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Heritage Home – Restore or Repair?

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in Design & Trends, Renovation, Variety

Heritage homes are both a challenge and enjoyment to have. They have historical and cultural significance that makes them more special than regular homes but it also comes with certain responsibilities. The most important thing an owner of a heritage home has to consider it’s whether to restore or repair its certain features.

The first thing an owner needs to understand is that this is a special home that will require restoration and repair differing from the one on regular homes. Because of this, the contractor has to be someone with expertise and knowledge in order to preserve their value. However, while the very process needs to be carefully implemented, the decision what kind of works to perform rests with the owners.

Therefore, if you have an old heritage home on your hands that could use a makeover here are some things to consider when wondering whether to restore or repair.   

Front yard
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Live on the property first

The only way to learn about the potential problems and quirks of the property is if you live there. Any decision regarding a heritage home will be difficult if you don’t know the property well. It will give you an insight on what to changeand in what way so you can both preserve the value of the home and make it safe.  

Moreover, it’s important when you do the works and stay at the property since every season has its challenges. Since usually, building work is done in spring and summer, you will most likely acquire the home in fall and, from then on, should spend time there. For example, heavy rains in the fall will tell you if you need to repair or restore a water ingress for the basement.

Safety first

Electrical wiringmay need a full restoration in order to make sure that heritage home is safe to live in. Moreover, electric and heating system has to comply with the latest regulations, but that doesn’t mean your property will lose its value. Basically, you will restore and improve the whole grid so it can withstand the current need for electrical power and allow you to have modern appliances.

When it comes to piping, the decision to restore or repair will entirely depend on the state of the whole water supply system and sewage. The leaks which can occur due to the damaged pipes can cause serious damage to the walls, foundations, and overall structure. Additionally, switches, sockets, and bathroom fittings can stay the same but only connected to new and improved electrical and piping system.

Respect its originality

There will be many original features on your heritage home that make her unique so you will have some tough decisions to make when it comes to restoration of repair. While tiles are intended to last for a century, they will deteriorate and create leaks inside the house thus endangering the structure. The best way to deal with this is by restoring roof heritage tiles and making sure that the building is protected for another 100 years.

When it comes to windows, you will have a big decision to make depending on the weather conditions and age of your heritage home. If the property has windows that are updated and not appropriate for the period it belongs to, you may have to restore the original ones. However, it’s a different story if the window frames are damaged but the glass is intact. In that case, you should repair them and keep the original glass since the way it was manufactured is also a historical testament.

However, if you have a brick or stone property built before the First World War, you will have to use lime mortar when restoring. This construction material allowed water to be absorbed in the façade and then evaporate, unlike modern principles which use barriers to keep moisture away. So, in order to preserve the properties of the heritage home, you will have to repair the damage rather than restore it.  

Respect the historical value

Before you can do any type of renovations, you will have to obtain the necessary permits from the local heritage council. Since heritage homesare protected by regulations, you will have to carefully plan any renovation, as well as present its necessity to the council in your appeal. The best way to approach this is by researching the history of the property and understanding its significance.

The value of a heritage home is more than its aesthetics and sometimes restoration can be an unnecessary costly choice that will diminish the property. Before you decide to remove original features or materials, you need to make sure that the end-result will respect the building’s history. Sometimes, a repair is just what a heritage home needs to be returned to its old glory.


Just like any project, renovating a heritage home will require planning and respecting certain recommendations in order to preserve its historical and cultural value. To restore or repair will be the main question which will highly depend on the budget, intentions, and type of works. In the end, it’s important to respect the original features of the home so it can continue to be a representation of passing moments in time.

Author Bio

Hannah Thomas is a gardening and home décor enthusiast. Garden is the place where she feels most comfortable, that’s why there are always a lot of books and empty coffee cups on the back porch.  Always learning, exploring and smiling. 

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