Home Restore vs. Rehab: What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

Restoring versus rehabbing an old home

Photo via detroit.curbed.com

When it comes to fixing up an old home, there are a lot of things to consider. Perhaps the most important decision, however, is choosing whether to rehabilitate or restore the property (yes, there is a difference). So how do you know which approach is the right one to take? Below, we’ve shared a list of tips to help you decide, courtesy of Julia Rocchi for SavingPlaces.org. Good luck!

  1. Identify the factors that will shape your decision: In order to decide whether to restore or rehab your home, Rocchi says you need to understand its history, architecture, and the present condition of materials, finishes, and systems. Other things to consider include your personal lifestyle, local historic district designations, building codes, property insurance and other regulatory or financial considerations.
  2. Review the house’s history: Rocchi says that if the house has historical significance – for example, someone famous lived there or an important event occurred at the residence – you should consider restoring the house to that period.
  3. Know what “restore” means: Restoring means returning the interior and exterior appearance of a home to a particular date or time period, says Rocchi. Strict restorations involve removing anything that was not present during the period chosen and are rare. Most owners opt to maintain modern systems such as plumbing and “sympathetically designed changes” that add to the history of the home, Rocchi says.
  4. Know what “rehabilitate” means: Rehabilitating a home means “to make it useful and functional for contemporary living while preserving important historic and architectural features.”
  5. Choose your approach: The major difference between restoring or rehabbing a home, says Rocchi, is to either exactly duplicate a particular period or focus on preserving a sense of the changes that have occurred throughout the life of the home.

For the rest of Rocchi’s tips, click here to read her article in its entirety.

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