Useful Ideas If You Plan On Conservating An Old Family House

by - May 09, 2022



The Josiah Coffin House in Nantucket, MA has been in the ownership of the same family for over two centuries, and until the 1960s had permanent residents who lived there. Built-in 1723, the house’s unique historical appearance makes it a favorite of tourists and luckily it can be rented at an available price for those planning a little family vacation this summer. Interestingly enough, old houses have been preserved rather successfully over the course of time, withstanding harsh weather conditions and other environmental factors for decades. This shows the possibility of preserving an old home with ease, and how you can still find a use for your great-grandparent's home and turn it into a vacation house for the whole family. The trick is to conserve it by making constant repairs and carefully looking out for possible signs of damage. Therefore, we summed up some useful ideas on how to properly take care of an old home and make it last longer.


Taking care of the masonry and rotting wood

The initial indications of decay are visible to the naked eye, and in the case of historic houses, the wood and masonry have usually taken a beating over time. Wood, contrary to common opinion, may last much longer than expected; however, the issue arises if it is not properly protected from the start, since various coatings put on new wood slow or entirely prevent the potential of rotting. Well-coated wood can last for decades to come, while simply putting paint on the wood will not do the trick, as often the paint (full of different chemicals) only further damages it and even fastens the decomposing of the wood. Therefore, start by replacing crumbling paneling and planks with new ones, one by one, and make sure to coat them in waterproof varnish. Remember, water is not necessarily your enemy as canoes and boats are mostly made out of wood and they can stay in the water for quite some time.

Make sure to take care of the masonry by cleaning away all the ingrown grass, moss, and lichen. Most masonry is quite resilient and can take a beating, however, if you truly want to make it shine, use high-pressure water pumps and eco-friendly cleaning products to restore it and bring it back to life. As you’ll have a lot of work, make sure to double-check all the replacements you’ll be doing to save yourself from doing the same work twice in the future.


Double-check the roof and make it bulletproof

The roof presents one of the most essential components of every house or building. It is the outer shell taking most of the beating as harsh weather conditions never spare it. The roof, however, no matter how resilient, can sometimes be damaged and the consequences often affect the whole house. For starters, a crack or hole in the roof allows water leakage and the circulation of cold or hot air, forming a bubble trapped in the attic, making it the perfect “ground” for the spread of mold. Mold, once it gets into the walls, is almost impossible to get rid of especially with old houses as the conventional methods used to exterminate it can harm the whole structure.

It seems like a lot of work, therefore seeking professionals can come in handy. You can always check or consult with the folks at www.masterroofcontracting.com for possible ways of preserving and checking the roof quality. You can even make sure to get some first-hand help as the damaged roof can cause serious harm to the rest of the home. Basic roof renovations are easy to handle, replacing old tiles, broken ones, or cracked ones, however, in the case of more serious repairs, you’ll need help. Whatever the case, you’ll have to take into consideration the age of the roof, the materials used when it was constructed, and the climate of the region where you live. Nevertheless, once the roof is all safe and sound, you can focus on all the other parts of the house.


Window replacement and heat installation

Once the old windows have been removed and new ones placed, the whole house will become more energy-efficient and sustainable. Most people who want to save the house's distinctive and historical appearance paint the old windows, but the harm is done from the inside, not the exterior. As a result, replacing them with new ones is the best solution. Replace any old or worn-out pipes or radiators with new ones, and inspect any areas of the home where heat might escape.




Interior design

Before you continue with the renovations, you should be aware that in the case of historic houses, every component of the original construction that can be preserved and cleaned is preferable to be replaced. Or in other words, the tiles, the walls, and bricks should be intact while the furniture can be replaced with a new one. Preservation policies are quite strict when it comes to historically significant monuments, therefore consulting professionals would be the way to go. You can always give it a fresh paint job and maybe varnish the wood inside.


These are some of the concepts we had in mind when composing the text; one last piece of advice is to hire an architect to help you flesh out your various ideas. Before embarking on any new initiatives, make a plan and know where to begin.

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