Working With AAHI

All Around Home Improvements does specialize in old house restoration; however, we have also remodeled many kitchens, baths and basements for our satisfied customers. We have also created many “outdoor rooms,” designing and building one-of-a-kind decks so our customers can enjoy their great outdoors.

If you live in an older home but need to update your living space, we’re the contractor you want to hire. We will help you adapt your old-house-space – indoors or out - to a fully functional living area.

Working on your old house
Here’s what you can expect when you work with All Around Home Improvements.

Part craftsman, part historian
In our line of work, it’s important to have an appreciation of history in general and old homes specifically. Not every contractor has this appreciation and it will show in your work if you don’t. You can’t just be a carpentry contractor to work on historic homes; you must also be a researcher, willing to dig through records and photographs. You must also be a thorough administrator, taking care of getting the correct approvals from applicable city or village departments and approving bodies. You must also be a historian and investigator, looking for small details to document what was there long ago so those details can be duplicated and meet design guidelines and requirements. You will get all these qualities and more with All Around Home Improvements.

It’s all in the details
The hands-on portion of the project usually starts with demolition, which we look at as an archeological dig. It pays to work carefully so that you can learn how it was done 100 years ago. If the work completed by the original craftsmen lasted 100 years and we do it the same way, then our work will last 100 more years. Experience is the key to historic work, but we are constantly learning new things by paying attention to the old construction techniques.

Repair, replace or restore?
In general, repair is always preferable to replacement. If you replace a lot of elements of an old house, pretty soon you don't have an old house anymore. "Restoration" is about saving what you can to retain the "old" in "old house". We can perform many repairs using a combination of new wood and epoxy. There are several high-quality epoxies made specifically for old house restoration. Some are even approved for use by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

If repair is not possible, custom-made new pieces will be crafted. Many times we will recreate pieces of an old house due to excessive deterioration or parts that are completely missing. If an element is completely missing, we start doing some detective work. Can we find historic photos or maps? We find that the best way is to look for "ghosts" - outlines of the missing old house elements left in thin paint lines on the building. Those ghosts will then guide us as we create replacement pieces.

All of this research and attention to detail results in a project you will love and the confidence that it was done right.

Insurance and certification
We carry contractor's liability insurance and workmen's compensation.

We have a City of Elgin business license.

As of April 2010 - all contractors working on pre-1979 houses must have the EPA-mandated RRP Lead paint certification. We completed our class and obtained this EPA certification for safe handling of lead paint in February of 2010.

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