What’s the Difference Between Building Restoration and Renovation?

When it comes to improving an existing structure, it’s easy to confuse a historic restoration with a building renovation. The primary difference between the two is adherence to historic accuracy. Depending on whether your priority is to preserve a building’s historic look and feel or improve it functionally while maintaining its charm, you and your general contractor will decide whether a restoration or renovation is right for you.

What is a historic restoration?

Restoring a building means bringing it back to its original, or at least a previous, appearance. Care will be taken to conceal modern updates like ventilation systems, electrical upgrades, or security improvements. A restored building can still function as a safe, modern space, but efforts to conceal upgrades will be factored into the budget. 

Building restorations also involve repairs to one-of-a-kind features like antique fixtures or stained glass windows. Often, these repairs will cost more than simply replacing with modern, readily available materials. This is a key area to decide if a restoration or a renovation is the right way to go. In some cases, historic materials simply aren’t practical, safe, or allowed by building codes. Lead paint and asbestos insulation, for example, will be replaced with new materials without changing the look of the building. 

What is a building renovation?

Renovation involves updating and improving what’s already in the building. While the overall layout will stay mostly the same, walls will be refreshed with new paint, floors may be switched from tile to hardwood, and lighting fixtures may be replaced with new units. Often in renovations, historic charm is maintained by selecting certain antique elements to retain. This could be a particular stained glass window, a carved banister, or an elegant fireplace mantle. These select features will be largely left alone while everything around them is updated with more modern materials and design elements. 

Choosing a renovation can help you meet functional and budget goals. The result can be a fresh, modern space completed with durable materials designed for commercial building demands. Often when an older building is being converted for use as modern office spaces, renovation is the way to go. Your general contractor can help you build a plan that meets your budget, while identifying key elements of the original structure to retain. With a renovation, you give new life to an aging structure. 

Is a restoration or renovation right for your next construction project?

Speak with a general contractor experienced in both restoration and renovation to decide the right path for your next project. You may find that you want to restore some elements of your building while renovating others. 

Balancing cost, quality, and time is key to achieving the result you want. With over 25 years of experience restoring and renovating buildings in Washington D.C. neighborhoods, we can help you understand your options and get your project started on the right foot with a solid plan.

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3 Reasons Spring is the Best Time for Construction Projects

Spring is the best time to start a new construction project or historic building renovation in Washington D.C. As the days get longer and the cherry blossoms get close to blooming, now’s the time to get your project on the books with your contractor. The schedule fills up fast this time of year. With longer days, warmer temperatures, and many people and organizations moving their winter plans into action, you can get ahead of the curve by giving us a call today.

 

Here are 3 reasons spring is the best time for construction in D.C.:

  • More time in the day

While changing the clocks didn’t actually give us an extra hour of daylight, the days are getting longer as we race toward summer. More daylight means more time to get work done on the construction site. This helps keep projects on schedule. Longer days also create wider windows for concrete to cure, a critical aspect of the early phases of construction. 

  • Warmer temperatures–but not too warm

Spring temperatures in the Washington D.C. area are a true Goldilocks zone. It’s warm enough to work with temperature-sensitive materials (like concrete, paint, etc.), but not too hot for those doing the work. Plus, snow and ice days are generally behind us. This eliminates a major disruption experienced during the winter months. 

  • Put your winter ideas into action

If you had a construction project in mind through the winter, you likely spent cold days indoors watching home restoration shows and scrolling through ideas online. Beginning a new project is exciting, and it’s only natural to research all of your options ahead of time. Now that spring is here, it’s time to make those dreams reality. Beginning your project now means you could be enjoying your new space by the time the next winter rolls around.

 

Put our experience on your side this spring as you launch your new project. Whether you’re breaking ground on new construction or restoring one of the D.C. area’s many historic churches or commercial buildings, we’ll partner with you through every every step. 

 

Got questions? Give us a call. Let’s chat about where you’re at in the planning phase, next steps to get your project underway, and what to expect in terms of time, budget, and project outcome. Spring is here–let’s build something together!

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Usource Construction Insight: Ask your contractor about these three things

Every construction project comes down to balancing quality, cost, and time. Consider these three competing variables deeply before undertaking any renovation or new building. Then, discuss your priorities with the contractor to ensure that your expectations are clear and understood before work begins. Your contractor should make sure that you, the client, understand how they plan to meet your expectations and goals as they relate to scheduling, budget, and quality. 

Construction is teamwork. On any given project, that team includes the property owner. Clear communication is key to keeping work on track, addressing challenges quickly, and adjusting as needed to meet expectations. 

Ask your your building contractor about these three things before work begins:

Quality

Make sure your contractor clearly understands the level of craftsmanship you expect. Ask about materials they’ll use and why they were selected for your project.

Cost

Always be very clear about your budget from the start. Your contractor needs to know what they’re working with financially to keep work on track and up to your expectations.

Time

Quality work can take time. Weather, logistics, and other unexpected disruptions can hold up work. Get an honest time estimate from your contractor, and make sure they’ll keep you informed about any unexpected delays that arise.

Got a project in mind? Give us a call at (301) 705-9814 to discuss options for your next building or restoration project. Here are some of our recent commercial projects.