I thought it would be helpful for my readers if I created an old house resources page full of the things I use the most while restoring and researching old homes.
If it’s on this page I either have it in my own home, use in my shop, or its a product that I have created specifically to help readers like you.
I’ll continually be adding things to this page so it is a good idea to bookmark it and come back often.
My Most Recommended
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and if you decide to make a purchase I will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you). Please understand that I have personal experience with all of these companies and products, and I recommend them because I feel they will help you just as they have helped me. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel they will provide the same benefit to you.
Indow Windows - These interior storm windows were specifically designed for historic homes. I have them on my own house and they truly are all that they claim to be. They block 50-70% of outside noise. They seal leaky old windows making them about as efficient as double-paned windows. They require no modifications to your original windows. In the end they save me money on my utility bill and look great. They’re worth every dollar!
SimpliSafe – This is hands down the best alarm system for old houses. Simplisafe is a home security system that doesn’t require drilling holes in your window trim and running wires that tangle with ropes and pulleys. There are no holes punched in plaster walls either. It’s a wireless system that you can install yourself in just a few minutes and monitoring is only $14.99 a month! That about half the price of the other alarm companies I’ve checked.
Living in the Past - This is my full-length book about the why and how-to of old home repair. I have read dozens of books about restoring old homes and there were two things that I always felt were missing. First, the “Why.” Why were things built the way they were and why did they change? Secondly, I wanted a book that walks you thru the most common repairs needed for a historic house on a level that makes sense to a DIYer and not just a structural engineer. This book is the answer to both of those!
Working Windows - I wish I had written this book! This a fantastic book that covers all the ins and outs of repairing and restoring historic wood windows. Terry Meany has decades of experience and discusses everything from weatherstripping to reglazing. You’ll learn a lot from this book and I keep it on my bookshelf as a reference when I run into something new. Chances are it’s talked about in this book if it deals with historic wood windows.
The Craftsman’s Guide: Restoring Steel Windows - Steel casement windows are all over historic buildings in this country. Surprisingly, there was a not a single book covering the restoration of these windows. Until now. This guide is filed with step-by-step instructions and tons of pictures to teach you everything you need to know about restoring steel windows. I outline best practices for lasting repairs, discuss materials, and warn of potential issues to avoid.
The Craftsman’s Guide: Building Restoration Plan - I get asked all the time where people should start renovating. A lot of folks think it’s the foundation, but if you read this guide you’d now better! This is a step-by-step plan for your project, complete with a printable checklist for your refrigerator. A successful renovation is all in the planning, and proper planning saves you time and money!
Free Online Guides
- What Style is My Old House - So many people buy an old house and then wonder, “What kind of house did I just buy?” Is it a Bungalow, a Victorian, a Tudor, etc.?? There are so many styles and so many differences in the items that belong to each style. Would you renovate a Craftsman Bungalow with super ornate ginger breading? Hardly! So, why not use this handy guide to the most common architectural styles of historic homes in America. You’ll find all the info you need to renovate your old home the right way!
- How To: Repair Old Windows - Historic windows are one of the most talked about topics when it comes to old homes. Should you save them? If so how do you fix them? How can you make them efficient? Well, the answers are here. Everything you need to know about old windows is right here. From their history to their design to the inner most workings and how to bring them back to life on your own home. Learn all the materials and skills you’ll need to bring your old windows back to life.
- Historic Paint Colors - I get so many questions about painting an old house it’s crazy! From techniques to design it’s all covered in this resource page just for my readers. I’ve listed the tools and techniques right here to deal with proper paint removal and prep. You’ll learn how to deal with oil-based and latex paints. And I cover the most valuable info of all…how to pick a color scheme and make a solid plan for a historically appropriate paint job. I’ve even included links to all the major paint manufacturers who carry historic paint palettes.
- Historic Home Tips - Owning an old home comes with some unique challenges. In this series of posts I try to give you answers to some of the most important things you need to know. Some will be answers to questions you have been searching for and others will be things you may never have thought about. Either way it’s information you should know.