A well-restored period home is a marvel to look at. The work that goes into the restoration of certain structural elements can really drive the value of the home up, far outweighing the house renovation costs. And the properties themselves present a ready-made canvas for those that are new to development to learn their trade.
However, there’s a certain expectation when working on a period home. Aside from the legal implications of altering a listed property, the home must look a certain way in order to be considered a satisfactory restoration. With this in mind, we’ve provided the four steps to your own successful renovation project.
- Invest time in surveying the property
If your property is listed that means it is legally protected against unauthorised modifications. Therefore it falls down to you, in the early stages of surveying the building, to research its history and local relevance. This should be done before buying the home as any unsanctioned work carried out by a previous owner could be blamed on you if discovered.
There is a certain ‘consent procedure’ when working with a listed building that you’ll have to follow in order to restore the property. If approved, you’ll be given certain terms and conditions to follow while renovating. Ignoring these strict instructions could see you face prosecution for devaluation and damage.
Also, when arranging for a chartered surveyor to assess the property, you’ll want to opt for a building survey as opposed to a HomeBuyer’s report. While the latter can identify leaks and recommend areas of necessary repair, a building survey is tailored to period properties or buildings that are in poor condition. House survey costs differ, however, so compare the value you’ll receive with the price tag.
Over the course of a day, the surveyor will check all aspects of the property including the attic and underneath the floorboards. They will analyse the building’s structure and any potentially dangerous defects. You can request for the report to include projected costs and estimations of time for repairs if you wish.
2. Acquire the necessary parts and help
In older properties, repair is often a better route than replacement to minimise house renovation costs. However, order too few materials and you risk work being held up while you wait for the delivery of more. Most construction materials can be sold or returned should you have any surplus at the end of the project.
Equally, carefully consider the quality of the material in relation to its price. Buying cheap materials leads to a cheaper looking final product, and this could impact how much your home will sell for later down the line. Removing period windows and doors, for example, is likely to either conflict with the listing restrictions or devastate the value of the property. So you’re left with two choices: either repair (using a qualified builder), or pay more for authentic replicas.
Similarly, don’t choose a builder based on cost alone. While it may be necessary, builders that are eager to start right away or offer a quote that is considerably cheaper than their competitors are worth your suspicion. Ask for details of their previous clients to determine whether or not they are reliable and have produced the quality of work you are after.
Furthermore, you shouldn’t use materials that aren’t compatible with the original fabric of the building. Modern cement mixed with the core components of period properties can sometimes lead to cracking and trapped damp within the walls. You will have to consult with your builder beforehand to check they are able to work with all necessary materials.
3. Don’t just address the symptoms
In the midst of worries over timescales and overall costs, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just tending to the symptoms of property defects. This is particularly common when trying to prevent leaks or damp inside a wall. Property developers will fixate on preventing the moisture reach internal walls, but they may ignore the gutters or damaged roof tiles that are causing the unwanted ingress of water.
This can be avoided if you work to a certain order, making sure that you stabilise the building and prevent the further spread of damp and mould first. In general, older buildings have fundamentally different facilities to a modern building. Cutting through some of the property’s structure could hamper your development indefinitely.
Once the problems have been addressed, you are then free to start working on the features that attracted you to the property in the first place.
4. Weigh up the energy-saving methods
One of the most common mistakes that can be made with period homes is the implementation of energy-saving measures. Double glazing, for example, is costlier to install than single glazed windows – and this will restrict your budget in other areas. If you are planning on developing your property to sell and are considering a career in renovation, it might not make financial sense for you to opt for them.
Insulation is your best bet in terms of affordable, energy-saving measures for period properties. This includes:
- Hot water tank and pipe insulation
- Loft insulation
- Cavity wall insulation
However, you can also use thick underlay beneath hardwood or carpeted flooring to retain heat in your home. Underlay4u’s 12mm range is sure to add value to a period home. It is inexpensive and unobtrusive (meaning the floor doesn’t detract from the rest of the décor), but we also have a wide range of reasonably priced stock.
Underlay4u can save you a fortune in renovation costs
It isn’t the only way to keep your house warm, but applying underlay is probably the easiest method that you can do yourself. As opposed to covering your boiler or the significant house insulation cost of replacing your period windows with double glazing, thick underlay offers a developer a realistic alternative.
If you are currently refurbishing your home or scoping out your first renovation project, contact a member of our team or call us on 01772 708 433. We can talk about our solutions to your energy-saving measures, and guide you through the entire selection and installation process.