To preserve and protect

April 7, 2019

Older homes have a charm and history that draws some folks like bees to honey. Those of us who love the wide baseboards, the high ceilings, the hardwood floors and crown molding have a strong appreciation for the workmanship that went into building these old beauties. Quality materials were used in the building historic structures and if the house has enjoyed any upkeep at all the it can be rescued, renovated or preserved.

To love an old house and truly enjoy it, one needs to make their minds up that it will have short comings when it comes to some of today’s standards. To enjoy that fine fret work and flowing front porches, a person might have to put up with a few drafty rooms and costly paint jobs now and then. One needs to get with the program with an old house from the onset — they cost more in upkeep and there will be a few discomforts one will have to just put up with.

Jennifer Wheeler who is presently renovating an older home said, “Restoring an old home is definitely a labor of love. It’s not inexpensive and therefore it can also be incredibly time consuming. That said, when we take care of these old Southside bricks they can surely outlive us.”

So we are making history for the next generation by doing our part to preserve and protect our aged structures.

There are a few standards one needs to meet when renovating or remodeling an older home. The first is making it physically secure by doing the stuff that doesn’t show but is essential to any home. Safe wiring, updated plumbing and a workable HVAC system should be on 21st Century standards. That old knob and tube wiring that carried electricity a century ago is no longer safe nor is the galvanized pipes that made up the water pipes of the early 1900s. Both have long since served their purpose and it is just necessary to replace them at this point.

The next basic which also won’t show but needs to be addressed is limiting any water damage. If there is a damp basement then one needs to find out why before structural damage happens or bugs who love dampness invade. If the roof has been leaking then it needs to be fixed before a ceiling drops or causes rotten timbers. Leaky windows and masonry that has lost its mortar can also be sources of water leaks, and may need replacement or at a minimum repaired.

One of the endearing features of an historic home is the wavy glass in the windows so often there is a dilemma as to whether to replace or repair. Jennifer has arrived at a compromise with her home, “For me, I found that a hybrid approach worked best – I replaced the back and side windows with vinyl replacements but left the front facing windows with their original grids to respect the character of the home.”

Part of the charm of a historic house are the uneven floors and baseboards, creaking stairs, surprising nooks and crannies here and there. Instead of trying to fix everything, embrace your crooked little or big house and love the charm this adds to an abode of the last century. Get the basics fixed and then sit back and plot and plan how you are going to add your historic stamp on this treasure from yesteryear!