Doing a historic home renovation is not an easy job. Unlike with new homes, where builders can construct from scratch, thus giving them the freedom to follow their own designs, heritage home restoration comes with many restrictions. The most obvious of which is that the builder has to follow the original design of the home. Should there be any changes, it will have to be minimal, or else, the home may lose its original character. To understand it further, here are some of the steps that a home restoration builder has to take.
First, he has to make a thorough inspection of the property, from top to bottom. This will give him an idea of the true physical state of the home so that he can then create a list of the things that he has to do for its renovation. Things that need to be checked, for instance, are the integrity of the foundation, presence of infestation, physical condition of the different parts of the house, and the state of the utility lines, just to name a few. Since it is an old home, there is a good chance that the builder will see multitudes of problems. However, he cannot just tear down a rotting wall to replace it if he has to keep the original heritage home design, especially if it is an exterior wall. He may have to find ways to fix or replicate it.
Second, he has to do an extensive research on the original heritage home design of the structure. This means that he will have to dig up its blueprints, which would include the initial plans and subsequent plans if the home has already undergone some prior renovations. As a builder, he would need all these data when he builds on the existing structure. Another piece of information that he has to know is whether the heritage home is listed in the historical society. If so, there may be restrictions in place regarding the amount of renovation that he can do.
Third, here comes the hard work. During the heritage home renovation process, a builder will have to make maybe hundreds of decisions. For example, should he reposition and change the style of the windows? Would that have a big effect on the exterior look of the home? Which parts should he discard? Which should be preserved? Although most of the concern would involve maintaining the exterior design of the home, there are also clients who would want to have most of the interior preserved. He must also face the challenge of upgrading the plumbing and electrical system, or building a modern kitchen on old structure. This is why a builder who specializes in historic home renovation should be very skilled and has a thorough knowledge of architectural arts.
In summary, a heritage home restoration is a task that can only be successfully done by an experienced builder. Such a project takes time and it usually involves a huge budget too. Hence, both the client and the builder should brace themselves for the long work that looms ahead when restoring a historic home.