Being an owner of an old home is all fun and games until it’s time for renovations. When the time comes to consider repairs and renovations, you have two options: restore its original heritage look, or do a contemporary renovation and modernize it. Whatever you decide to do, it’s imperative to do a bit of research and see which option is better for you. If you’re in love with your heritage home and want to keep as much of its former glory as possible, here are a few maintenance tips that will help you. 


The thing about heritage homes is that they are very often protected by tricky laws and complicated regulations. This is great for keeping heritage and history alive, but it can be a nightmare for homeowners who are looking to renovate. So, when you decide to do some extensive work on your old property, it’s always a good idea to check (and double-check) to see whether you need a special permit to do that. If you do need it, you will have to apply for one before you start doing any work, and wait for the heritage committee to come over and review your renovation plan. All this is to say that they will certainly want you to keep and restore those distinctive heritage features the right way. Keep in mind that rules and regulations differ between counties and states, so it’s best to call and ask instead of assuming.


When it comes to the inside of your house, flooring is often one of the biggest issues, but it doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, a great number of old homes have sturdy hardwood floors which are the epitome of class and durability. If you have hardwood floors in your home, you will most likely only need to freshen them up a bit by sanding them and applying another player of polish. While such procedures can be costly, in the end, you will get amazing results that will make you wish you never had rugs and carpets in the first place. However, not all homes are blessed with hardwood floors. If you have vinyl flooring, it might contain asbestos, and you’ll have to call professionals to have it removed safely. 


Old bathrooms can be a nightmare to keep clean simply because we are used to more modern fixtures. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter how much you clean and dust and scrub your bathroom if you have leaky faucets or a running toilet. Any structural issues should be handled professionally and quickly because only then will you be able to focus on the details. You can clean out the grout to make your tiles appear even cleaner than before, but if the grout is just too old and grime-y, simply have it replaced (or replace it yourself if you’re a fan of DIY projects). Bathrooms in heritage homes used to have wallpapers, but you should probably remove them and paint the walls as bright as you can. Bright colors on walls will make your bathroom appear more spacious and clean. 


Sadly, for a lot of heritage homeowners, simple roof repairs won’t be enough. This is because old roofs will most likely have to be replaced due to damage. Even if you have to replace the roof, you should aim to keep the air of old times, so try to find professionals specialized in heritage roofing. Old roofs can be made of copper, zinc, and lead which are not easy to restore on your own because you will have to use the same material to replace a slate roof or heritage tiles. Not only will professionals be able to tell you the best way to fix any issues, but they will also see whether or not there are traces of asbestos. Asbestos was very popular decades ago, but it’s dangerous to remove it on your own, which is why you will need professionals to do it for you. 


While in many cases, painting the exterior of an old house will be enough to ‘freshen up’ its appearance and make it look better, with heritage homes the situation is a bit more complex. Because the streetscape is severely impacted by the color of your façade, you will have to run your color scheme by the council and see whether or not it’s fitting. You will not be able to just pick and color and paint your house – color schemes for heritage homes can be very specific. For example, you might only be allowed to use a specific color for your windows, decorative details, and doors. Don’t be discouraged, though – when you run your ideas by the council and get approved, rest assured that a simple coat of paint will make your old house look decades younger. 

Taking up a heritage project will likely be more challenging than you might have thought at first. There are many things you have to consider before you actually start with the renovation. What is more, when you finally do start, you’ll discover that it’s more hard work than you believed in the beginning, especially since you can’t DIY a lot of things like you might do in a contemporary home. Nevertheless, all these things will be forgotten once you complete your project and look at your beautiful old house. 

Guest Contributor: Ron Wolf

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