We recently purchased a home, the original part of the home was built in 1890, an addition was built in the 60's. the main level is stuck in the 70s the upstairs has the original windows and wood trim. What is the best way to proceed With the remodel? Try and go more original, keeping the original windows and replace the newer windows that look more original or what??? Just not sure what the best plan of action is for the house. Right now we are removing layers of wallpaper preparing to paint. We have uneven floors and plaster and paneling...
Sounds like a big project. The only nontechnical suggestions are twofold: safety and style.
Are there any safety issues with plumbing and/or electrical? I would attack those first. If not, then what aspect is the most important to you right now?
Are you living in the house now? What are the most important rooms to upgrade first? (I.e., kitchen, bath and bedroom)
With a house of that vintage, do you want to keep period design? If so, that would dictate your choice of windows, etc. I would upgrade and try to keep with vintage style if possible, but windows can always be decorated with window treatment so the energy efficiency I think would be more important.
I wouldn't add anything to the project list right now though until the wallpaper removal project is completed. If you have too many projects, the remodel becomes frustrating if not overwhelming.
There are others here more knowledgeable on the technical issues and I'm sure they'll offer suggestions.
if the windows are not falling apart, don't mess with them. I would first check a few of the creakier areas to see if you have knob and tube wiring, good solid wood, and that you don't have a lot of sag and unevenness.
pay particular attention to the drain stack, for it's certainly past its design life of 60 years (spec-60 cast iron, probably hub and oakum/lead joints.) if you are opening anything up, fix all the hidden infrastructure to present code.
true up any odd flooring. I'd sling a laser or some mason line in the basement myself, measure up, and make sure the main floor is properly supported and level. the support posts for the main beam could well have drooped due to soil compression. if the roof peak looks "swaybacked" you definitely have issues that may be huge to correct.
anything exterior that gets opened up should be insulated. this is a place where I'd consider iso spray foaming, because your tarpaper weathershield outside is probably long decayed.
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Before you start making any changes, I'd follow the ideas expressed by swschrad. Because the house was originally built in 1890, added to in 1960, and updated in the 1970's, it would suggest that some changes may have been made structurally which today are sagging because of poor structural support of some integral members or damage from wood rot, etc. In other words some load bearing beams may be undersized by today's standards and need to be reinforced or replaced and some load bearing walls may have been removed and new supports need to be added to correct structural defects to prevent further sagging and transfer the loads properly to the foundation.
Some of these issues may be seen in the basement by examining the foundation, the floor joists and support posts that are present there as well as the services of water, electricity and heating/AC. If there is a second floor the ceiling on the first floor may hide these changes and may need to be opened to determine if there are issues that need to be addressed and changes made which in turn would require that some walls be opened to allow these changes to be made. If there are additional floors again their ceiling may need to be opened in various areas to correct issues. It may also be possible to see where changes are needed if access is available to the attic so that it may be examined to note where changes were made which may need upgrading below to correct issues that are noted and present there.
Without knowledge of how secure the structure is and how to improve and make the changes that are needed structurally and safely, you would be wise to consider hiring a reputable contractor to examine your home and make itemized recommendations of these structural changes as well as their costs. In this way you will have a sound structure with which you can continue to improve on in those areas where you feel comfortable handling yourself. I see no sense spending money to make the structure look good if the structure is not sound and restored to a firm state. This also allows you a chance to consider changing the layout of some rooms where two rooms may become one with a walk in closest or an master en suite. Any interior changes in floor plan you may desire to make become possible with an understanding of the structural integrity of the building.
These are some thoughts to consider.
Was any type of an inspection done before you bought the home?
Got some pictures.
Did it get inspected for insect infestation?
Most of my business years ago was restoring 100 plus year old houses.
Most common things I would find when someone "remodeled" is drywall behind tiled bath areas.
Supporting walls that got removed without proper support measures taken.
Termite and powder post bettle damage.
Undersized and spaned floor joist.
No footings under support post that someone just stuck in there to prop the flooring up.
Lack of or way under insulated.
Old owner tells you the wiring has been up graded but still find live old Knob and tube wiring or where someone just changed the outlets to three prong when there is no ground (illegal to do so)
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