Restoring a period property is a tough project but it has to be done: you can’t expect a 200 year old building to uphold the same condition for centuries without the need for intervention and updating. The longer your house is left without rejuvenation, the more work will need doing when you finally realise the building needs some serious T.L.C.
The key to keeping a period property in good shape is making sure maintenance projects are carried out as soon as elements of the building begin to show wear and tear, that way you will avoid having to pay for emergency repairs or a whole structural renovation. Below we outline some tips for restoring your property.
Get a Building Survey
Having a building survey first of all will mean that you get an expert and independent opinion on the structure and condition of your house. You should do this first, before you start planning your restoration so that you know which areas of the property you should focus on. When looking for a chartered surveyor, ask for quotes first from a few different companies and verify that they are registered with RICS. A good chartered surveyor will advise you on any part of the building that need replacing and will also estimate costs for you.
Apply for Planning Permission
You will have to apply for planning permission if:
- You live in a listed building
- You live in a National Park, conservation area or area of outstanding natural beauty
If you don’t have any of the above and you are performing basic restoration procedures such as sand blasting the stone or painting the external joinery then you won’t need permission. However if you are planning to make structural alterations, extensions or install new openings then it’s best to check with your local authority first.
Check Your Damp Course and Insulation
Two for the worst faults of period properties is that they lack proper damp proof coursing and insulation. In past decades construction companies didn’t have the technology or the knowledge of energy efficiency that we do today. Your building survey will be able to determine whether you have any damp issues and what type of insulation you have. There are ways of improving both the insulation and damp proofing of your property that isn’t too disruptive such as loft insulation and chemical DCP wall injections.
Retain the Period Character and Style
When making external adjustments to your property, make sure everything you replace is as close to the original as possible. If you are looking to re-clad the building, or you’re adding an extension, seek a building merchant who offers a “brick match” service. This will ensure the type and tone of the new bricks don’t look out of place. If you’re looking to replace the windows, because they are shabby or energy inefficient, choose the same style as the old windows. Darcy Joinery provides hand crafted sliding sash windows in Manchester which will provide all the character of the original windows but with the fittings and efficiency of a modern window.
Restoring or renovating an old building is a tough project however it’s worth every worry and penny to finally have a refreshed and regenerated home. Remember to ask for plenty of professional advice before you start restoration, and make a plan of action. During the project your house might look like a complete tip, and worse than when you started but the end result will be magnificent if you invest enough time, money and patience.