Renovating your ancestral home: 4 questions to ask yourself

Acquiring and renovating an ancestral home is a large-scale project. It is sometimes the project of a lifetime or the business of an entire family. Victorian, mansard-roofed, colonial or industrial-era, these picturesque houses have specific features that should be respected and preserved. When the wear and tear of time has affected certain materials, it is therefore important to ask the right questions.

Are we free to change everything?

The renovation of ancestral homes is often dictated by the municipality, especially if the buildings are part of Quebec’s heritage. The owner must contact the City to find out what he or she is allowed to do. Often, municipalities will want to keep the same type of windows and doors and the same way of cutting them, so you have to imitate what already exists.

Renovate or replace?

When you can’t replace the windows and doors in an old house, you often have to install them using a method called insertion. In this case, all the woodwork in the house is kept intact and the doors and windows in the woodwork are removed. Usually these were done at the same time as the doors and windows, because the entire house was built on site.

If you have the option of replacing the entire window, this is preferable. The advantage of standard installation – not insertion – is that you are able to make a good insulation between the structure of the house and the window. Unfortunately, the insertion method does not allow access to the house structure.

How to harmonize the old and the new?

Renovation is often a matter of daring. When conditions permit, the modern and the old can make a fabulous marriage. If you can, don’t hesitate to diversify the materials. Stainless steel, for example, combines perfectly with stone. You can also find materials or shapes that harmonize with what was done in the past. For example, Vaillancourt Doors and Windows offers architectural windows inspired by the Victorian style. For inspiration and sound advice, we invite you to explore the site of friends and owners of old Qu├ębec homes.

What benefits can I get?

It is in your best interest to renovate the materials of your ancestral home, especially your doors and windows. You will be able to save energy, thus considerably reducing your electricity bills. Also, your home will be safer, more comfortable and warmer.

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