What You Need To Know Before Renovating A Heritage Property

A heritage property is any property that the government considers worth preserving because of historical importance, or architecture or unique landscaping. They have a certain character and feel that attract higher prices, and often tasteful buyers. A heritage property comes with a special, but important responsibility, that is, to preserve the ‘heritage’ of the building.

As special as living in a heritage property might seem, they are usually so old that many areas need renovation. Renovating a heritage property can be equal parts exciting (for obvious reasons) and frustrating, because of all the restrictions that come with it. Here is what you need to know before you plan any renovations for your heritage property:

Renovation Approvals From Local Or Heritage Council

Heritage properties fall under the jurisdiction of either a local heritage panel, or a state or federal heritage panel, depending upon their historical significance. For instance, a property with nationwide importance and relevant history falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Heritage Panel.

The government authorities usually encourage renovation projects, as they help in maintaining the functionality and usability of the properties. Just find out for what the property was heritage listed. For instance, if it is the architecture, you just have to leave that out of your renovation plans and are free to renovate the interiors. Sometimes, the owners are only obligated to maintain a specific section of the property.


In most cases, extensions are allowed, provided that the material used for extension, be similar to what has been used in the original building. The architecture and design should also match the architecture of the heritage building.

If you are planning on adding something to an existing heritage property, it is advisable to check with your local councils if you need to imitate any styles of architecture or design.


Asbestos was a widely used building material between 1919 and late 1980s. Exposure to asbestos can cause permanent damage to health. Check with your city council if asbestos has been used in your property, and if so, how can you go about renovating it without putting anyone’s health at risk.

Lead paint was also widely used until the 1980s, and can be harmful or toxic. There are a number of products and finishes to get around it. Ask your local hardware store about these products and techniques. Further, as far as financial safety is concerned, there must be a home warranty insurance in place to have you covered should things go south.

Making It Livable

While it is true heritage properties carry a unique aura and character, it would be impossible to live in one without proper electrical wiring or wifi.

Upgrading wiring is imperative if you want to make your heritage listed property livable, but refrain from doing so yourself. As we all know, wiring usually runs inside wall cavities and you might end up damaging one of the walls. It is best to use the services of a professional that can get the job done without damaging any parts of the property.

Kitchen And Bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are almost always exempt from renovation constraints. These are the best areas to accommodate modern styles with the existing heritage designs. Try to use minimalistic designs to maintain, and perhaps enhance the character of the property.


In conclusion, I would like to remind the readers that a heritage property can be like a double edged sword, especially when it comes to renovating one. It is your responsibility to maintain the building style and heritage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to live in poor conditions or compromise on your tastes. All that it requires is a little bit of creativity, that allows you to make additions while still preserving the essence of the property.

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