• Deck Doc

Best Practices for Renovating and Repairing Your Older Home

Updated: Mar 17, 2019


House and deck staining and painting
Older house

There’s something charming about owning an older home. When it comes to improvements

and renovations, however, older homes can present some unique challenges. Homeowners

who purchase older homes tend to have more to consider when figuring out their home

improvement plans. If you recently purchased an older home or are looking to renovate yours,

here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Major Repair Issues Should Be Addressed ASAP

If you bought an older home, there are certain projects you can put off. But when it comes to

repairs that could jeopardize the integrity of your home, you need to act quickly, and you most

likely need to consult a pro.

One of the biggest threats to older homes with wood are termite infestations. Even if you only

spot a few signs of a termite problem, the damage caused by those little insects become harder

to remedy over time. Before you begin any other projects on your home, consult a termite pro

who can inspect your home and quickly treat it before it’s too late. According to estimates

provided by HomeAdvisor, the national average for termite control is around $217- $869. That

is an extremely small price tag, especially when you consider that termite damage can cause

structural problems in your home. According to recent reports, termite damages cost property

owners nearly $5 billion each year, so you could end up with hundreds or thousands of dollars

in repair costs. To make matters more complicated, those expenses are not covered by


Renovations for Older Homes Can Be More Expensive

Whether renovations are structural or aesthetic, updating an older home can be a bit more

expensive. That’s because renovations typically mean overhauling entire rooms rather than

simply updating a few key elements. Different projects carry different costs, so consider this

when budgeting for your home improvements. For instance, even a small kitchen makeover in

an older home can run upwards of $20,000, while a completely updated bedroom can range

from $200 - $7,880, depending on the extent of changes.

Even with an older home, however, you can still find ways to trim your improvement budget.

You can cut costs by choosing less-expensive materials or leaving major elements, like your tub,

in their original locations. Whatever you choose to spend on your renovations, you should also

make sure your home is not covered by historic home provisions. Completing repairs and

improvements on a historical property, without securing the proper approvals, could not only

leave you with additional project costs, it could also leave you with legal issues and expenses

you never anticipated.

Older Homes Can Present Problems that Require Professionals

Since renovations for older and historic homes tend to be extensive, finding ways to save is

usually important. Opting for DIY projects rather than professional work can help many

homeowners trim their budget, but make sure you really are prepared for DIY responsibilities.

Factor in any time you will need to take off work, the cost of renting specialty tools, and,

perhaps most importantly, your ability to do the work correctly.

Even if you do need to hire a pro, doing some of the demo yourself can still help you save. Just

be sure to stay safe when attempting any DIY demo or repair around your home. Wear

appropriate clothing and protective gear to reduce the risk of injury. To further reduce personal

and financial risks, you should know that many older home repairs are illegal for homeowners

to DIY. So, if your home has asbestos or mold (among other problems), you are legally required

to hire a professional contractor to take care of the repair.

Updating and remodeling an older home can take some additional planning. Repairs on older

homes also often require professional assistance, in the form of contractors as well as a more

extensive permit process. As long as you’re careful and really think your projects through,

however, you can easily turn an older, outdated house into a home that anyone would be

proud to call their own, so don’t let a little complication keep you from buying or improving

your dream fixer upper.

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