Remodeling historic homes to preserve their history requires hiring the right contractors and architects. Renovating a historic home is a house undertaking, depending on the scope of the project and condition of the property. Because of this, the project’s success depends greatly on finding and hiring the right contractor and architect. Finding the right contractor for your home takes time and consideration.
First, research local companies that offer the type of work you need. If you know of any recently renovated historic homes, try to get in touch with the homeowner or property manager to see which companies they hired. Some properties might even have a yard sign, depending on how recently the work was done.
Word of mouth can be a great tool for finding companies. Take a walk and see if you run into any neighbors who have had work done or know of a reliable and trustworthy company.
Additional resources include your State Historic Preservation Officer, local historical societies, homeowners and even house museums, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Each of these sources should be able to recommend an architect and construction company that have experience working on historic homes.
Some communities have building preservation boards, which would be an additional source for finding a contractor. The more credibility from a community, the better. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) will also be able to provide and recommend a list of companies approved for the preservation of old houses or buildings.
Keep in mind that in order to preserve a historic home, you will likely need both an architect and a contractor. If you know of an architect you would like to work with, ask them for a recommendation for a contractor.
Once you have a list, begin calling companies to schedule appointments. Be sure to take notes for each. Check their websites for testimonials and reviews. Most companies will have pictures of projects, so don’t be afraid to ask for those. You should also ask for a list of references. This is a major project, so ask any question that comes to mind!
Check for insurance, licensing and bonding, as well as certifications and years in business. The company should always provide a written contract, and they should always pull any necessary permits.
Checking a contractor’s references is an essential step before making home improvement hiring decisions. Ask these important questions before remodeling. Discuss the project details like timeline, budget and what steps the complete preservation of your home will take. During this process, make sure you feel comfortable with the company. If red flags ever arise, eliminate them from your list.
Although there will be many steps and details to finding the right remodeling contractor for your historic home renovation, in the end it will be more than worth it.