Vintage Homes: Tips on Restoring Historic Properties

Everyone loves seeing a vintage home. Their ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia and sentiment is a kind of charm that modern place can’t reproduce.

Of course, there’s a difference between an attractive vintage home and one that’s run-down and ugly. Whether you’re planning to purchase a historical home that has seen better days or currently live in one, here are some valuable tips when restoring an old property.

Carefully add new to the old

The point of restoring a vintage home is to preserve its historic look. This includes making sure you know any and all restrictions so new additions don’t intrude on the original architecture. In other words, not all building materials and design choices will cut it if you want your old home to remain authentic. Do what you can to avoid letting the modern touches you want to integrate ruin the property’s notable features.

Create a realistic plan

Restoring any home takes a lot of time and effort, and the same is true when a property from a bygone era is involved. If you’re planning on restoring your vintage home yourself, know what you’re getting yourself into so you don’t end up exhausted with one or more half-finished projects. You’re also setting yourself up for failure and disappointment if you put an unrealistic time frame for your project when you’ll only be working on weekends or during your spare time after work.

Do your homework, or hire professionals

If you’re planning to restore your vintage property yourself then chances are you’ve dabbled in carpentry before. But for any time you jump into an area you’re not familiar with, the internet is a great place to check out videos and ask questions before jumping in. But if you decide you’re not up to a particular plumbing or electrical project, definitely hire a pro. Even better, find one that’s experienced with vintage restoration projects.

Restore smartly and patiently

You’ll probably do more harm than good if you jump into something like this without patience. Tasks such as cleaning antique architecture and loosening old paint require plenty of gentlenesses. You also should study up on what the best tools are for each particular task. For example, removing old gunk should be done with natural ingredients like Autosol to avoid damage. When removing paint, stay away from toxic cleansers and instead use a solution of water and trisodium phosphate (TSP).

Do whatever it takes to keep your old windows

There’s nothing like old wood windows on a vintage home. If your property still has them, consider giving each one their own special attention in terms of minor repairs and maintenance. Older buildings were built with surprisingly resilient windows, which means a good refurbishing might be all it takes to have them last several more decades. They’ll look much better than replacing them with new windows that can never completely replicate the look and feel of original, aged windows.

Try keeping the cabinets and flooring authentic

Of all the aged elements of a home, flooring and cabinets are the most tempting when deciding on whether to restore or just replace. But before you tear out that original hardwood flooring, consider a professional’s opinion to see if they can restore the floor and make it look gorgeous again. Cabinets in most vintage homes were made to last a long time, so consider giving them stripping, sanding, and refinishing. Restoring may be extra work but it will pay off when you see how much they help to preserve the property’s historical look.


If you want to learn more about renovating properties, check out DIY home projects that will instantly up the value of your home.

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