Living in old homes with a history can be an exciting experience, but it also means you have to deal with dated craftsmanship and interiors and possibly spend on renovations occasionally. More than 10 million Americans live in a house that was built at least 3 decades ago. If you’ve been living in one yourself, or have recently purchased one to begin living in, here’s what you can do to make it more livable.
- Learn the history of the building
There’s a rich 450-year-old history of homeownership in the United States. Living in your old house means you’re always surrounded by annals of the history of olden times. Embrace the history of your dwelling and make sure you preserve it from ruin. Even though – generally speaking – a house built recently is more expensive than one constructed decades ago, well-preserved homes are worth a lot of money. It’s estimated that a well-maintained historic property can sell for more than contemporary homes.
- Check for asbestos
Average American homes are 46 years old. These houses will have mold, mildew, and even asbestos. Asbestos can lead to a rare health condition called mesothelioma. If you suspect the house you’re living in has a high amount of asbestos contamination, call in the experts to have it removed. You should also speak to an asbestos attorney if you’ve been living in the house for a while. These professionals can help you secure a payout from asbestos trust funds to manage treatment in case you or a family member is diagnosed with mesothelioma.
- Repair old wiring
Electrical systems from the 20th century can be a nuisance if not repaired properly. You should get a skilled electrician to look at the old wiring so you can run modern appliances. Also, don’t attempt DIY electrical work; this work is best left in the hands of professionals.
- Restore old pipes
Many American homes today lack indoor plumbing. Statistics show that, in 1920, only 1% of homes had an electrical connection as well as indoor plumbing. So, restoring old pipes will prevent water damage and improve water flow throughout the house.
- Hire renovation specialists
If you think refurbishing an old house isn’t something you can do alone, consider calling an old home renovation specialist. These professionals know how to repair an old house without harming its vintage appearance. So, you can still make your house livable without affecting its aesthetics. Getting general contractors to do this job won’t be helpful as these people won’t know how to renovate old properties. Instead, search on Google to find old home reno experts located in your state.
- Consult other homeowners
A survey shows that one-half of American homes were constructed 50+ years ago; 1974 seems to be the median year in which they were built. This means you’re not the only one worried about restoring your ancient dwelling without ruining its vintage looks. So, contact other vintage homeowners. These homeowners can share their expertise and show you how to live in an old house. It’s easy to find historic homeowners in your vicinity. Join Facebook groups such as Our Old House to contact these homeowners or search for r/Oldhouses on Reddit to meet with these people.
- Add more insulation
Unlike older homes, modern houses are more energy-efficient. A well-insulated house uses less energy to maintain a comfortable environment, causing less heating/cooling losses. While upgrading the insulation, remove any asbestos you find, as this toxin was widely used for insulation purposes up until 1980. That’s how you can cut down your electricity bill.
- Consider the proportions
It’s important to consider the building’s exterior proportions before making any major changes inside. Any renovations that don’t complement the original design will diminish the property’s appeal and market value. For instance, adding an undersized veranda and an oversized carport will just ruin the aesthetics of a beautiful building. You must ensure whatever changes you have in mind match the style and design of the already-existing structure.
- Create more space
A 20th-century abode may not have enough space to accommodate the belongings of modern-day homeowners. The houses constructed a hundred years ago lacked storage spaces, given people’s humble lifestyle back then. You can add loft storage and crawl spaces to your home without harming its Edwardian aesthetics. Or, you should rent a self-storage unit nearby. These storage facilities will let you store your belongings securely in external places while living in your old house comfortably.
As a rule of thumb, the newer the house, the costlier it is. However, owning an old home isn’t that cheap either; you have to put some money into repairs to make the place inhabitable. This includes repairing old pipes, pipes, wiring, and insulation. Get in touch with professionals with experience in maintaining old properties to ensure your house is livable for years.