Old House Restoration Vs. Scraping It and Starting From Scratch in Boulder, Colorado

Old House Restoration in Boulder, Colorado

Every day, property owners all across the country make decisions on how they’re going to upgrade their homes. For some, a simple facelift will do just fine – replacing flooring, a fresh coat of paint, maybe even new countertops or cabinets, for example. However, for others the renovations need to be much more extensive. Occasionally, a homeowner will have to decide whether they want to renovate their entire Boulder, Colorado property, or whether it’s time to take the bold move of scraping it and starting from scratch. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some things to consider when it comes to old house restoration and remodeling. 

First, What Do We Mean By Scraping and Starting Over?

Put simply, scraping is when much of the house is either gutted or demolished entirely to make room for improvements. This could take different forms depending on the state of the home and what your plans are to rebuild. We might start by tearing out everything except the exterior walls, which would let us completely redesign the layout of the home. In other cases, we might bulldoze everything – right down to the foundation. It all depends on what your vision is for the property going forward.

For a Successful Old House Restoration, We’ll Start With Your Vision

Buying a fixer-upper in need of a little work can be both intimidating and exciting. While the amount of work and the financial investment might seem a little daunting, the possibilities the home presents are also nearly endless! When we take on a large project like an old house restoration or scrape and rebuild, we will start with your vision for the home to help us decide which course of action to take. 

First, we will consider the current layout of the house. If it works well for you and your future goals, then we will probably go the remodeling route. However, there are some issues that are better solved by scraping and starting from scratch, including:

  • Foundation issues – if the home has serious problems with the foundation, they aren’t likely to be addressed in a simple remodel. In this case, it will always be better to scrape and start over so that the home can remain safe and in good shape.
  • Problems with the layout – odds are, this is a home that you’re taking and making completely your own. Since that’s the case, you may run into issues with the way the current home is laid out. If you find yourself wanting to move or take down multiple walls or move things like the kitchen and bathrooms, it is probably better in the end to scrape.
  • Outdated plumbing, wiring, or HVAC – even if they’ve been well taken care of, many old homes will, unsurprisingly, have old plumbing, wiring, or HVAC. To preserve the integrity of the house going forward, sometimes it’s necessary to redo all of those systems. If that’s the case, scraping will enable the craftsmen on the job to easily access and fix any issues, and put in a whole new system if needed. 
  • Ceilings that are too low – while this isn’t the trickiest issue to fix, it’s nearly impossible to do so without taking the entire roof off of the house. You’ll also probably have to raise the walls as well. Often, this calls for at least a partial scrape, if not more.
  • You want to add to the home – additions are built on to houses all the time. However, in a whole home renovation situation, they can be a double draw on your budget because they’re a hefty expense in addition to what you’ll already pay for renovations. In some cases, adding square footage to a home is easier when you scrape and start over (especially if you’d like to expand several rooms or areas, like the kitchen, master suite, or living areas.)

Evaluating Your Budget

It’s impossible to plan an old house restoration without considering the financial ramifications. Often, these homes are much more affordable upfront, but the purchase of the house by itself is only the beginning – especially when you plan to remodel or scrape the whole thing!

If you have a smaller budget or would like to spread your spending over time, remodeling is certainly the way to go. With this option, you can prioritize and focus on the most important areas first. Depending on the state of the home, you may even be able to live in it while doing renovations. 

Scraping a home is generally a one-time, large expense. It’s all-or-nothing, and will not be liveable during the time that it’s being rebuilt. If you have the money saved, it can be nice to simply get the project done in one go so that you can move forward with your plans for the property – whether that’s living there, renting it out, or selling it for a profit. 

If it’s speed you’re looking for, scraping is your friend. If you’d like a more budget-friendly option, we recommend going with a full home remodel instead.

What About Zoning Restrictions?

Sometimes a home or property is located in an area that has very specific zoning rules. Depending on the kinds of restrictions in place, this can make it very difficult to make serious changes to it, especially if you plan on expanding its footprint. If that’s the case, you may have no option but to remodel it instead. 

In addition, you might have to think about homeowner’s association rules as you’re weighing whether to scrape or remodel. Be sure you know all of the rules and potential restrictions before you make your choice (our experts at Blue Spruce can help you make sense of zoning rules and permitting processes!)

We’re Here to Help You Make the Right Decision

At Blue Spruce Construction, we recognize that making big decisions about your Boulder, Colorado home or property can be tough. We’re here to help in any way that we can, from consulting to design to full home remodels and rebuilds. If you have any questions, get in touch with us at (303) 652-1150!


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