7 Crucial Things to Know Before Renovating an Old Farmhouse

7 Crucial Things to Know Before Renovating an Old Farmhouse
  • Opening Intro -

    When city stresses start to accumulate and the daily grind becomes a little too much, we all hanker for a little countryside peace and quiet. 


It’s true that leaving the city for a country life can save you a small fortune in rent, travel, and supplies, but at what cost? These are the things you need to consider before you buy a quaint old farmhouse to satisfy your dreams of pastoral bliss.

1. An Old Farmhouse Is a Commitment

Old houses are full of quirks, so if you value all the mod cons, you may have to make some adjustments. Some of the most charming features of your country retreat might not lend themselves to this century’s heating and cooling innovations.

For example, those lovely characterful windows are probably single-paned. This means you’ll either have to live with the winter chills or invest in costly modern replacements.

Many farmhouses have undergone decades of add-ons and extensions. So, supporting walls in unexpected places could foil your open-plan aspirations.

Get a building expert to look at your old farmhouse plans before you get your hopes up, or better yet, before you buy the house.

Most farmhouses come with the benefit of a few acres of rolling lands too. Maintaining these lands is another long-term commitment.

While preowned farm equipment, like a small tractor, might help lessen the financial commitment involved in this, you’ll need to dedicate a lot of time to this aspect too.

2. Get Expert Help

Fixing up an old house isn’t a job for the average weekend DIYer. If you want to move in as soon as possible and avoid costly re-dos, rather hire contractors to do most of the work.

Be sure to find a contractor and inspector with experience in farmhouse renovations to give you an idea of the costs involved before you get started.

These professionals will understand the importance of preserving as much of the dwelling’s original character as possible too. Restoring items instead of ripping things out can often save you money and help retain the elements that attracted you to the house in the first place.

3. Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

All houses have their deep dark secrets and you’re bound to come across some surprises once you start your farmhouse restoration. Any house built prior to 1978 is bound to have lead paint on the walls, or asbestos lurking somewhere.

Get an inspector to check for these poisons before you start your renovations. You’ll need expert help to eradicate as safely as possible.

Floor joists in old houses are often uneven, crooked walls and rusted pipes abound, and hidden water damage is commonplace. There’s a good chance the electrical wiring system isn’t on par with modern building codes either. It could even be dangerous, so get the wiring checked right away.

country style kitchen faucetcountry style lighting

      some country styled kitchen ideas to consider      

You’re bound to come across these aspects as you go along rather than before you start, so pad your budget in anticipation of unexpected costs.

4. Consider Resale Value

Even if you intend to age in place surrounded by rolling fields and farm animals, you should always consider the resale value of your farmhouse while conducting repairs.

Research how much other renovated farmhouses in your area are selling for and let those figures guide your budget. Your house renovation may be a labor of love, but it should also make sound financial sense.

This outlook will help you stick to what’s really important and avoid spending money on unnecessary refurbishments that won’t add any real value.

5. First Things First

It makes financial sense to renovate your farmhouse in stages. For starters, you won’t know what you really need until you’ve lived in it for a while.

Yet, there are some aspects of a farmhouse renovation that you shouldn’t put off. If any of the following things need attention, you should address them at once:

  • The roof
  • Windows
  • Masonry
  • The kitchen
  • Electrical and plumbing issues

It’s frightening how many old houses have defective masonry. Old style builders often used weak, sandy mortar in their constructions. Over time, these buildings may have become structurally unsound in places. Check your chimneys and fireplaces first for signs that your old house needs another coat of mortar.

country styled dining tablecountry styled stools

      some country dining furniture ideas to consider      

If you notice any cracks or crumbling, get an expert assessment done. Fortunately, it’s a surprisingly simple fix, but you’ll need a specialist contractor to sort it out before it becomes a danger to your family.

6. Expect Delays

Delays are inevitable when renovating a house, but they’re even more so when you’re based in a rural area. Things take time in the country. Materials could take weeks to arrive from the city center.

Plan for the worst whenever you’re making a change. When you live in a remote area, finding new pieces for your home isn’t as simple as popping down to the nearest homewares store.

It could take weeks for you to find the perfect replacement for that old bath or vanity and even more weeks for it to arrive on site. Always have a backup plan when you’re replacing necessary items.

If you aren’t living in the house while renovations are taking place, you’ll avoid this issue. However, you’ll still have to endure hours of driving back and forth to let contractors in or to inspect their work.

7. Leave Some Room for Improvement

When you’re planning your farmhouse restoration, remember its quirky charms that first appealed to you. Try to retain some of the imperfections that give the home it’s character.

You don’t want to end up with a city-style house at the end of it all. Rather make the best of crooked floors or oddly shaped rooms by embracing them in your design.

other valuable tips:

Better and Better

There’s no doubt that renovating an old farmhouse brings a huge sense of satisfaction and long-lasting rewards. With a little common sense, caution, and expert help when needed, you could end up with the happily-ever-after you always imagined.

Keep reading our blog for more information on how to create the home of your dreams.

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