How to Remodel a 100 Year Old House

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The Victorian down the road sports a vivid palette of "painted lady" colors on its charming exterior. The attached price tag is equally irresistible. You're in the market for a house and love the idea of remodeling a vintage home, but the enormity of the project has held you back. Happily, you've got the skills it takes to do the job with a little help. It's time to get past those fears. If you think too long and the real estate market rebounds, that 100-year-old treasure could be out of your financial reach.

Things You'll Need

  • Permits and licenses
  • Blueprints or design plans
  • Carpentry and construction tools
  • Funding
  • Plumbing and electrical upgrades
  • Drywall
  • Paint and trim
  • Appliances and fixtures
  • Flooring
  • Gain confidence and inspiration by reading the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about the rookie who took on an old-home remodeling project with no experience--and succeeded beautifully.

  • Ask local housing authorities about the property's legal status; 100-year-old homes and others declared "national historic landmarks" are subject to different remodeling rules and regulations than structures that haven't received this designation. Search for original blueprints or draw up your own remodeling plan using your computer and CAD software.

  • Evaluate all of the rooms in the 100-year-old home. Make notes on the condition of walls, electrical, plumbing and other infrastructure. Inspect the roof and the foundation. Separate your remodeling list of projects into two: those that must be done immediately due to structural deterioration and cosmetic changes that can wait for later.

  • Apply for a home equity line of credit using the equity in the property as collateral to fund your renovation. Obtain remodeling permits/licenses from local authorities. Rent a dumpster to hold the waste you'll remove. Store furniture at a rental facility. Remove appliances (contact recycling companies or charities to donate usable appliances), cabinets and other fixtures. Rip up carpet and padding.

  • Take a sledgehammer to deteriorated drywall. Rip out old insulation and damaged lumber used to frame up non-weight-bearing walls. Attend to mold removal and other environmental hazards you find. Remove and replace electrical wiring and damaged plumbing to bring these up to code. Re-wire the electrical box.

  • Re-frame walls with termite-resistant lumber. Cover that new framework with drywall that's been manufactured to fight mold and mildew. Install tile, wood, composite or padding and carpet for flooring. Paint rooms with antimicrobial-infused paints that match the character and style of the house. Add period trim such as wainscoting, molding and other Victorian-style touches.

  • Submit your remodeling job to inspections by local officials so they sign off on all of the modifications you've made. Move on to the more cosmetic exterior projects such as siding, brick and other work as needed. Replace old doors and windows with salvaged equivalents or, at the very least, styles that reflect the age and maturity of the home.

References

  • Photo Credit victorian house image by Kurt Anderson from Fotolia.com
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