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Renovating an Old House

Replace or Refurbish? Living in a house for a very long time brings people into thinking of replacing or refurbishing aspects of it. Whether you plan on living in it longer or renovating it for profit, choosing to replace or refurbish is a tough question to answer. The decision to replace or refurbish depends on a lot of factors. However, the main factor to be considered is the budget. Of course, you wouldn’t want to start something and fall short at the end, right? Before we answer the question, let’s take a look at five things that commonly need the utmost attention.

Things to check for

Heating system

The first thing to do is find out if there’s a central heating system. The next step is knowing what fuel it uses as well as the age of the boiler. If the radiators are still ok but cold spots are present, ‘power flushing’ might solve the problem. Otherwise, replacement is a must.


Cracks in walls are very unsightly and many people feel the need to replace everything straight away, to improve aesthetics and for peace of mind. In reality, that’s not always how this issue should be approached. If needed, seek a professional’s help to determine if the cracks are due to structural damages or if it’s just cosmetic - then you can make a more rational decision.


The key to finding out if the roof needs replacement is spotting the problem as early as possible. If the roof structure hasn’t been exposed to sufficient damp yet, there’s probably no need for total replacement. Signs that you can look for are leaks, broken tiles, damaged flashings, etc. Checking for early signs of roof damage will save you a lot of money. That is if you work on it as soon as you spot the problem.


Original windows can often be repaired especially if they only need new weatherstrips or hardware. On the other hand, drafty windows need to be replaced since they can significantly affect your heating and cooling bills. You may also consider replacing them if you’re doing a makeover. It’s a good thing that most of the time you can take on windows using DIY methods. However, fitting replacement windows may not be as simple as you think so keep that in mind.


Similar to windows, doors need to be replaced if you feel a draft of hot or cold air when it’s closed. If you’re also having a hard time opening and closing it, it’s time to hang a new one. Faulty doors are a potential hazard as it might prevent you or family members from exiting during a fire or an emergency. These are the main things that need to be checked for in your house. Other features that also require inspections for possible repair or replacement are as follows:
  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Ceilings
  • Floors
  • Wiring
  • Plumbing system
  • Gutters
  • Air conditioning
  • Carpets
  • Lighting
  • Leaky faucets
Back to the question at hand. Replace or refurbish? So how do you decide if it’s time replace or refurbish? Look at the following pros and cons to help you figure out which option suits you best.



Costs less: It’s generally less expensive to refurbish since you have the freedom to choose which parts of the house you’d want to deal with first. You can start with the windows and when you have saved enough, do the roof next. You may even do the job yourself instead of hiring someone else. Personal touch: refurbishing parts of the house allows you to do it according to your preference. You may have gotten tired of seeing the same walls over and over again. A new lick of paint is probably all you need to freshen things up. Green perspective: using and retaining vital aspects of your home that do not need replacing or refurbishing means less energy is required to complete the job. Starting from scratch, though, requires a lot more energy and will take you a lot longer to complete. Increases property value: if you’re planning to sell your house, making sure that every nook and cranny is taken care of is crucial. A potential buyer would have a survey done to evaluate the overall condition of the house. There’s no pass or fail in this survey. However, a ‘bad report’ is something that you would never want.


Unexpected repairs: although refurbishing parts of the house can be done bit by bit, you may stumble upon other issues in the process. For instance, you thought that the cracks in your walls just need a new shade of paint. Later on, you find out that they’re structural damages which means you’d have to replace everything. Time: there’s a possibility that you may have to sleep somewhere else while work is being done. Depending on what’s being refurbished, it may take days or weeks to finish. In the process, you are forced to spend more money which you didn’t account for. Major makeover: if there’s a lot of aspects in your house that are in bad shape needing immediate attention, refurbishing would cost a fair amount for sure. In some cases, replacing the problems at hand would save a lot of time (and even money) compared to refurbishing - though, be sure to evaluate all your refurbishing options before taking this approach.



Avoid unforeseen repairs: replacing old parts of the house means that they should last you a long time before you need to replace them again. Unfortunately, simply refurbishing doesn’t guarantee that these things will perform just as good as new units. Freedom to choose the best materials: with replacement, you’re given the option to choose only what’s best. Refurbishing, most of the time, has to make use of existing materials. These materials may not be up to par with something that’s new. Brand new look: if you aim to transform the appearance of your house completely, replacing is your best bet. With careful planning, you can turn your old house into a seemingly new one.


Sentimental value: there are instances when a home or parts of it has immeasurable sentimental value. It can be an old furniture or any architectural element which is worth saving. Getting rid of these might not be a good idea. Time: similar to refurbishing, replacing parts of the house will take time. It might even be longer as opposed to renovating them. This can be a problem, especially if what you’re working on is an essential aspect of the house like a bedroom or kitchen. Cost: while a major replacement is ongoing, there’s a possibility that you need to rent another place. This accounts for an unexpected cost that might be an issue in case you didn’t see it coming. You may also face more costs if the project takes longer than the original plan.


Have you decided which option suits you best? Frankly, there’s no definite answer which is better between the two. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages, so the decision comes down to you. One thing is for sure though, keeping your home in the best condition is a must. Author Bio Emma is a part-time property developer who loves sharing how others can make their homes amazing both inside and out on her blog Fixtures and Flowers. You can chat to Emma on Twitter.