Renovating an older home can be difficult–especially if you haven’t had prior experience. Older homes have plenty of character. Detailing in woodwork, moldings, and other unique features are hard to execute authentically in newer homes. They also present some pretty unique challenges.

Renovating an older home is anything but a straightforward endeavor. It’s a project that is often filled with unexpected issues and surprises. Check out our top tips below.


Research Your Home’s History

Doing the proper research on your home is important, but it might make your aesthetic decisions more difficult. You may initially have plans in mind, but once you learn of historic design elements or architectural details, you’ll be more inclined to preserve and restore them instead. Fret not, however. Reinventing historical details or home building techniques that will often add value to your home.


Beware of Heavy-handed DIY

DIY is a trend that’s here to stay. With an array of home improvement television shows and YouTube channels, homeowners are choosing to try their hand at home improvement. While this can be a cost-saving and fun experience, it’s also a risk where homeowners might bite off more than they can handle.

Especially in older homes, it’s a better idea to leave more difficult home remodeling projects to a professional. Common issues DIYers run into when remodeling an older home include:

  • Electrical: Older homes sometimes can’t support the electrical output of new appliances
  • Plumbing: Galvanized pipes in the home or sewer lines (common before 1960) more easily clog or wear out
  • Dangerous Painting or Varnishing: Older paints might contain harmful substances such as lead. While they are not necessarily harmful until they are broken down, they can be volatile once stripped or chipped away. 
  • Environmental Issues: Foundational issues or structural damage over time can lead to radon, asbestos, mold, dry rot, and other environmental problems that were once not as easily detected in homes. 


Thoughtful Additions 

The floor plans of many older homes are intentionally set and planned. This can make a home addition that flows well with the rest of the house difficult to design. Many homes make the mistake of adding square footage that, although functional, feels awkward to the rest of the home. This can lower the resale value of the home, even though you are adding space.

Boosting Energy Efficiency 

Perhaps the most important issue in renovating an older home is improving energy efficiency. Older homes are notorious energy hogs. They can be drafty and are not equipped with the latest green building materials and appliances. Switching to blow-in cellulose insulation, for example, is a great way to upgrade the energy efficiency of your home in place of fiberglass rolls.


Renovating a home of any size or age is no easy task. While it might be exciting (even necessary for some homeowners, it can also be a cause for major concerns. Put your home improvement project in the hands of some of Central Minnesota’s most experienced and trusted contracts. Contact Minnesota Home Improvements to learn more.