Fixing up an old house can be an amazingly fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be frustrating as you attempt to maintain the look and spirit of the house while making it safe and livable. Depending on the age of the house, you may encounter all sorts of things from gaslight hook-ups to knob and tube electricity. Deciding what you keep and get rid of will also be impacted by where the house is located and how much you want to spend on long-term expenses like energy costs.
Here are a few ideas on what to keep and what to get rid of when fixing up an old house.
1. Electric and Plumbing
When it comes to electrical and plumbing, you want to update everything. You can keep original fixtures to keep the old aesthetic of the house, but the wiring and plumbing need to be completely updated to ensure it is safe and up-to-code. There were a lot of electrical practices that used to be standard but are no longer because they were found to cause house fires. Clearly, the house you are fixing up didn’t burn down, but that doesn’t mean it can never happen if you are keeping old wiring, knob and tube wiring, or wiring that was clearly done by a non-professional. Looking at the plumbing, the older the pipes are, the more likely they are to corrode, break down, and leak. Leaking pipes cause water damage, mold, and a weakening of the overall structure. All of the pipes should be updated. What you can keep is all of the plumbing knobs and fixtures that you like, the light fixtures that still work, and even things like the sinks and bathtubs.
Depending on the age of your home, you may have wood siding or metal siding. While each of these siding materials was used for many years and are still used in some areas, they have high long-term maintenance costs. Metal siding will need to be repainted every few years, and damaged siding will need to be replaced. Wood siding also needs to be stained and sealed every few years. If the house has wood siding that was not properly cared for, you may already be dealing with water damage or bug damage. Wood siding can attract termites and carpenter ants. The benefits of vinyl siding are that it requires low maintenance and is highly durable. Vinyl siding installation is fast and simple, so vinyl siding can be installed over the course of a couple of days depending on the size of the house.
3. Windows and Doors
Windows and doors will directly impact your heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer. Old windows and doors are not energy efficient and lead to a massive loss of temperature within the house. If you live in an area that has mild temperatures year-round, you can get away with keeping the original windows and doors, or if you are willing to take on the high utility costs. You can replace the windows with new windows designed to look older, or you can keep the old windows and use them for a statement piece of rustic outbuilding.
To repair older appliances, you will need to find companies that can do it because it is a specialized service. However, if you can get them repaired, they are definitely worth keeping. Companies like Oregon Appliance Repair specialize in Thermador repair and can take on a variety of projects. Keeping functioning old appliances, whether it be a refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, or cooktop will greatly add to the overall aesthetic of the home.