Month: August 2014

Best Options For Restoring Old Auckland Villas

Best Options For Restoring Old Auckland Villas

Buying an old home instead of a newly built one offers the advantages of character and style. Old homes have something that make people turn their heads. They carry the spirit of their times, and as a result give us romantic dreams of times gone by. Nonetheless, buying an old home comes with additional expenses triggered by the various restoration and renovation works. You cannot just buy it and move in, because you are already used to today’s level of comfort and safety. You need to upgrade your old home to the modern living conditions that make it habitable. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when buying and restoring an old villa or home:

1. How good is the structure in itself?

You need to make sure the foundation is solid, that there are no water infiltration in the basement and no cracks in the concrete. Very old houses may need the foundation to be rebuilt and the basement floor changed. However, some houses may be strong enough and only need a renovation, without the need for radical measures.

2. What is the state of the plumbing system?


Renovated villa


It is very important to assess correctly the state of the pipes, because you are going to use that water for cooking and drinking. You don’t want to ingest lead which is what many old water systems were made from. Therefore you should check whether the pipes are made from lead. If they are, you have two options: replace the entire system or install a filtration device to remove lead from the water. A plumber or a restoration specialist will be able to estimate the efforts and the costs of each type of work, so that you can make an informed choice.

3. What is the state of the electrical system?

Electricity is a must-have in our modern world. We have lots of electrical appliances and devices therefore we need to make sure our house can support them all without problems. Older electrical circuits were not designed for such heavy duty appliances and this is one of the reasons for house fires. Therefore you must have the wiring checked by a qualified electrician and perhaps replace the wiring. You can do this only for the kitchen or you can do it for the whole house. Again, a specialist could assess your actual circuits, the power outlets and everything related, then make an upgrade plan to turn your home into a safe one from electrical point of view.

4. How does the exterior look?

The exterior of the house may need renovation. That’s normal for old homes. However, you need to take into consideration that there may be rules and laws that demand you restore the house in its original style. Sometimes you are limited even in what type of materials you are allowed to use. If you intend to do exterior renovation works, be it we talk about the walls or the roof, you must obtain all legal approvals needed to proceed with your project. If you don’t do this, you risk a big fine.

5. What to do about the windows?

Old windows have a special charm, but they lack the comfort and thermal insulation offered by modern double-glazing ones. When buying an old home, you have the option of restoring the old windows and insulate them properly or to remove them and replace them with modern ones. If you go for complete replacement, you may consider paying a bit more for making them imitate the original look. It is possible, if you install the double-glazing glass panes into solid wood frames. Nonetheless, you need to keep in mind this option will take more money out of your pocket than the vinyl frames everybody uses today.

Renovating an Auckland villa


As a conclusion, it is a wonderful idea for villa restorations, but you need to be prepared to spend a significant budget for making it habitable. If you are going to undertake a major restoration of a few rooms then it will be a good idea to completely replace the old plumbing and electrical systems. You will have a few walls taken out so why not endure a small amount of additional mess by having the entire infrastructure brought up to modern codes of compliance. Any future buyer will want to see that this has been done so take the plunge and get everything sorted at one go.

For advice and guidance on prices for restoring an old villa in Auckland, restoration specialists such as Repair and Restore Ltd can help.

Major Renovation Problems For Older Auckland Homes

Major Renovation Problems For Older Auckland Homes

Many homeowners prefer older homes to new ones for many reasons. Often the primary reason is the craftsmanship of builders of the house. Older homes are generally stronger compared to the modern homes. They have better floors and wood trims which have an antique value too. It is not possible to create the patina that you get from old and well-used wood. The structure of such a home may feel more solid and settled than a modern home for that matter. But the problem arises when it comes to repairing and renovating an older home. An older home can present new challenges to the homeowner. Some of the major renovation problems for older homes are discussed below.

Auckland villa renovationWorking on older homes may be more expensive if you are planning to maintain the authenticity of the original construction. This is one important factor that should be considered by anyone planning to renovate an older home. There are many other challenges that should be faced if you are planning to renovate your home. Water, foundation cracks, electrical wiring and circuits, windows and even asbestos are some of the major ones which confront homeowners when looking at renovating an older place.

The moisture presence is one of the biggest challenges in renovating an old house. In Auckland people expect older houses to be damp but because of the climate. But over the years, the damp and rain can enter the wood itself which will ultimately lead to rot and decay of the timbers. Obviously this can lead to major problems with the wooden frames and structure of the house. This is despite some of the good old native timbers that have been used. If the building is not ventilated properly then moisture will stay inside the rooms and cause decay in the timber. Unfortunately, many old Auckland homes were constructed so that air flows were not built in to the structure which led to poor ventilation and the rot we often come across.

Even though old homes may have been built better, their foundations will often not withstand the test of time. Older homes that have been in existence for more than 40-50 years will not have foundation sealants on the outside. This is one problem the homeowner will have to face when it comes to renovating older homes today. Cracked foundations are another common issue in renovating this type of home. The concrete piles decay over time and it is very common to see foundation pilings that are cracked or worse have pieces of concrete fallen away. Repairing the foundation pillars is a difficult job, one which a keen amateur is unlikely to be able to accomplish. This link to NZ Department of Housing gives some guidelines about the current standards for foundations.


The other major challenge is in renovating the electric circuits of an older home. In the good old days, grounded electrical outlets were not required by code, or they were only required where water was present such as kitchens and bathrooms. But now the regulations have changed. If you are not sure whether the outlets were grounded, you will have to check it first. It is always better to get an electrician to verify this. In fact any electrical work should only be carried out by a qualified electrical service company or a sub-contractor to a house renovation builder.


Major renovations Auckland

Green building – image ddpavumba

The windows are the other factor that should be taken into consideration when renovating an older house. The old single-pane windows are hard to find and quite expensive. Plus, as you are renovating the house you might as well take advantage of modern glazing standards and install the latest double-glazing windows which are much more energy efficient. Installing new windows is difficult job since you need to ensure that the space is supported while the window frame is removed and the new one put in its place.

These are some of the major challenges that will surface when you try to renovate an older home. There are other issues such as water tanks, the style of the cabinets in the kitchen, how much space is wasted due to too many walls and many other aspects you inherit from older buildings.


As you can see, renovating an older home is not s simple building job that any contractor can handle. You need to talk to a house renovations company like Repair & Restore Ltd. They can help you through the renovation process from the design to the final redecorating. You can find more details at their website. This is why, you need to consult a home renovation specialist and get a comprehensive estimate from any major renovations builder in Auckland.