Renovating an old house or building a new one, which is better?

Foolproof planning is required to prevent overshooting of the budget while renovating an old house. Representative image, courtesy: Nature's Charm/Shutterustock

People often decide to renovate their homes when the old structure begins to show signs of decay or when the family members get unhappy with the congested spaces that do not suit the modern lifestyle. Cracks on the walls and the concrete ceiling, damp and moldy walls, damaged rafters due to old roofing tiles or sheets and leaky roof are some of the indicators that time had begun taking a toll on the old house. Lack of space and facilities is another major reason to dismantle some existing features or add new ones. For some people, it might be extremely confusing whether to renovate the house or build a brand new one as they might be emotionally attached to the house where they grew up in. The basic idea behind renovation or giving a facelift to the old structure is to upgrade it to suit the modern times and lifestyle.


It is vital to plan and allot a budget once you have decided to renovate the house. In many instances, people have felt that it was better to construct a brand new house than giving a facelift to the older one. While it isn’t a task to estimate the budget for a new house, it takes expertise in engineering and experience to determine the expenses for renovation.

It is significant to prepare the plan of the existing house before deciding about building additional facilities or dismantling the existing ones. The expenses would differ when concrete slabs are to be connected or when roofing tiles need to be connected with sheets or concrete. Expertise to decide whether the redundant walls have to be removed or whether they could be made sturdier would help in anticipating the expenses. Such anticipations and planning would help in keeping a tab on the budget.

Having a thorough inspection of the old house would give an idea about the materials that could be reused. Budget wouldn’t overshoot if materials like doors and windows, if they suit the new design and measurements, could be reused. Even the old bricks could be reused after pest control treatment. In case there isn’t anything that could be reused, then these items could be sold to scrap buyers on a reasonable rate.

Foolproof planning is required to prevent overshooting of budget while renovating an old house. Structures should be added or dismantled only on the basis of a proper and well executed plan. There is no point in retaining a useless area or structure just for the sake of retaining it. Besides toppling the budget, these unnecessary structures would do nothing to improve the aesthetics of the house.


Proper and thorough inspections should be done in case you wish to retain the foundation of the old house. Check for cracks or any other factors that could affect the strength of the foundation. It must be decided whether the foundation should be made sturdier by adding pillar foundation or any other methods, before finalizing the budget estimate.

It would be better to redo the wiring and plumbing works before re plastering the old walls. In case of old white washed walls, it should be scraped off before cement plastering. The rafters for the concrete roofing should be installed only after strengthening the foundation and the walls. Adding a beam belt over the old wall would make the new concrete roofing sturdier and durable too. Moreover, it is vital to decide whether the old septic tank, water tank or waste water tank need to be replaced, before finalizing the plan.

One could always do a reassessment of the plan based on the rules of vastusastra before renovating old structures. As the basements and attics in the traditional structures are usually built on the basis of vastusastra, it would be wise to reassess such factors to avoid difficulties in the future.

Information courtesy: Srikant Pangapad 

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