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6 Things to Consider Before You Remodel

6 Things to Consider Before You Remodel

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January 19, 2011

When you are ready to remodel an older home, what should you keep and what should you change? Some of those old sections of your home might show superb craftsmanship that should be restored, not replaced. Here are some ideas as to what to keep and what to toss.

Remodel or Restore?

If in doubt, look at both the craftsmanship and detail of the older areas of your home, as well as the inherent charm factor. Here are a few places that deserve your attention:

  • Staircases are a focal point of your home. Older staircases with excellent craftsmanship, such as hand-turned posts or individually cut treads and risers, can make a statement of beauty. If you can preserve your staircases, go to the effort of restoration rather than replacement.
  • Moldings, baseboards, and even casings around old windows were once important design elements. Many modern homes have gotten away from the beauty of intricate moldings, so if you have them in your home, hang onto them. Stripping moldings of paint and using a stain can give them new life. Painting your moldings a contrasting color can make them "pop" away from the walls and add visual appeal.
  • If you are fortunate enough to have plaster walls or ceilings in your old house, keep them intact if you can. Plaster is durable and strong, offers great soundproofing, and has a character that is impossible to find with modern drywall. Consult a professional contractor on restoration of your plaster walls and ceilings.
  • Hardwood floors are a common staple among older homes. Even the most beaten-up hardwood floor can be restored to a beautiful finish with enough time and effort. If you absolutely must replace some of the wood in your home, look for reclaimed wood or wood that comes close to matching the old.
  • Though replacement windows are a good idea for energy efficiency, if your home is very old and has original windows, it might be worth looking into options for keeping them in place. Weatherstripping and careful sealing can make even single-pane windows more sturdy and cut down on drafts.
  • Examine the doors of your home to determine what you can do to them other than replacement. If your home has original doors, it might be worth the time and elbow grease to restore them to an original stain. Strip away the paint that has covered the door for years, look at what you have, and decide if you can work with it to keep it or if you really need a new exterior look.

About the author: Shannon Dauphin is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. Her current home was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her necessary hobbies.

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