Renovating an old house. Is it worth it?

Dan Meyers/
You need about 4 min. to read this post

Let’s breathe new life into old walls. We explain how to prepare for renovation of an old house and whether such a solution is at all financially beneficial.

Each of us, wanting to have his or her own dream place on earth, decides to build a house from scratch, buy a ready-made building or… renovate an old house, which is undoubtedly a big challenge. Everything depends of course on how much money we have and what are our requirements and preferences.

Renovating an old house involves many stages and you need to prepare for it properly. This is not the time or place for spontaneous or hasty decisions.

Remember that we often do not know if the previous owners did anything with the building, if they paid attention to all the works, or maybe they did not move anything at all for years. These are questions that may not be answered at all.

So we check how to avoid possible unpleasant surprises and whether it is worth undertaking the renovation of an old house.

A plan – an essential part of any renovation

The basic thing is to develop a detailed plan (and a written one at that – not verbal!) covering the full scope of renovation work, including the smallest ones. At the very beginning it is worth to use the help of an architect or interior designer who will assess everything with a professional eye and give valuable advice and tips.

It is then crucial to determine what the condition of the house requires from us and what we will be dealing with – whether we are demolishing and moving walls, replacing window and door frames and laying new flooring.

Importantly, we always start with the heaviest, structural work, keeping in mind that a renovation can surprise us at any time. Then we move on to repair and finishing works. The last step is the assembly of furniture, installation of electrical sockets, switches and wall lamps.

Is it worth renovating an old house?

Houses in need of renovation or reconstruction can look really beautiful at first glance. Unfortunately, the visual and technical condition are sometimes two different things.

For example, we have no way to see the loose plaster, crooked walls, what is hidden under the paneling or wallpaper. It is similar with the state of plumbing, electrical and gas installations. It is necessary to have an expert opinion, especially if you do not have documents certifying their maintenance. However, most often they are to be replaced, as well as windows and doors, through which heat could unnecessarily escape (sometimes it is enough to renew them). As far as the wooden floor is concerned, it can last for many years after some work is done. Planks can also be cleaned, sanded and laid again.

There is still the question of tiles, among other things. It is not always necessary to remove them and put new ones. Those preserved in good condition can be painted with special paint and thus change their appearance.

It is difficult to estimate how much final renovation of an old house will cost us, especially since it is a very individual issue – each building is different, as well as requirements of its owner.

It may turn out that the structure of the house is damaged and was made of poor quality materials, so it is more profitable to demolish it than to renovate. In addition, replacing the trusses and roofing can significantly increase the cost and renovation of an old house will no longer be profitable.

However, it may turn out that the condition of the building is so good that its renovation is financially beneficial. The help of an experienced specialist and later professionals is invaluable in this situation.

Main photo: Dan Meyers/

Peter Bowers

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