7 Ways to Start Fresh in an Old Home

Did you recently move into a fixer-upper? Or have you lived in your house so long that it’s become outdated? No matter your circumstances, there are plenty of ways to start fresh. By renewing the most age-weary components, small and large, you can prevent major problems before they occur and safeguard a safe, stylish, and energy-efficient future for your home.

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  1. Open-Door Policy

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    Though a high-quality front door can last for decades, there inevitably comes a time when it must be replaced. With a new front door, you can look forward to enhanced energy efficiency, more dependable security, and a big boost to your home's curb appeal. Wood, fiberglass, and steel are the most often recommended materials for a new door; here, learn the pros and cons of each type.

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  2. A "High" Priority

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    It has to be said: Though roof replacement rarely ranks as a "budget" project, it's undoubtedly one of the most important long-term investments you can make toward the continued integrity of your home. A roof with only one layer of shingles can receive a second layer right on top of what's there. If your roof already has two layers of shingles on it, however, the existing layers must be removed before the sheathing can be re-covered with new roofing.

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  3. Bright Outlook

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    Among the owners of old homes, complaints about windows are all too common. If yours are drafty or hard to operate, think seriously about installing replacement windows. Window manufacturing has grown a great deal more sophisticated over the past decade or so, resulting in products with exceptional technology. In fact, choosing windows and patio doors that meet ENERGY STAR® guidelines can help you save up to $501 a year on your heating and cooling bills.

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  4. Snap, Crackle, Pop

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    Modern life involves gadgets and gizmos that hardly anyone could have anticipated even 30 years ago. If your home still has an older electrical system, look for warning signs that it's buckling under the demands of today. Call in a licensed master electrician if you experience tripped circuits; lights that dim when appliances turn on; excessive heat around outlets and switches; or buzzing noises that emanate from the outlets, switches, or plugged-in electronics. 

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  5. Cook’s Tour

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    If you have any plans to sell your older home, consider the fact that a new or updated kitchen tops most buyers' wish lists. Though you may not mind decades-old cabinetry and countertops, prospective owners might find them a real turnoff. Remodeling your kitchen could go a long way toward eventually earning you a bid that meets your asking price. By the same token, take a critical look at your bathrooms. In a space like the living room, age imparts character and charm; in kitchens and bathrooms, that is decidedly not the case.

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  6. Demolition Derby

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    A hundred years ago, homes were more easily heated when they were small. Fast-forward to the present day, and homeowners are free to embrace open floor plans more in tune with the casual tenor of contemporary life. By erasing the barriers between adjoining rooms, you can achieve a brighter, airier, and arguably more inviting arrangement of space. Of course, demolition work isn't necessarily a do-it-yourself affair. Consult a contractor for advice on how to proceed. 

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  7. Decorate ‘The Fifth Wall’

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    Time and time again, old-house owners discover hardwood flooring beneath later installations of vinyl, linoleum, or wall-to-wall carpeting. If you're certain your home has no such pleasant surprises in store for you, the next best thing is to address those rooms where worn-out flooring detracts either from the space's utility or aesthetic effect. Flooring is as decorative as it is functional, after all; treat it as the design opportunity that it most certainly is. 

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  8. For More...

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    If you're interested in more about living well in old houses, consider:


    Is Now the Time to Replace Your Front Door?


    Is Now the Time to Replace Your Windows?


    Old House Features We Were Wrong to Abandon


    This content has been brought to you by Pella. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com. 

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