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The Home Depot

How Do I Complete a Historic Home Restoration?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > General Contracting > How Do I Complete a Historic Home Restoration?
How Do I Complete a Historic Home Restoration?

Whether you’ve got your eye on a historic home to purchase or you’re already living there, there’s no doubt that these grand old homes need extensive work to keep them livable. Even if you’ve got impressive home improvement skills and you understand enough to save money on home do-it-yourself projects, restoring an older home may be out of your league.


Not knowing the guidelines and recommendations for preserving historical details, you might make devastating blunders that destroy original construction and the integral character of the home. That’s where a professional historic home restoration team comes in, because you can trust them to safely renovate and restore your dream home.

  1. 1.Understanding the Process

    The process of home restoration can be as complex as the history intertwined with the home. A historic home may have significant structural issues, so one of the first steps involves a thorough inspection of the entire house to learn about any problems. A professional company will uncover issues such as water damage, the presence of asbestos, foundation problems, mold or mildew and insect infestations. Once you know the condition of the home, it’s also important to research the heritage of the home and its period to ensure that you preserve it during the restoration process. This is where a professional can make the difference as you make a plan for renovating the house.

  2. 2.Types of Historic Home Restorations

    Some historic restoration projects involve the structural stabilization of the home to make it safe and habitable. Gravity and elements can play a major role in the gradual decline of a home over the years. Perhaps a home had design modifications performed to it that did not fit with the original architectural period or modifications were substandard and need repair. A home might need foundation repair, underpinning, wood beam replacement or other forms of structural stabilization.

    Other types of home restoration work might include exterior work to windows, roofing and gutters. This exterior work generally includes crafting authentic parts and materials off-site and bringing them to the home for installation. Interior restoration often includes replacement of lighting and light fixtures, preserving or replacing trim work and molding, renovating kitchens to provide modern amenities with a timeless feel, and renovating bathrooms to add modern features with a classic appeal.

  3. 3.Design & Planning

    Before undertaking the work, the professional will study the home to discern the character and the features it had during the period in which it was built. This might include removing newer features that others added to the home over the years, which may have detracted from or destroyed the accurate architectural style of the home. After studying the home and removing what doesn’t fit, the professional will plan and design what is necessary to restore the home accurately and completely to its original period.


    The restoration professional must also have knowledge and expertise necessary for completing important work such as electrical and plumbing systems in the home, ensuring that these modern systems fit with the style and period of the home.

  4. 4.Selecting Materials

    The materials you use for your historic home restoration must be modern and readily available, yet match the period colors and materials used originally in the home. It’s helpful to study the interior of the home – often the nooks and crannies of the house will give you important tips about the building and renovation materials you should select. Study the closets and molding around doorways for clues about original materials. The professional should have the contacts to find comparable modern materials to use in your home.

  5. 5.Problems That May Arise

    It’s possible and even probable that you won’t uncover serious problems until you begin the work in earnest on the interior of the home. Once significant demolition occurs, you might find termite infestation, water damage, mold problems and serious issues with the structure and foundation of the home. Having a professional on hand will help eliminate your worries by finding efficient solutions to each problem that arises.

  6. 6.Project Timeframe

    The timeframe of a renovation project of this magnitude can be significant. It’s also necessary to build in enough flexibility to enable you to work through potential problems you might encounter. Because historic restoration is a labor of love, it’s important not to rush the process, ensuring that the restoration company has the time needed to resolve problems, find materials and renovate the home effectively.

  7. 7.Restoration Cost

    If you’re purchasing a historic home specifically with the intention of restoring it and it’s currently uninhabitable, you might qualify for a special FHA loan that might cover as much as 97 percent of the total value of the home including the planned improvements. There are basic requirements for this loan such as making at least $5,000 in repairs and completing the work within six months of closing the sale on the home.


    You might also qualify for a historic preservation grant to offset some restoration expenses.


    Renovation projects are more unique than new construction, so it’s difficult to find project averages that will apply to a broad spectrum of historic renovation projects. Because of the possibility of unknown issues occurring, project costs can skyrocket quickly depending on issues that present themselves.

    The more historically accurate you plan the renovations, the more expensive the restoration will be. By setting a realistic budget that enables you to purchase high-quality materials, you should manage to stay within your planned expenditure.


    The professional you choose for your historic home restoration project needs the experience and expertise to transform your home and make it over into a period showcase of its original era. This isn’t the time to thumb through the yellow pages – you need an expert who will walk into your home and instantly see its character and its future. Let Redbeacon help you find a General Contractor to help with the project. Once Redbeacon is at the helm of the restoration project, the only thing you need to do is sit back and watch the magic happen before your eyes.

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