February 22nd, 2022

How Historic Renovations Differ From Standard Home Renovations

Charleston Home Renovators

One of the main attractions of both visiting and living in Charleston is the way that the Holy City approaches tradition and history. Our city goes to great lengths to maintain the scale of historical architecture for uniformity and charm. And although old homes are very charming, they do come with some additional hurdles that new homes do not. When people approach us looking for one of the best Charleston home renovators, we often have to explain that it takes a lot more than just understanding building concepts to renovate a historic home; it takes these additional traits to get it right.

Experience is a MUST

What any home renovator knows is that you really don’t know exactly what you are dealing with until you start tearing things up. New builds, as well as vintage construction, often come with some pleasant – and unpleasant – surprises once you begin tearing down walls for the big reveal. When you’re dealing with historic renovations, however, those findings can really cause concern. The way construction was done a hundred years ago is very different from how we do things now, including the materials that they used. As a historic renovator, you have to be able to think quickly on your feet, while also being creative in finding solutions that will help to bridge the gap between building codes now and back then. Only an experienced historic renovator knows how to think innovatively to find modern-day fixes for past-day construction!

Established Relationships in the Historic Renovation Construction Industry

Again, there are often times when the materials that people used to use differ greatly from what we use today. If you have items that are missing pieces or you only need to rebuild partially, that can leave you in a quandary about whether you should rip it all down or find something to match. Things like molding for historic homes typically has to be specially milled, which is not inexpensive. And the list of vendors who work in the historic renovation world is limited. If you find someone who already has established roots in historic renovation, they often know who to contact to get things made within budget and on schedule. You don’t want one piece to hold up an entire project, which is why someone having contacts is a huge advantage.

Complex Floor Plan Fixes

The construction of homes in previous generations is not only different with materials; it differed spatially and floor plan-wise as well. Older homes tend to have a series of small rooms and spaces because homes were very utilitarian a century ago. Nowadays, people want great rooms with open floor plans, which can be difficult due to a home’s original construction. Someone well-versed in the construction of both old homes and new ones can find a good mixture between the two, and they also know how to create structural fixes so that you can open space up for a much better floor plan. It takes a good bit of vision and know-how to make a historic home more conducive to our new lifestyles of living!

Retrofitting Knowledge is a MUST

Old homes have things like old plumbing, electrical work, and HVAC from yesteryear. When renovating a historic home, you don’t want to come in with sledgehammers and redo it all. Not only is preservation part of the charm of a historic home; gutting and beginning again is a huge expense that may or may not be warranted. A builder who works with older homes will understand the importance of retrofitting so that you can save things that are still functional. It is all about a balance, but you have to know what that looks like and what your options are going into a historic problem or you can be delayed trying to figure it all out.

At O’Connor Homes, we are leaders in the industry for all things construction, but where we really excel is in home restoration and renovation. We have an appreciation for historic homes and always work to maintain and preserve them when possible. Our mission is to save you as much money on your historic renovation as we can, because we know the process can be both lengthy and expensive. Contact our office today to discuss how we can help make your nightmare of an old house into your dream home!