Renovating an old house – advantages and disadvantages

Renovating an old house – advantages and disadvantages
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On many construction forums you can find the question whether it pays off to buy and renovate an old house or, whether it is worth doing a major renovation in a house left by your parents/grandparents? Or is it better to demolish such a house and build a new one on its place?

Renovation of an old house is not so terrible as it is painted

The renovation of an old house raises many extreme emotions. On the Internet you can find enthusiasts renovating old houses by themselves, giving them a new shine. There are many myths and stereotypes about renovating an old house – the most popular are:

An old house is always a bottomless piggy bank

Renovation of any old house is associated with costs and often unforeseen expenses. Especially if its old atmosphere is to be preserved. In order to open unusual finishing elements of the house, it is necessary to find appropriate materials.

You will constantly need to repair something

This issue is inseparable from the technical condition of the house. If the renovation is carried out in the right way, then any repairs will have to be made only when something breaks

Old house means eternal renovation

If the renovation of the house exceeds the financial resources possessed by the investor, then it will take a long time. Most often, the time of the renovation depends solely on the amount of funds you have and the team doing the renovation.

Advantages and disadvantages of renovating an old house

Advantages of renovation:

  • it is often more profitable than building a new house,
  • speed of the works,
  • you can live in it, and the works can be done gradually,
  • often there is no need to supply the house with utilities, because it is enough to connect the building to the sewage system,
  • solidity of the building structure,
  • originality of the building,
  • facilitated legal issues.

Disadvantages of renovation:

  • generates often large costs lasting for years,
  • no possibility to create a schedule of works,
  • in many cases requires replacement of installations with new ones,
  • poor layout of rooms,
  • lack of proper documentation.

The renovation of an old house has many advantages and disadvantages, but the final decision on the renovation should be individual – each building is different, has a different technical condition.

Renovation of an old building pays off only if its cost does not exceed the amount of construction or purchase of a new building.

Buying an old house – what should you pay attention to?

Before buying an old house, it is worth assessing its condition of the supporting structure (state of the walls), whether there are no cracks, mould. It is also worth finding out from what materials the house was built – it happens that the house was built with questionable materials that do not meet current standards. If there is too much damage on the walls, the house is suitable only for demolition – the cost of a general renovation exceeds the cost of demolition and building a new one.

If the old house is in good condition, it is worth estimating how much it will cost to completely renovate the house. It is worth hiring an experienced professional to do this

Costs of renovating a house

Condition of the roof in the house under renovation

One of the more expensive jobs is to repair the entire roof. If the rafter framing is in good condition and the roof requires only a possible change in roofing, the price of such work should not be large.

The situation is the opposite if the old house requires a complete change of roofing and trusses – these are very large investments that often make the renovation unprofitable.

Replacement of window frames

Renovation of an old house is always connected with replacement of window and door frames. Old houses usually have leaky or outdated windows that need to be replaced with new ones. This is not a big burden on the budget – the cost of one new window is about 500 PLN.


One of the biggest expenses is replacement of installations. In many cases it is the replacement of the entire electrical and heating system. The cost of such replacement should be agreed individually with the contractor.

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