What are some tips for restoring an old house?


Quick Answer

When restoring a historic home, allow the old plaster to remain, as replacing it with modern materials reduces the value of the home. If the plaster is loose, use glue injection to reattach it to the lath. Replace damaged or crumbling mortar with a mortar mixture that closely matches the existing mortar to prevent damaging the structure. Avoid replacing wooden windows with modern options. Instead, install weatherstripping around the existing windows to increase energy efficiency.

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Full Answer

Use natural or gentle cleaners when cleaning fixtures or painted surfaces. Clean fixtures, tile and other features thoroughly to determine whether damage is present. Refinishing, rather than replacing, hardwood floors, bathtubs, sinks and kitchen cabinets is a cost-effective option that preserves the home.

Determine the year the home was built, and avoid installing building materials that weren't available during that period. For instance, avoid laminated particle board in a historic home. When replacements are necessary, use materials that closely match the existing materials.

Do not use sealant on walls or other surfaces unless it is specifically recommended. Sealant can cause moisture damage when applied to some types of building materials. When repairing loose joints, carve a V-shaped valley in the original material, and fill the joint with mortar. To ensure the repair is long-lasting, do not repair masonry joints with wood putty.

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