Anyone who is restoring an old home eventually gets to the point along the renovation project where they start to question whether it is more economical to strip, stain and clean the old, or if they should bite the bullet and replace it with restoration reproductions.
An age old question, literally, those who are in the process of trying to bring the old back to life sometimes wonder if their efforts are really worth it. With so many excellent reproductions to be found, does it really make sense to try to restore the old, or when possible should you replace it with new?
The thing about the old versus the new is usually in the quality and price. Those things that are salvageable are most likely not only going to have more character; they are also going to be made better. Most new hardware and products for home building are made in other countries and just don’t have the weight and charm that they used to. A one-size-fits-all, they just can’t compare to the old craftsmanship that you get with an old house built hundreds of years ago.
There are many basement renovations Winnipeg companies who specialize in creating products that look like the old, but are produced in this age. The problem with those is that they can be very expensive. Restoring an old home not only takes patience, but it is also a very expensive process. Time-consuming, it not only takes the time to pick materials that will match the old style, but it is also an expensive endeavour to have things made to match.
Just two short decades ago, restoring an old home was next to impossible, or something that only the wealthy could do. Finding products to match the old was not easy. There was no internet to search sites such as Etsy or Ebay to find the things that you needed. You either had to go to flea markets, check out classified ads of homes that were being demolished, or try to match the hardware as much as you could with new available versions.
When you should replace or restore
There are some questions that you need to ask yourself when you are restoring an old home before you make the decision to restore or to replace. There are many materials that were used in homes decades ago that were not safe for living spaces.
Things such as lead paint and asbestos were viable materials before anyone knew how harmful they could be to the house dwellers. If you have something in the house that contains either lead or asbestos, it is important that it be removed properly and replaced. If these materials can’t be removed by a professional and gotten rid of then, you have to consider replacing them with safer alternatives.
If things in the home can be cleaned, stripped and made safe again with just a little time and patience, then it is always better to try to restore what is there. Those who restore old homes know that it is the integrity and the charm of the home that is what makes it so cool and unique. The only real advantage of an old home is that it likely contains features that you can’t get with a new build. That is what makes it such a neat thing for owners to bring back to life.
Weighing your options
Before you replace anything, it is best to find out how much it would cost for someone else to restore what you have. If you don’t have the knowledge or the time to restore things like tubs and faucets by yourself, then you should consider hiring someone else to do it. Often hiring a restoration service will cost you as much as buying reproductions.
Also, they will allow you to keep your home intact. If you don’t want to have it restored, by all means don’t throw it out. If you have materials in your home that you don’t wish to reuse, there is likely someone out there who is looking for what you are getting rid of.
For those things that you either can’t restore, or you don’t want to, try your hand at selling them to other restorers. If nothing else, the money you get from them may help to pay for those new things you need to purchase to replace the old items that you didn’t reuse.
Nothing in an old house is going to be perfect. That is part of the charm. When possible, it is always best to reuse, renew and recycle those old things in your home. The sweat equity to bring things back to life is always worth it when you sit back and think about all the work that went into originally building it from scratch centuries ago.