5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Old Home Restoration

Shannon Lee

Many people who purchase an old home and dive into serious restoration find that previous repairs and "improvements" were made with cheap materials or less-than-stellar techniques. Your old home might show signs of previous repairs that seemed like good ideas at the time, but actually wound up costing more in the long run.

Learn how to spot the most common mistakes, so you won't make them yourself:

  1. Too much epoxy. Epoxy can be fantastic for filling small holes and minor repairs, so it's easy to think that bigger problems can be solved with a good dose of the same. But epoxy can't expand and contract in the same way that wood does, so using large amounts of epoxy as filler can actually lead to more serious problems down the road.
  2. Overambitious waterproofing. Waterproofing the interior and exterior of your house might seem like a good idea--after all, the more water you keep out of your structure, the less water damage you have to deal with over time. But waterproofing means your house can't breathe, and that can lead to even bigger problems with moisture.
  3. Using the wrong paint. Unfortunately, many homeowners try to spruce up serious problems with layers of paint. But using the wrong type of paint, or prepping the house improperly, can lead to streaking and other issues, making the cover-up situation even worse. It's worth the money to invest in high-quality paint and take the time to prep all surfaces carefully.
  4. Excessive power washing. When you step into an old home with several layers of wax, paint, and other substances all over wooden surfaces, it can seem easier to simply power wash it all and be done with it. But power washing can push the moisture deep into the surface of the wood, leading to serious moisture problems. When it comes to old wood, elbow grease and scraping is still the best way to go.
  5. Mixing metals. The metals you use for trim in your home--copper, aluminum, iron, silver--might not seem like they could become a serious home repair issue. Chemical reactions between unlike metals that are pressed together can lead to quick corrosion. Always use like metals when hanging gutters, handling trim, or other improvements.

With attention to detail and the determination to do the job right the first time, your old home restoration can be something you can show off with pride for years to come.


About the Author

Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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