Purchasing a heritage home can be an expensive option but owning your own piece of history is priceless. However, to protect your investment, you need to keep the heritage property in good condition, and this can be tricky. If you’re struggling to figure out where to start when it comes to fixing the property up, use our guide below.
Repair Structural Damage
A good first step is getting on top of any structural damage. Otherwise, the property may be unsafe to inhabit or even enter. Organise a property inspection from a registered builder. This will alert you to any issues including damage to foundations or pest infestations.
Repair all structural damage before proceeding with any other repair and maintenance work.
Once you’re sure your heritage home is structurally sound, you can then tackle any asbestos that may be present. Asbestos was a common building material for many years — up until the 1990s — and asbestos presents many health risks.
While bonded asbestos is safe if left alone, you must be extremely careful with friable asbestos. Friable asbestos should be removed by experts and safely disposed of. If you’re intending to complete renovations, it’s best to remove any bonded asbestos also, as it may become an issue when you begin work.
Asbestos is considered a hazardous material and must be removed and disposed of by licenced professionals.
Now that your heritage home is safe to live in, you may need to update the utilities such as gas, plumbing, air conditioning, phone lines, internet connections, electrical wiring and the switchboard.
All these updates can be expensive and intrusive, but it’s not just about ensuring creature comforts. Aged plumbing, wiring and gas connections can present significant hazards, including electrical fires, water damage and gas leaks. In some cases, updates may be required by the building code, especially updates to electrical wiring, smoke alarms and circuit breakers.
Renovate to Match Style
In many areas, it’s often a condition of purchasing a heritage property that you will maintain its original appearance. Therefore, any renovation or restoration must be in keeping with the original design.
Look for handy guides put out by heritage groups in your local area to ensure you don’t mix-and-match styles. Try and keep original colours and where possible use the same materials, or ones that look similar. You are allowed to include modern additions, like new appliances in the kitchen, but ultimately the exterior should appear unchanged.
Further, you should keep the home’s original structure intact. You may be able to make more changes towards the rear of the house if it is not visible from the street though. However, check with your local heritage advisory board before making changes.
With the bulk of work behind you, you can now get your heritage home looking fresh. Be prepared to intensively clean everywhere.
It’s best to divide this work into interior and exterior jobs. Inside, you’ll need to clean all surfaces, including floors, walls and ceilings, along with any soft furnishings, like curtains. If any furniture was included with the property, this will need to be thoroughly cleaned too.
Outside, be prepared to clean exterior walls, along with the roof and gutters. It’s likely you’ll need to get rid of moss from these areas if the home has been untended for some time. You’ll also need to tidy up any garden areas, including weeding and removing dead plants. If there are garden features or decorations, like a fountain or statutes, these will also need a thorough clean.
To save money, you can complete many of these cleaning jobs yourself. However, there are some jobs that are best left to the experts either to save you from injury, like roof and gutter cleaning, or to ensure heritage items are not damaged, like antique rug cleaning.
Taking on the responsibility of caring for a piece of history can be expensive and a lot of work, but the end result is worth it. You can enjoy a beautiful and comfortable home that is a little trip back in time.