By Andy Meredith
If you’ve never been through the restoration or renovation process for an old home, you might be feeling pretty intimidated about the whole thing. After all, when you look at a house that’s had a hard life and has been abandoned for years, it can be difficult to even imagine what it’ll look like when you’re done. Figuring out how you’re going to get to that final product can be downright scary. It doesn’t have to be, though.
To help you break a big project like an old home renovation down into more manageable bites, here are the essential stages for any restoration or renovation.
Planning and Design
After you’ve bought the house, you’ll need to go through and list everything it needs. Then, using that list, you’ll need to come up with a plan for how you’re going to get it all done. Basically, you’re going to design the renovations you’ll do for each room in this step and create a plan for what order to do things in.
Every home is a little bit different, and so there’s no set order that works every time. I will say, though, that it’s usually best to leave the floors for last because they catch everything else you tear down and remodel in the process. Working from the top down and starting with expensive rooms like the kitchen and bathrooms will make the job easier and less stressful.
Creating the Budget
Of course, your plan won’t be finalized until you’ve figured out your budget. Whether you’re doing it all yourself or hiring contractors for everything, you’re going to need to get estimates on materials and labor for everything you need. Then you’re going to have to compare those estimates with what you can feasibly spend on the house. After that, you start making compromises and figuring out where you’re going to save and where you’re going to spend.
Once you’ve gone through this process, it’s time to get started in earnest.
Demolition – Taking Out Everything That’s Got to Go
Demolition is an important part of the process, and it’s not just about shoveling out trash and breaking up old kitchen cabinets. It’s about figuring out what stays, what goes, and what needs to be torn down. If you have a wall that you want to remove, it gets torn out in this step, not later on during construction.
The Actual Renovation Work
After you’re done with demolition, you’ll be ready to start building. You’ll likely start with structural things, like finishing the arch where you just tore out a wall. Then you’ll move on to the smaller details. Follow your plan during this phase, and it’ll go more smoothly.
The Finishing Touches
After you’ve finished with your construction and all of your major renovations, you’re going to need to come back through and clean everything up. At this point, you’ll not only sweep and mop, but you’ll also repair any scuffs in the finish on your floors and take care of any last details. If you’re under budget, you might add one or two more details at this time, too, but don’t overdo it. At this point, you’re done and you should be proud that you’ve survived your first old home renovation or restoration in style.
That’s it! Of course, each of these stages has its own challenges, and you can break each of them down into more steps and more work, but this is a good start to give you an idea of just how doable this job is. Don’t feel intimidated or overwhelmed—just start listing what you need, make a plan, get your budget in order, and start work!
Every renovation is really just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other until you’re done. So follow these steps and you’ll do great!