A period property, full of period features, is the ideal home for many of us.
Sadly, many of these properties have lost features such as wooden sash windows, cornicing, tiling, cast iron baths and original floorboards. There was a time during the 60s and 70s when the tendency was to rip everything out, leaving many period homes without their original elements.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has even published a guide to the top ten crimes committed against period homes.
It is not just missing features that will devalue your home. Poor maintenance and shoddy repairs are equally as bad and can damage the structure of the building, according to RICS. Among the top crimes are using the wrong materials, such as concrete instead of lime mortar to repair cornicing or brickwork; allowing windows and doors to rot; and removing fireplaces and chimneys without providing the correct structural support.
Choosing a builder or contractor who is inexperienced in period property is another way to potentially damage your property. Some of the skills required are very specialist and most builders will not have experience of techniques such as re-thatching a roof.
Adding unnecessary or unsuitable features will also damage your property’s aesthetic appeal. An original cast iron bath might be perfect in a Georgian or Victorian house, but poor-quality window frames or ‘period-style’ doors will do you no favours.
Sympathetic treatment of the architecture does not mean living without the conveniences of modern life, but do think about where satellite dishes, drainpipes, powerlines, light switches, smoke detectors and burglar alarms are going to be positioned and try to minimise their impact. Consider consulting an experienced contractor for invaluable advice.
Architectural salvage yards
There is a thriving architectural salvage industry in the UK and these salvage yards are rich sources of anything from floorboards and bricks to ranges and doors. Genuine pieces, such as original cast iron baths from Wilsons Yard, will add value and appeal to your home.
You are, of course, entitled to do what you like to your home as long as it complies with building regulations and your house is not listed; however, do think long and hard about any changes and whether they are likely to permanently reduce the value of your home.