sure they provide a budget for fees, labor costs, and materials so you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Pros and Cons of Remodeling Old Homes


Purchasing and remodeling older homes comes with several advantages and drawbacks that you’ll want to consider.

Lower Costs

Older homes often cost less than newer properties. Many old homes lack modern updates in design, fixtures, and sometimes structural features and can often be less desirable in more developed real estate markets. These factors can cause prices to drop, giving you plenty of opportunities to find the perfect location to accomplish your older home remodeling project. Meanwhile, newer homes often have a higher assessment value, resulting in higher purchase prices and property taxes. With an older home, you’re likely to have lower property taxes in addition to a lower purchase price.

Unique Features

Older homes also tend to have unique features and fixtures that modern homes don’t have. Antique fixtures like stair banisters, ceiling medallions, light fixtures, and woodwork are several common features many old home remodelers look for. They provide character and a unique design aesthetic that many homeowners enjoy. Newer homes have modern fixtures, interior design elements, and structural features that don’t have the same aesthetic qualities that many old houses have. When remodeling an older home, working with unique features can be an advantage for keeping the home’s character and adding unique touches to further increase the equity of your property.

Long-lasting Structure

Many modern houses use inexpensive, builder-grade materials in their construction, which can mean faster wear and tear to certain features and fixtures over a shorter time. Vinyl flooring, Formica cabinetry, and other low-cost building options often don’t have the ability to last as long as the materials used in older construction. Many homebuilders in the past used materials like hardwood cabinetry, solid wood flooring, and other high-quality, long-lasting materials. While newer homes are still structurally sound, your older home may come with some sturdy features that can stand the test of time.

Renovation Costs

One disadvantage to older homes is the renovation cost, especially if the home needs extensive work. While some homes were made with materials that stand the test of time, others have fallen victim to flowing and termites. Unseen damage can make renovation costs skyrocket. However, a professional home remodeler can often help you evaluate the total costs and decide whether a home is worth the flip. A reliable home remodeling professional will provide you with a comprehensive quote. 


Many older homes have outdated electrical wiring, plumbing, and fixtures. Electrical systems and old plumbing often require updates to bring these systems up to code. If fixtures like doors and windows are in disrepair, you’ll likely need to update or refurbish these fixtures as well. With added work and updates, the costs of labor and materials for your home remodeling project can jump higher than anticipated. Anything that needs to be brought up to code will also need to be inspected by the city and approved, which can also add quite a bit of time to a project.


The length of time it takes to complete a renovation can also be a drawback. If you have unanticipated updates or repairs, the additional work can set your schedule back. This may not always be an issue for some homeowners, but if you’re on a strict deadline for completing your home remodel, extending beyond your planned schedule may be something to think about. If anything is true in these current times, it is that delays are going to happen. Material and labor shortages cause issues with project duration and can extend project times dramatically. The pandemic has resulted in long delays for material and labor shortages as workers are unable to come to work. 

Where To Start When Remodeling an Older Home

When starting a home remodeling project, you’ll want to look at a few crucial areas before the work begins.

Structural Features

Before any work begins, inspect the structural aspects of the home. You’ll want to inspect the roof for leaks or areas needing repair. Check the foundation to make sure it’s solid. Foundations can shift over time and have some unleveled areas, but as long as yours is structurally sound with no breaking or cracks to the structure, the foundation can be leveled as needed or even be left as is depending on the project. Wood integrity can be compromised over time with water and/or termite damage. Termites are an especially significant issue in Texas. This can result in the need for structural or frame replacement prior to work commencing. 

Electrical and Wiring

Another must-do when starting a large home renovation is checking the electrical system and wiring. Not all old wiring is a problem, but if you have knob-and-tube wiring, you’ll need to bring it up to date. Knob-and-tube wiring is an outdated method originally used in the early 20th century when electricity started becoming the norm in homes. The rubber casing on this type of wiring is susceptible to drying and cracking, exposing the bare wire underneath and increasing the risk of fire. An updated electrical system means you won’t have faulty components risking your safety.


Look for original plumbing in older houses. Galvanized steel, cast iron, and copper don’t last as long as modern plumbing materials, such as PVC. So if the home is pushing 80 to 100 years old, the original plumbing can pose a problem down the road (or may already be affecting your water pressure). Older pipes can suffer from corrosion, leading to a drop in water pressure, or they could break altogether and leak. Sometimes, older trees on the property will have roots growing into the older piping. When beginning a renovation, working with professionals to bring the plumbing and other critical components up to code ensures you get the job done right.

Interior Repairs and Updates

After assessing the structure and critical parts of your older home, take a look at the interior features to get an idea of what needs updates, repairs, and even simple touch-ups. Check any woodwork, including baseboards, doors, window frames, and floors, for rot or damage. Older windows are another top consideration for many home remodelers. Windows that are not properly maintained over the years could begin to leak into the walls and cause mold or mildew in your insulation or framing. Also, newer models of windows include energy efficient features that can help lower energy costs over the years you live in your home. Many times, updates and repairs to window sashes and panes can update older homes to meet basic energy efficiency standards. Finding out if the windows are repairable before replacing them can keep some of your home’s character and help you save on renovation costs.


The length of time it takes to complete a renovation can also be a drawback. If you have unanticipated updates or repairs, the additional work can set your schedule back. This may not always be an issue for some homeowners, but if you’re on a strict deadline for completing your home remodel, extending beyond your planned schedule may be something to think about. If anything is true in these current times, it is that delays are going to happen. Material and labor shortages cause issues with project duration and can extend project times dramatically. The pandemic has resulted in long delays for material and labor shortages as workers are unable to come to work. 

Where Can I Find Home Remodeling in Austin, Texas?

Taking on a remodeling project is a huge decision, but with Hestia Construction & Design, home remodeling is painless. Hestia specializes in full remodels for the kitchen, bathroom, living spaces, and bedrooms. Room additions and extensive full home remodeling projects are also no problem for Hestia Construction and Design. When beginning your project, the pros can help you plan, schedule, and set a budget for your project and ensure your old home keeps its character during construction. Hestia is committed to personalizing quality design, so your old home renovation turns out exactly the way you want and brings your personality to life in your older home.

Where To Start When Remodeling An Older Home — Austin, Texas

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