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Tips To Renovating An Old Property

Is your fixer-upper an old gem?  Turning your slice of historyinto your dream home is probably one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do!

Exciting? Yes! Daunting? Maybe a little… But worth the effort?  Definitely!

Let’s put it out there: property renovation, North London, is no job for a novice!  And often old houses need a hefty dose of TLC before they reach the dream home stage!  But,working with the professional input of a team such as Combit Constructions, specialist builders in North London, you can bring your dream to life and transform your old home into something that’s as functional as it is beautiful!

So, whether you’re buying with the intention of renovating, orrestoring a property you already own, we care about you and your project.  That’s why we’ve decided to put together our top tips for renovating an old property right here:

1. Understand What You’re Working With

First things first: you can’t plan anything until you know exactly what you’re working with!  So, hiring a building surveyor to assess your property is step #1.

Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:

  • Foundation issues
  • Cracks in plaster or brickwork
  • Dampness/plumbing issues
  • Asbestos or other hazardous building materials
  • Outdated electrical system
  • Deteriorating roof

Not all these issues are dealbreakers, but if you’re purchasing, it’s important to understand what challenges your property presents before you sign on the dotted line.

2. Issues with the Foundation

Before you get handy with paint and décor, it’s important to tackle any structural issues your home presents.

Foundation problems are common with old homes, and they must be addressed – doors that won’t latch, cracks in the interior and exterior walls and uneven floors are a few little giveaways.  The causes are many and varied: from general wear and tear due to age to soil problems or tree roots, but whatever the case, you’ll need to get specialist advice on how to rectify these issues.

3. Repairing the Roof

Roof deterioration may or may not be obvious: slipped or cracked slates, sagging rooflines, or missing or damaged thatch, and/or dampness issues in the attic or loft are a few clues that your roof could use some TLC.

Depending on the size of the job, you may be able to tackle roof repairs on your own. If the improvements to your roof are significant, you can also modify the style of your roof to a modern flat roof design. This way you can give your home a new look. Whatever you decide, it’s always wise to get advice from a professional team on the best repair strategy.

4. Electrical and Plumbing 

This is a no brainer – with all the technology we use daily, it’s almost a forgone conclusion that your old electrical system will need updating!  And it’s much easier to replace outdated electrical systems before you start working on the plaster and aesthetics of your home.  Electrical work must be done by a certified professional.

Low water pressure, leaky taps and slow drainage might be indicators that your plumbing system could use some attention.  Replacing lead piping is important – dissolved lead in drinking water can build up in your body and cause serious health concerns.

5. Don’t Ditch the Charm

The traditional charm inherent with old properties simply can’t be recreated with modern substitutes, so re-use materials and fixtures wherever possible.  

Removing plaster?  Save and re-use it – genuine old plaster is a key feature of period homes and will significantly boost the charm and value of your home.

Hardware, radiators, bricks, cabinetry… all these things are authentic and add genuine interest and beauty to your property, so salvage and reclaim wherever you can.  If you need to buy building materials, visit second-hand dealers and salvage yards to purchase original materials that will match your existing ones.

6. Show your Windows some Love (but don’t necessarily get rid of them)

Restoring windows doesn’t necessarily mean replacing them – they’ve lasted a nearly century (or more!), so they’ll last a bit longer yet!  And let’s be honest: there’s something gorgeous about that wavy, original glass that you simply can’t get in a modern replacement!

You can undertake simple window repairs/maintenance yourself – replacing broken sash cords, re-aligning locks, catches and hinges, applying tallow or beeswax to sashes to help them run smoothly.  

Your timberwork might need an overhaul too: replacing rotting wood, stripping peeling paint, and puttying cracks are all important before you can repaint the timber.  Take care when removing paint with heat guns, as the heat can damage old wood and glass.

Boost the energy efficiency of your windows by adding efficient window treatments.

7. Removing Hazardous Building Materials

This is a job for a specialist.  Asbestos and other hazardous building materials MUST be removed by qualified personnel.  Talk to your renovating team about how to replace these products.

The team at Combit Constructions, specialist home renovation North London, is here to help you restore your old home and bring your dreams to life!  With many years of experience, we understand what it takes to successfully renovate old properties, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.  

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