Restoring an Old House in 6 Simple Steps

Restoring an old house is by no means an easy task. You have to consider the design, assess the situation, decide on the suitable construction method and find period-specific materials, all without burning a hole in your pocket. Fortunately, there’s a specific order in which things need to be accomplished and unless you want to become just another restoration horror story, make sure to go over the following six steps.

Assess the condition

The first thing you need to do before starting any restoration work is to perform a detailed assessment of the house. A chartered surveyor can provide you with an in-depth building report specifying all of the most urgent repairs or recommend a specialist needed to handle issues such as damp, infestations or subsidence. A report will also specify the type of construction, which will determine the materials and techniques you’ll be using. Any major extension and remodeling work require a measured survey of the house which you will later use to decide the suitable design and plan of action.

Get the necessary permits

The majority of renovation work cannot be done without the appropriate planning permissions and some old houses might also require a listed building consent. Listed status is generally given to buildings in order to mark their architectural and historical interest and protect them from any inappropriate alterations that might result in damage to the property. Once you have all the necessary permissions, it’s time to figure out the design and layout a plan that will detail all the work that needs to be accomplished.

Complete the major work first

When it comes to renovating old houses, there’s a specific order in which individual tasks need to be finished. Large projects, such as fixing the foundation and resolving structural issues, installing or replacing the siding, doors, and windows and repairing the roof need to be finished first. Doing this allows you to finish your renovation work without having to worry about the house collapsing on your head. Start with repairing the foundation and securing the carrying beams and weakened walls. Proceed to repair the roof, restoring the siding and finally, replace any damaged windows.


Once the house is structurally sound, it’s time to start the demolition work and strip the house of all the parts that will later be replaced. Renting a container for all the waste is advisable, but you can also use skips to remove it or hire a contractor specialized in waste removal. Any material you plan on reusing needs to be carefully removed and stored somewhere safe so it doesn’t get damaged during demolition. Reusing and repurposing materials is not only an efficient and eco-friendly but will also save you a lot of money you would normally waste on buying brand new materials.

Bathrooms and kitchen

Two of the most common mistakes inexperienced flippers and renovators make are using materials that don’t match the overall aesthetics of the house and spending too much money on new appliances and equipment. This means finding period appropriate baths, tiles, showers heads and pedestal sinks for the bathrooms and countertops and cabinetry for the kitchen. Again, you can use repurposed materials to cut down the costs and appeal to eco-friendly buyers.

Backyard and plumbing

A good-looking and well-maintained backyard is often the main selling point of a property. But before you waste any time and resources on landscaping, you need to make sure that the plumbing systems aren’t clogged or damaged. Normally, this involves digging them out and completely ruining the backyard. However, there are companies that specialize in “no dig” solutions for pipe relining in Sydney and considering the amount of work involved in excavating large amounts dirt, hiring a professional service might be your best option.

As you can see, proper assessment and planning ahead will ensure that you remain on track and don’t waste your entire budget. There is an order to things and any restoration job can be made simple as long as you stick to it. Just have in mind that there’s a limit to things you can do yourself and some tasks will most certainly require professional assistance.     


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