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Top 10 Building Restoration Tips

Top 10 Building Restoration Tips

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Many vintage homes and buildings have kitsch and character that can make them extremely appealing to home or business owners. Restoration can be an exciting undertaking resulting in a distinctive space with a unique feel of history. Of course, restoring an older building can be quite a challenge, varying according to the condition of the structure and its interior. So having a few ideas of what to look for and avoid, in addition to the most useful tools, can help make the project more of an adventure and less of a headache.

1. Consult with a contractor on your prospective properties
A professional contractor will be able to offer a unique insight into which sort of structures might be best suited to a restoration project, as well as which parts of town might be most worthwhile to look in. Your contractors can also provide a realistic idea of how much your restoration might cost.

2. Schedule an inspection
This one may seem obvious, but it is, absolutely, the most important step you can take when deciding on a building for restoration. You will need a professional to ensure that the building is structurally and foundationally sound. Older buildings are at greater risk to exhibit strain, deterioration, and even sinking into the ground.

3. Research!
Find out about your structure, and other buildings in the area. If you’re really looking to restore the original flair of your property, this will help you get down to the real authenticity of the place. Be prepared to continue researching throughout the project, exploring prices, materials, the advantages of custom-made features, the best contractors, etc. If you don’t have the time or the desire for the research, you might not want to undertake a restoration project.

4. Don’t be too idealistic
No matter how beautiful a building's potential may seem, a house with major structural issues is one from which you should walk away. Some problems actually are too big to be fixed. Similarly, no matter how much work you put into a beautiful home, you cannot change the neighborhood. So if the fixer-upper of your dreams is in a bad end of town, you may want to reconsider.

5. Leave wiggle room for the unexpected
When budgeting both time and money, give yourself extra. You may encounter issues with the structure that you hadn’t anticipated, which may cause your restoration to take longer, and your money to stretch a little thinner. Recognize that the biggest issues need to be addressed first, and after this, the smaller improvements may stretch out over time.

6. Use modern materials
Preserving the original character of a structure doesn’t mean you have to pour out hundreds of thousands of dollars on hand-crafted materials that mimic the actual materials, moldings, architecture, etc. of the original. Using modern materials to create a vintage feel can preserve the original character, look authentic, and save you money. Besides, modern materials are usually better for the environment, and make life easier on the building owner in the long run.

7. Add your own flair
Remember that you are preserving, not replicating, the original building; so, in addition to using modern materials, try not to get so caught up in making the building look original that you forget to incorporate your own twist. There are ways to mix both modern and vintage designs and furnishings in a cohesive way.

8. Get to know the building first
Before you delve into your restoration projects, spend time inside of it (if it’s a house, live there for a bit first). Your ideas for the structure may change a bit as you spend time with it. You may learn to appreciate features you initially expected to eliminate, and you will learn about the building’s nuances.

9. Research local laws and tax breaks
Many local governments have strict rules about restoring structures in a historic district, so you’ll want to be sure you are aware of these when you consider purchasing an older building. If you’re restoring a historic property, you may be entitled to tax credits from state or local governments. Many cities have tax abatements or moratoriums on old homes restored to their original luster.

Don’t expect to do it all on your own: hire an expert
Restoration is such a huge undertaking, that it’s simply unrealistic to expect that you can do it all yourself. You’ll probably want to have a hand in the restoration, and, depending on your level of expertise, you can certainly determine how much or little you want to be involved. But to complete your project in the safest, quickest, and most cost-effective manner, you will want an expert to help you out.

If you’re ready to find the property of your dreams and start restoring, Signature Contractors can set up your free consultation. Our experts in building restoration will help you find the best building for your goals, develop your project plan, and create the building of your dreams.

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