Essential prep before renovating an old house

Rebecca Hurst

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Renovating an old house can be both rewarding and frustrating in equal measure. Doing everything you can to ensure you are fully prepared for the task that lies ahead, will put you firmly on the road to success.



1. Create a plan

Planning is the key to success when undertaking any kind of renovation project. With an old house, there may be unforeseen issues that delay elements of the project, but having a plan in place to work towards is vital.

Set up a meeting with any tradespeople you have working on the renovation. Find out how long each element of their work will take and what they need to have in place beforehand in order to start their work. Once you have this information, you can start putting together a plan and book each trade in based on these timescales. Remember the tradesmen you want may be booked up for months in advance.

Once work has started, have a large list stuck to the wall in every room that can be ticked off as each job is completed. This will make sure that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done. This is particularly useful towards the end of the renovation, when there are a long list of snags that will need to be ticked off.


2. Expect the unexpected

Old house renovations always come with surprises. Some will be pleasant (finding a character fireplace behind a stud wall, for example), others will make you wish you had never begun. Either way, delays of various lengths can ensue and being ready to be flexible with your planning is a must.

Knowing that there will be some issues uncovered which could delay the project, will help to reduce the stress levels when this happens. It will also ensure that you are prepared to start working on the solutions, rather than focusing on the problems.



3. Plan space for storage solutions

Having ample storage in a house is as important as having functioning kitchens and bathrooms. Many people overlook this key element when making renovation plans and it’s important not to make this mistake. If you overlook this you could find yourself having to spend more money to rectify problems or build more storage further down the line.

For example, make sure that you don’t install radiators in an alcove where you could install practical and stylish floating shelves.

Planning how you are going to use your wall space and where you can put shelves now, rather than when the main body of the renovation is complete, will ensure that you don’t make any mistakes which make your home at best, lacking in storage and at worst, impractical.

Renovating an old house can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. It is a privilege to be able to take an old building and breathe new life into it.

When it comes to renovating an old house, there is no such thing as being too organised. Time spent planning now will save lots of stress, heartache and potentially money in the future.


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