Top Tips for Restoring and Old Villa

Home renovations have their share of difficulty with most people steering away when they hear about buying an old villa needing restoring. However, restoring an old home need not be a stress filled nightmare or an expensive operation if you follow these tips. 

  1. Get the right team together

The first person to consult about the restoration of an old villa is a home inspector. He will be able to check out the structural support, mechanical systems and any problems with the roof. This inspection will also be able to find any problems caused by water damage and will detect mold growth in the basement.

Once any issues have been identified you will need to consult with the contractor in order to identify which are to be prioritized, what the cost will be, and any alternate solutions. 

Choose a contractor with experience in restorations, making sure that he understands which elements will be preserved and which will be completely replaced. 

Coordinate the team that will be responsible for the restoration; time is money and some things have to be in place before the next stage is undertaken. They should all know at which stage they will be coming into the process, so that it can flow smoothly. 

  1. Decide what you are willing to live with

Older homes were not built with energy efficiency in mind, so they may have wooden window frames that tend to let in the cold in winter, or floors that creak and are uneven. As the homeowner, you have to decide which of these elements you can live with and which you want to change. This decision may partly be affected by your budget, but may also be that you want to embrace the quirks of the home. Either way, your decision involves your commitment to the home, whether that is to spend the amount needed to restore it or to accept its various faults. 

If the house has more than one fireplace, you will have to decide if you want them all restored, or if you prefer to only do one of them. 

  1. Deal with water damage

This must be your first priority before beginning with anything else. The signs of water damage that affect the structure are usually visible on ceilings, floors and windows. Long term effects of damp are manifested as dry rot and often will b accompanied by bug infestations.

The sill plate that runs around the entire foundation of the home must also be checked for water damage. This is because all of the vertical structure supports are attached to the sill plate and water damage to it may cause it to warp, affecting the floors.  

  1. Use your budget wisely

Restorations are expensive and it is easy to overextend on the allocated budget. It may be better to buy a smaller villa to restore or to concentrate on fixing up just a few things to give the villa a facelift. Always consider the re-sale value of the property before allocating a budget to the restoration, otherwise you may end up spending more than you can ever get back. The best way to decide on how much to budget is to find out what other restored homes are selling for in the area. 

  1. Restoring an old staircase

Staircases in old villas are part of their charm and their restoration should match their style and character. Even though these staircases have their wear and tear, it is pretty rare that they cannot be restored as they rarely have structural problems. Most structural problems can be repaired and restoration should always be considered before replacement. 

  1. Prioritize by starting with the important structures

Don’t be tempted to start with the aesthetics by replacing the kitchen cabinets, painting or fixing the wooden floor. Rather begin by concentrating on the practical things that will prevent any further damage to the house. These could be fixing a leaky roof, the masonry and repairing windows that don’t seal properly making the property watertight and structurally safe first.

The best place check the masonry of the house is in the fireplace or chimney. If there is mortar missing from between the bricks the masonry is in need of some attention. 

  1. Update the home technologically

An electrical update is usually essential in keeping with the current regulations. Heating and cooling systems usually also need to be updated and can be the most expensive part of the restoration. 

These mechanical systems can be broken down into smaller units that can be split from the basement to the rest of the house.  This prevents too much damage being done to the rest of the home. 

  1. Think environmentally friendly

Using salvaged materials for the restoration will help with the budget allocations. This recycling is great for the environment and you can often pick up some beautifully crafted pieces that match the style of your home at bargain prices. However, many contractors don’t like to work with these and you may have to convince them that they won’t be liable if anything breaks or do the work yourself.

In the spirit of taking the environment into consideration, you should also not throw away materials and fixtures that can be recycled. Invite interested parties to remove them. 

Great care must be taken when restoring older homes because they may contain hazardous materials like asbestos and lead paint. The home should be tested for these and they should be dealt with by professionals before the restoration begins. 

  1. Consider government and business programs

Green home improvement can be successfully installed on old villas. Solar panels, LED lighting and home insulation systems all contribute saving money, while the money spent on these upgrades are often tax deductible. 

Some businesses run programs where discounts are offered when purchasing new appliances, while turning in older ones. 

Estimations like budgets and completion dates are often extended during the restoration process of an old villa. The budget may be easier to control if you keep a tight hold on the purse, but timelines may be more fluid. These often depend on the timely arrival of materials, the weather, and finding the right handy man for the job. Hold on to the fact that even if the estimation date is pushed forward a bit, once the home restoration is completed, you will be the proud owner of a charming villa. 

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