The Art of Building Restoration: 6 Tips to Consider When Restoring An Old Home

If you’ve ever visited a historical site like Rome, Italy or Williamsburg, VA, you’ve seen some beautiful, old, historic buildings. Without the help and intervention of building restoration specialists, these landmarks wouldn’t be around today. Aside from well known historic locations, there are plenty of old buildings around the world that hold a part of history. This guide will discuss the basics of building restoration and some tips to follow if you are planning to restore a historic home of your own.

What is building restoration?

Building restoration is more than just returning a historic property back to its original glory, it’s a philosophy for architects, historians, and especially for building restoration specialists. It’s even referred to as “the art of restoration.” While someone who purchases a historic home with the intention to restore it may not be living by a philosophy it’s definitely a form of art and a labor of love for those involved.

Building restoration is more than just painting some walls and making an old home liveable, there are certain rules and regulations that constitute restoration. To make restoration more clear, it helps to first understand the different types of treatment for old buildings.

Preservation: Preservation when it comes to buildings, is the act of retaining the history through conservation, maintenance, and repair. To preserve a building, builders only do work when it’s essential to prevent deterioration.

Rehabilitation and restoration are both a subset of preservation. They individually account for the requirements and needs of the building in question.

Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation is considered when a building is so deteriorated that repair is completely essential to save it from being lost. It’s more of a rescue mission to help keep the building standing.

Restoration: While both rehabilitation and restoration are aiming to save the history of a property, restoration is more focused on bringing a building back to what it was at a specific point in time. Anything that may have been added to the building after the intended time period is removed.

Why is building restoration important?

Building Restoration has become a form of artistic expression for many, especially for building restoration specialists who have devoted their work to it. Art is so important in many forms and restoring historic buildings is definitely one of them. In fact, research has found that 50 minutes of art therapy can significantly improve mood and anxiety. Imagine how time spent restoring a historic building could benefit the artist, or building restoration specialists, involved.

Beyond trying to restore and keep the history of a historic property alive, building restoration has many benefits.

Building Restoration Adds Value To A Building

Building restoration usually comes about when an older building is starting to deteriorate. Restoring a historic building not only adds value by helping to retain the history of the place, but it also allows the property to be habitable again. Even if the project is just to focus on roof restoration of a home that has a notable roof design, a smaller scale restoration project like this can greatly bring up the home’s value.

Many building restoration specialists are hired to restore buildings so they can continue to serve as a place for people to learn about past history. Whether the building is being restored to act as a tourist stop or to become a family home, choosing to restore a historic building adds great value to the place.

Building Restoration Is A Sustainable Choice

Sustainability is all about recycling and reusing things to avoid depletion of natural resources. Building restoration is a sustainable choice on a huge level. Often when people see an old, dilapidated building, their first thought is to know it down to make room for a new, modern building. While building restoration specialists often have to spend time trashing parts of a historic home that are unusable, they often find so much that is still reusable and if not used on that specific project, can be donated to another. Choosing to restore an old building or home not only restores a piece of history, it’s also a much better choice for the environment.

Building Restoration Can Help Preserve The Cultural Significance Of A Site

One of the most important reasons building restoration specialists take on new projects is to preserve the cultural significance of a site. Certain sites hold valuable and sometimes even religious meaning that if they were to be destroyed beyond repair would be a huge loss. For the United States, locations like historical Williamsburg, where old buildings have been restored and made to look as they might have in their time of building, have a lot of meaning. Another example is the archeological ruins found all across South America that teach history, culture, and religion. Without building restoration specialists working with archaeologists to maintain and restore these places, the world would be losing out on important cultural learning.

6 Tips To Consider When You’re Restoring An Old Home

You may often connect building restoration with historical landmarks or big scale architectural projects, and for most building restoration specialists, these are the most exciting projects. But building restoration is becoming more and more popular outside of groups of building restoration specialists. Many people are choosing to purchase older homes so they can restore them to their former glory, both for personal reasons and for reselling reasons. If you are considering a historic home restoration, here are six tips you should consider during the process.

  1. Do Your Research Before You Start: It’s exciting to think about how an old home will look once the restoration process is complete. This excitement can lead you to jump into a project before you have really thought out all of the steps you need to take. From an outside perspective, house restoration may look like picking paint swatches and refinishing flooring, but it’s much more than that. Before you purchase an old home to restore or start a project, make sure you have done a good amount of research. You may even want to talk with a building restoration specialist to get some ideas of what to expect. You could even talk to local professionals, like a local painter about pricing to get information for your budget. There is a lot to consider when working with an old home. Especially if you are specifically trying to keep the home within a certain time period, you’ll need to research architectural trends for that time, colors, styles, etc. You’ll also want to have a good amount of knowledge so you’ll be prepared for the choices you’ll have to make. While most projects will have a few hiccups or surprises, the better prepared you are, the smoother it will go.
  2. Start Small: If you’ve decided to restore a house, you may have your eye on a big grand building. But if it’s your first experience with restoring a home, don’t let your eyes be bigger than your… well… brain! Small homes can have just as much charm and will be much easier on your wallet. Smaller homes require less time for labor, fewer materials, and more money overall. With a smaller home, you may also be able to do more work for yourself. For example, with a smaller home, you may be able to do your own painting, but with a larger home, you’ll have to hire a team of residential painters. These are all things you will consider as well while you’re in the research phase. If you have the money and resources to invest in a large home, go for it. But for most beginners, the safest and easiest choice is to start small.
  3. Assemble Your Team Of Professionals Not all professionals are trained in or have the correct knowledge when it comes to restoring an old or historic home. Take the time to meet with builders before you make the final decision to hire them. Whether it’s a team of custom home builders or even carpenters who specialize in custom kitchen cabinetry, you’ll want to take the time to make sure your views and budget lines up. You may even consider contracting a building restoration specialist to communicate with about certain problems you come across during the process. Working with the right team of professionals will make all the difference in the home restoration process.
  4. Prioritize The Most Important Things First: When starting the home restoration process, it can be easy to want to start with the more exciting projects, like refinishing the floors, swatching for paint, or something that will have a bigger impact on the aesthetics. Before you get into the looks, you need to consider some of the more important and vital projects, such as roofing and electrical work. A restored living room won’t be worth it if you have a leaky roof that can damage the newly restored flooring. Similarly, a new kitchen won’t function if your electricity isn’t working even with the fanciest custom kitchen cabinetry Take some time to make sure the basics are fixed before you get to the aesthetics.
  5. The Exterior Is Just As Important As The Interior: You may be focused on all of the fun of restoring the interior of your home, but don’t forget about the exterior. Especially if you are planning on reselling the home, curb appeal is hugely important. Even small details like custom iron gates in front of the driveway could be the key to adding a large amount to the value of your home. As the exterior is exposed to the elements, there may be bigger or more expensive projects to make the home safe and habitable. A home that has been left abandoned for a while can become overgrown which poses an issue for access and could even damage the foundation of the home. Working with a professional to deal with landscaping design will have a big impact on the exterior of your home. A great time to talk with a building restoration specialist is while you’re working on the exterior of your home. They can give you tips and valuable information on resources you have to find materials for restoring the house siding, roof, and more.
  6. Know Where To Integrate More Modern Technology: While the number one thing on your mind is likely what you can do to keep your building historic, the key to a successful restoration is knowing when to integrate modern technology. This could easily be one of the most expensive parts of the restoration, but there are quite a few benefits to modern technology. Systems that used to be clunky and take up a lot of space are now sleeker and can fit in smaller spaces. Talk with your local electrical contractor about the different options you have for heating, air, and electricity. A building restoration specialist likely has experience with this kind of issue and can be a great asset to communicate with as well. These new options will allow you to avoid cutting out details that made you fall in love with the house in the first place. In Conclusion Building restoration is an important way to preserve history and culture across the world. If you are considering an old home restoration of your own, know that you are taking part in that preservation. Building restoration is a truly beautiful form of art. Thanks to this art, we have many beautiful landmarks around the world that would be long gone otherwise.

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