Often when planning to buy housing, people face a dilemma: start building a new house from scratch or still try to find a ready-made old house for renovation and make it the space of their dreams. In order to properly weigh all the pros and cons of such a decision, you need to understand what you will have to face in both cases. In this article, we will describe in detail what a general renovation of an old house means and what tasks it will create for new owners in the course of work. 

Old house for renovation – where to start?

If you have already decided to buy and renovate an old house, then you should know that the first and most important thing to start with is obtaining the necessary permits and completing the formalities. An incorrect or incomplete package of documents can cause a lot of trouble and some of them will cost you wasted time, and some significant financial losses.

 Some cases of a general renovation of an old house will require additional notice of planned work. You will need to get it if you are going to:

– replace the roofing with skylights,

– replace the heating system;

– make changes to the boiler room;

– insulate external walls;

– do the painting of facades.

Such notice of intent to carry out work must be submitted to the appropriate state authorities within thirty days of the planned commencement of construction. You can proceed with the renovation, provided that during these 30 days you have not received a letter of refusal. This will mean that you have received the consent of the state authorities to do the renovation. 

Formalities

Of course, obtaining a permit is far from all the bureaucratic tasks that now have to be dealt with. Renovation of an old house involves many formalities, and in many respects, they will depend on the type of work planned. Therefore, throughout the entire renovation process, you need to carefully monitor such nuances. In the legislation relating to construction, the renovation of an old house is interpreted in two ways. It can mean both the renovation of the facility and its reconstruction. These two types of construction activity differ in some details but are interpreted in completely different ways. 

It is usually believed that the renovation of an old house requires only the submission of an appropriate notice and the procedure itself is quite simple. The submission of such a notice is mandatory for all works that are directly related to the replacement of various installations, the insulation of the outer walls of the building, the renovation of the facade, as well as the replacement of windows and roofing.

However, in the case of a house reconstruction, it will be necessary not only to submit a notice but also to obtain an appropriate building permit. This is necessary if you are planning to:

– change the position of the roof and windows;

– install gas heating;

– insulate the building.

Before making a purchase decision

Before you decide what will be more cost-effective, faster and less labour-intensive in your particular case, you need to at least look at the options that the market offers. You need to understand how much this particular house will need to be changed, what condition the utility lines, roofing, and walls are in there, and whether this house will require additional significant investments. Perhaps realtors will be able to offer you chic options of old houses that will not cost such an exorbitant amount as building from scratch. However, you should take into account many hidden factors that do not lie on the surface but greatly affect the cost of the renovation.

When is the best time to start the renovation?

When choosing an old house for renovation, it is worth considering when you plan to start construction work. Whether you can wait for the right moment or you need to build here and now. Some renovations may only take place during certain seasons, as these are subject to specific weather conditions.

Works that can be performed in the warm season:

– replacement of glazing (windows, balcony units);

– replacement of water supply, sewerage and heating. For example, replacing radiators in winter when the central heating is turned on will be a very difficult task. But in other seasons, when the radiators are off, this will be very easy to do;

– finishing work and painting is quite possible at other times of the year, but in warm weather, it will greatly simplify and speed up the task. 

In winter, you can safely do other internal renovation works. For example, replacing a staircase or renovating a floor will not depend on the weather conditions outside. 

Step one – facade and walls

The hardest thing about anything is getting started. In the case of a general renovation of an old house, the first step will be the renovation of the facade and walls. This is the “box” of the building, which means it is one of the most important components that ensure the reliability of the entire structure, as well as the security of internal utility lines.

Renovation of the external facade

The renovation of the external façade is one of the most important works that are carried out during the renovation of an old house. Firstly, thanks to this, the facade will acquire a completely new fresh look, which will delight much more than the outdated old cladding. And secondly, the renovation of the facade is most often associated with thermal modernization and thorough insulation of all external walls. This means that saving on expensive utilities begins with these works.

Old houses usually do not have any insulation, because 50 years ago no one did such work. Therefore, the insulation of the house becomes a mandatory item of renovation. In the case of a house with brick exterior walls, the foam will be the most effective type of insulation. But if your new house is wooden, we recommend using mineral wool. We would like to note that this insulation option will be much higher in cost than foam, so first, you need to understand if you can use it. If the amount is too high, then foam can be successfully used in wooden houses.

Partition renovation

Most often, when renovating old houses, this item becomes very relevant. In such spaces, there is rarely a truly comfortable and functional interior layout. Some rooms may be irregular in shape, which will complicate the arrangement of furniture, and some will have poor lighting or a too small/large area. Thanks to redevelopment, you can overcome the problems of useless space and use any room to the maximum.

 Entrust the virtual construction of partitions to our designer, but the creation of real ones will be taken over by our masters. After such work, everything will look completely different and soon in this new, comfortable, functional space you will not be able to recognize that old, sad house, uncomfortable for living.

Usually, aerated concrete is used to build new partitions, however, if you do not need such a thick large wall, we can offer drywall as an alternative more compact material. The cost of this type of work will depend on the number of walls that will need to be dismantled and the amount that will need to be created. Keep this in mind when planning your new space. 

Thermal modernization and heating

The first thing we started talking about energy efficiency with was work on the exterior facade of the house. But, of course, the main issues are thermal modernization in general and the type of heating of the old house. To solve them, it is necessary to replace the heating system in the building. Such work is usually carried out after the insulation of the walls and the replacement of windows. Good thermal insulation of the building is a guarantee of adequate spending on the daily use of heating during the cold season. The ideal option would also be to get central heating put in if before that it was absent. As well as the choice of a modern furnace that will fit your building plan and the technical characteristics of the building. Most often, the choice is made in favour of gas ones.

Step two – replacing windows and roof

When the work on the replacement of the external facade, insulation and construction of partitions has already been completed, the second phase of the renovation of the old house begins – the replacement of windows and roof. If everything is clear with windows in almost 100% of cases and they will need to be replaced with new ones, then with the roof, everything is not so simple. In order to begin these large-scale changes, it is imperative to assess what front of work has to be done. We describe it in more detail further.

Replacing the roof in an old house

Whether the old house will need a complete or partial replacement of the roof can be understood by its condition. If you see with the naked eye that it has leaks in quite a few spots, then getting your hopes high and trying to save money somehow is a very bad option. It is necessary to soberly assess the scale of the problem and consult with the masters. Perhaps in your case, there will still be an option to replace the roofing and not completely replace the roof truss, which will significantly reduce financial costs.

To date, there are many different roofing materials for any price request. Metal tile roofing is the most commonly used. Also, in the costs and the roof project, you must consider whether you want to install skylights. There were no such interesting solutions in old houses, and they will significantly affect the visual component and the entire technical part of the project. Also, when installing such windows, you will need to obtain an additional permit. 

Attic adaptation

Speaking about the attic in general, when renovating old houses, often there is a need or simply the desire of the owner to use the attic space efficiently. A typical situation for old houses is when the area allows your imagination to run wild, but for some reason, the previous owners did not use it at all. There is usually a lot of space in the attic that can be used not only as a pantry for things but even as a full-size room or even an entire floor.

It is necessary to think over how the attic will look after the renovation even before the start of renovation work, at the stage of drafting the project. Then it will be quite difficult to remake and reequip such a room, since it also requires utility lines, laying the floor, insulating slopes, installing electrical appliances, etc. We also remind you that if you need to replace windows and roofs in the attic, you will have to obtain another permit. Without bureaucratic measures, unfortunately, only a small amount of work can be done, which concerns visual changes. 

Replacing windows in an old house

Replacing window units during renovations is usually a must in almost every old house. The modern market offers much more energy-efficient solutions than they were a couple of decades ago. Due to the tightness, new windows will not allow cold air to enter the building, which means they will retain precious heat. This will help reduce heating costs in winter, which is usually very expensive. There are cases when in the very first winter such replacement of windows fully pays off.

To understand the scale of financial costs, first, you need to calculate the total area of windows that should be in this house. This will make it possible to make the most successful natural lighting. For the exterior of old houses, wooden windows with high-quality parameters are usually best suited. However, you can always give preference to plastic models imitating wood, or even their classic white version.

Replacement of door hardware

Replacing fittings applies to both entrance and interior doors. This is all due to the energy efficiency as in the case of windows. If the tightness is lost, a large amount of cold air can pass through the front door, which means that replacing such a door will be a necessity. Dismantling and installation of new interior doors are more related to the aesthetic component. When creating a new interior, you will need new doors that will help create a complete picture. 

We will help you choose the right door that will be energy-efficient, last for many years and be reliable. You can choose any size, colour and specification, as installing a door in a new or renovated building is no different. Partitions are newly created for each unit and they can be made for any request.

 Step three – Finishing work

When the external and global internal works are finally finished, the turn of finishing works comes. The stage begins when the house transforms not only externally, but also the internal space begins to transform. You can already see how the design project from the picture is brought to life, how an ugly old house becomes aesthetic, comfortable and functional.

Ceiling

Ceilings are usually the pride of old houses, because they are often very high there, unlike modern apartments, and create a feeling of a large free space. In order to determine the type of ceiling, you need to determine:

– what material is the base of the ceiling surfaces made of;

– the height of the premises;

– the overall design of the space.

Based on these data, our masters will determine which of the ceiling finishes is suitable for your building. Finishing can be as follows:

– painting;

– wallpapering;

– stretch ceiling;

– false ceiling;

– laying tiles.

Of course, each of these options will have its characteristics and therefore it will be possible to say which one is yours only after getting familiarised with the facility in detail. You also need to take into account your financial capabilities and choose the perfect option based on this characteristic.

 Wall plastering

To get a smooth surface without cracks and all sorts of flaws, so that the paint is well applied on it and the wallpaper is placed joint to joint, it is necessary to pay special attention to the plastering of the walls. Preparing the walls for painting is a little more difficult than for wallpapering, as a common problem with paint is cracking and uneven application, which ruins the whole look. New plastering must be done during each new renovation. This is especially true for the general renovation of old houses.

Floor laying

The final stage of the reconstruction of the old house will be the renovation of the old or the laying of a new floor. In the old days, houses were built without a foundation at all and the flooring was laid directly on the ground. This means that working with such a floor can be quite difficult and most likely new screeds will also be needed. 

The choice of flooring materials will depend on the design and your preferences. Today the market offers a laminate of different classes, carpets, and tiles. Be sure to consider for which room the coating is selected. In the kitchen, non-waterproof laminate will be ruined soon, and cold tiles in the bedroom are unlikely to please their owner on a cool winter morning.

How much does it cost to renovate an old house?

Like the cost of any other building process, its price will depend on several factors. Above, we have described only the main types of work to be done if you still decide to buy an old house. Even each of these items will have a completely different estimate since all facilities have their characteristics and are in a different initial state. Come to our office and our managers will calculate a preliminary estimate for you in a short time. To do this, it will be necessary to go to your facility with our masters and they will study in detail all the visible and hidden flaws in the building. We do not indicate approximate prices, not because we only want personal communication, but because the range of prices can be so different that it makes absolutely no sense to give any forecasts on the cost.

How long does it take to renovate an old house?

As in the case of the cost, the timing will directly depend on the initial data of the house. They will even depend on what furniture you choose and in what style you want to make the renovation. The materials and scale of the work will also affect the duration. To speed up the execution of such a large-scale project as the renovation of an old house, we always recommend that you contact the team, rather than looking for each master separately. This will save you a lot of time and, more often, money. When searching for each master, and then a specialist who will redo the work of the previous one, this whole process can drag on for years.

Is it worth it to renovate an old house?

Of course, it would be great if an answer to such a global question could be found in an article on the Internet. However, we can only suggest that you consider the issue from different angles: from the side of technical characteristics, the stages of renovating an old house, and the approximate financial investments that will be required in the process. Only you can unequivocally answer this question and this answer will depend on a huge number of factors. At least the first three items will consist of:

– the real estate market of old and new houses in your city/region/country. Will realtors be able to offer you a good option for an old house, which will cost reasonable money and not be in the state of “it’s easier to demolish this one and build a new one”? If there are only such options for old houses, then it will be extremely unprofitable to engage in the complete dismantling and construction of a new house from scratch. The decision will also be influenced by the cost of land for building a new house in the desired area;

– your financial possibilities. Will you be able to immediately pay for the construction of a new house or will it be easier for you to gradually do the renovation in the old one;

– the time limit after which you want to move into your new home.

Our Euromed-Bud company offers services of both building a new house from scratch and renovating old houses. In addition, we will help you with support for solving all legal formalities. Whether you decide to build a new house or renovate an old one, you will have to face many legal issues. And we know from our own experience that this is not always easy even for experienced lawyers.

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