Old House Renovations: Where to Start & How to Stay Positive

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Don’t let HGTV renovation shows fool you. Renovating a fixer-upper takes a lot of time, money, experience, and perhaps most of all, patience. Whether you’re living in a house that needs some serious updates or you bought a gut job from the get-go, you may find yourself burning out before the job even gets started. No matter where you are in the renovation process, don’t let the size of the job get to your head.

How to Get Started: Put the Sledgehammer Down

It might feel really good to start tearing down ugly walls, but demolishing anything before you have a concrete plan in place is likely to cause a panic after the dust settles. Those renovation shows do make it all look easy, but one thing they always show you is that before they start tearing down, they have a concrete design, budget, and schedule in place. Understanding the full scope of what needs to be done to renovate your new-old home will also help you stretch out your budget and focus on keeping your home structurally sound. Consult with an expert design team to work out the details. If you’re planning on doing the majority of the renovations yourself, make sure that you’re confident in your abilities and remember to measure everything over and over again.

Don’t Ignore what’s Behind the Walls

We commend anyone who takes on a project like this because when it comes to old houses, there’s always something scary hiding behind the walls that’s bound to cost an arm and a leg to fix. Many mid-century houses were built using what are now considered hazardous materials, such as asbestos insulation, lead piping, and solid aluminum wiring. Don’t ignore the possible health and safety problems of these outdated materials. Either you spend the money to properly replace the building materials before the renovations are complete, or you wait until disaster strikes. We’re not trying to scare you, but we can’t overstate the importance of safety. If you’re considering buying an older home, make sure you find out right away what’s hidden behind your walls.

Consider Holding onto Design Elements

You’ll notice from the first day of demolition that your money doesn’t go as far as you thought. Delays, unexpected road blocks, or even full-blown accidents can cost you precious time and money. Money-saving plans will start to come in real handy when you need to dip into your budget. One easy way to save money is to actually keep or upcycle some of the old house’s building materials. Don’t forget that some styles have already come back into fashion and that a fresh coat of paint can completely transform a bannister, wall, or cupboard. Timeless materials like wood can be re-sanded and re-varnished to look completely new again.

Don’t Bite Off More than You Can Chew

We think it’s a great idea to take on some of the renovation work. However, expecting to handle the entire project on your own is a little unrealistic. Unless you’re a contractor, your honourable intentions and positive attitude might start to wear a little thin when you come across unexpected problems. And believe us, old houses are full of surprises. Save yourself from certain heartache and burnout by working with a trusted design team and contractor. Cuisines Nuenza has years of experience in designing and renovating homes all over Montreal. Take a look at our list of services or come and see our showroom today.