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Fixing Up An Old Home

Aug 17, 2007
If your home is aging like many homes across America are, you're no doubt paying higher than expected heating and cooling costs, living with floor layouts that don't add to your quality of life, and having to look everyday at walls, trim, ceilings, door and windows that just make your life seem drab.

Some home buyers avoid considering old homes at all for purchase, even despite a significantly lower price and being in an established neighbourhood with trees. The fact is, many old homes are dreary, yet they can be remodelled and renovated to improve the living space, and incorporate many desirable features of new homes. The home renovation industry is booming right now as people take out small second mortgages to upgrade their homes. Should you do the same? Why not? You've been working hard year after year and it's time to make your life more creative and relaxing.

You're in your house a lot. Most people spend 3 to 6 hours a day on average in their homes along with 6 to 8 hours of sleeping in bedrooms. One of the reasons people move and go through the expense and turmoil of moving into a new home is to escape what they see as an unattractive, dysfunctional living space. Other homeowners just grin and bare living in a deteriorating house and only make renovations and improvements in emergency situations. Given the psychological effect your home has on you, your family and friends who visit, why not consider ways you can upgrade? From decreasing heating and air conditioning costs, to improving safety, to increasing the useable living space, a renovation can create the environment that will make you feel better.

Let's start with costs and risks. Old houses can be very expensive. Roofs wear out to the point where rain and moisture are leaking through causing nasty rot of house framing and even ruining walls, attic insulation, and the carpeting in upper floors. There are those who will leave their roof problems until it's too late. That's when more than shingling has to be done. Old electrical wiring can be a big hazard and leave you with little confidence about its safety.

Old walls have lead-based paint that can leak out slowly into the surrounding dusty air and it represents a health risk to growing children. Plumbing could be plugged with years of calcium build up so that water won't flow through, or the water is slightly contaminated with lead particles. Bathrooms are often too small in older homes. By redesigning the layout you can expand your bathroom and include spa-like features to make it a more relaxing place for you to enjoy.

Your house siding may not be doing the job it used to in protecting and insulating the house. The siding on your house is the first thing you or anyone else sees at your property. People do associate you with the appearance of your home, every time they drive by it. If it looks like a dump, that doesn't give them the warm fuzzies. New siding products are available that make your home look like a million dollars. And there's exterior trim products that can give a distinctive, elegant appearance that shows your good taste in architecture. Your new home could make a huge adjustment in how others see you.

Old homes were often built as a collection of small rooms, but today these small isolated rooms lead to a feeling of isolation in family members. Windows were small and often wouldn't even open because of paint and wood expansion problems. The overwhelming trend today in home building is toward open concept designs that allow more interaction between household members. People's busy lifestyles mean they're not spending as much time with one another and this leads to social and emotional problems. Walls can be knocked out to make new rooms that are bigger and open allowing better positioning of furniture. Kitchens, living rooms and dining rooms are connected. The end result is more usability and a less closed, stuffy atmosphere. The new designs encourage communication, shared experiences, and more imaginative living.

Increase Your Living Space

On the topic of increased living space, and old house can certainly benefit from having an outside deck or patio. Deck materials, designs, and construction are much improved today as opposed to 50 years ago. Composite decking boards can last decades without much deterioration, and they look great. Deck designs today take the indoor living space outside where people can enjoy fresh air and nature. Whether surrounding the pool or just being a place where you can relax in the shade and feel a nice cool breeze on a hot sunny day, decks can lift your spirit. They're also often cheaper than an interior home renovation. For those living in northern climates such as the New England area, more time is spent indoors, so interior improvements might provide more enjoyment. Three season rooms can be built onto your home if you prefer to have an outdoorsy place to sit and relax.

If your kitchen is looking like a war zone with old plywood cabinets, plasterboard walls with vinyl wallpaper and barely any space to prepare and cook meals, then a kitchen renovation is in order. Stairways with old worn carpet could use a makeover too. How about new stair railings to spruce up your passageways?

Before you set sail on your new home adventure, take a look at some interior design possibilities. There are plenty of styles from Victorian to Cape Cod cottages, to ultra modern condo lofts. There's real wood products made from cedar and hardwoods that can lift your home's appearance and resale value. Your last task before going ahead with your home renovation is to choose building materials and products including composite decking materials, roofing and house siding products, exterior and interior trim, flooring, railing systems and flooring.

So don't give up on your old house just yet. Consider what it would look like if it was remodelled and retrofitted with a modern design. You can have a new home without the huge price and you'll still be living in an established neighborhood with trees.
About the Author
Boston Cedar is a distributor of composite decking , deck building products, deck railings , siding, and millwork products.
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