Renovating History: Best Changes to Make When Upgrading an Old Building

If you’re in the market for commercial property, you’ve probably considered buying and renovating an old building. The costs and work associated with it may have pushed you to construct a new one on a fresh patch of land instead. For some people, it’s more economical to demolish an old building to make way for a new one. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, however, says that these aging structures may be worth saving.

The organization’s article, called “Six Practical Reasons to Save Old Buildings,” stated that old buildings hold intrinsic value, which is the buyer’s perceived value of the property. The reason behind this claim is that some aging buildings are made with valuable and better quality materials than newer ones, according to the author. Some developers tear down structural walls and floors made with rare wood or countertops crafted with fine marble. Plus, old buildings are a great way to showcase their city’s identity and heritage.

If you’re convinced about upgrading an aging tower, here are steps you should take to keep it up to spec.

Weatherproof It

Though old buildings have withstood the test of time, they’re still worth weatherproofing to preserve their look and keep your tenants safe. One way to do this is by making sure you update the building’s insulation. Insulation materials like spray polyurethane foam have high heat resistance and can act as a shield against moisture and air. It also helps to replace the weatherstripping on doors and windows to avoid any leaks during rainy days. Strategically installing metal honeycomb panels to the interior or exterior walls may help in keeping mold-forming moisture out of your building.

Make it Greener

You’re already making a sustainable decision when you upgrade an old building instead of constructing a new one. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, preserving aging structures lessens construction and demolition waste. And because you don’t have to tear down and replace an existing building, it saves energy.

However, there are still ways to make your tower greener. You can add solar panels to the top of your building to save even more energy. If the building has large window openings, keep them. They’ll reduce the need for interior lighting during the day.  Install fixtures, toilets, and urinals that have WaterSense labels from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conserve water. You’ll have a better reputation with your tenants and your community when you’re making efforts to make your property sustainable.

Make it Quake Resistant


If there’s any flaw that aging structures have, it’s their susceptibility to major damage during earthquakes. Don’t wait until your local government inspects your building’s structural integrity. Hire an earthquake retrofit contractor to assess your property and make the necessary changes to make it quake-proof. This is essential if your building is in an area near a fault line — like Los Angeles.

While there’s nothing like seeing your dream building unfold right before your eyes, it’s not always the eco-friendly and culturally conscious decision to make. Buying and upgrading an old structure is not only sustainable, but it also preserves historic architecture and materials. You’re not only investing in a business, but you’re also investing in the city’s identity.

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