The biggest challenges of renovating an old house

There is something about old architectural styles and structures that makes them irresistible, especially if you are adamant about creating the perfect vintage home. As a result, some homebuyers are drawn exclusively to old buildings and houses. However, you should be on the lookout for certain factors before you make a definite decision to invest in renovating an old home. For your convenience, we will discuss the biggest challenges of renovating an old house so that you know what you might be getting yourself into.

Watch out for moisture when you are renovating an old house

Some homes often have that distinctive scent that people associate with old age. However, it is crucial to investigate the home for signs of moisture. Therefore, you should suspend your fascination and look at the house realistically. More often than not, the quaint, old-timey scents the house exudes might indicate that there is moisture piling up.

Moisture leads to mould, mould leads to health problems

No matter how faint the smell might be, you could be dealing with serious problems a few years down the line if you do not locate the problem in time. Even if the smell doesn’t bother you, know that moisture eventually leads to mould development, which can be detrimental to your respiratory health.

The biggest challenges of renovating an old house (3)3

Mould also harms the structure of old homes

Furthermore, mould can also lead to structural problems caused by rot and dry rot. For this reason, it is important that you check out every single room in the building before you start planning the renovation. Be on the lookout for existing and potential leaks. This means you should note down every single crack or opening in the structure of your home.

If you plan only to spruce up the house to secure a buyer, you might consider placing dehumidifiers to solve the problem temporarily. However, be transparent with your buyers by reporting all leaks that they need to fix before or after moving in.

Fixing the foundation of an old house

After examining the roof in search of leaks and moisture, you can assess the state of the house’s foundation. Uneven floors and doors that cannot close entirely are two surefire signs that you might be dealing with a foundation that has not aged well.

Ignoring the foundation now can lead to grave problems which become most apparent when you change the flooring. No matter how skilled the contractors might be, there is not a lot you can do to fix a hardwood floor sitting on an uneven base. Furthermore, cracks in the foundation might increase the development of mould if rain enters the foundational structure. And it is not only the floor that might cause you problems.

An uneven foundation causes other structural problems 

The cracks are also bound to appear in the walls of the old house. They gradually become worse if the foundation isn’t flattened out. One technique that is often used to do so is called slab jacking. In short, slab jacking involves pumping out grout underneath a foundational beam. Then, the foundation is raised to its original level with the help of hydraulic jacks.

Admittedly, repairing the foundation might be one of the biggest and costliest challenges of renovating an old house. It necessitates complex construction work to be solved for good. If you assess you do not have the financial means to fix the foundation of an old home, be sure to make an informed decision on whether you should renovate the home or sell it and move somewhere else. Hence, you will have to tackle this problem if you choose to live in an old house.

Fixing the insulation

Dealing with ineffective insulation is yet another drawback of living in an old building. More often than not, the main culprits for this are old windows. Back in the day, technology was not advanced enough to construct windows that are energy efficient. Investing in window renovation is vital for reducing your heating expenses. Alongside the cold, old windows can also let in rainwater.

old open wood windows in an old house

Next to the problems with the foundation mentioned above, replacing your windows should be at the top of your renovation priority list. Not only will this innovation prevent the appearance of moisture and mould, but it will also reduce your heating bill. Nowadays, you can even invest a little more and preserve the old window frames if you are persistent in your decision to retain the home’s old stylistic features.

Old houses usually have faulty wiring

It could be the case that you have problems with wiring without you knowing it. Although everything might seem alright at face value, the wiring might not work correctly once you plug in all home appliances. Namely, old homes are usually not compatible with modern energy requirements. Also, your electrical systems may not align with current safety codes.

This is why a professional should test the safety of your wiring before you start renovating an old house. Aside from safety considerations, this checkup can also help you find out the extent and the price of construction work needed to replace or fix the wiring.

Check the materials that were used to construct the building

As you can see, renovating an old house is most important for ensuring its occupants’ safety. Back in the day, universal safety standards and building guidelines were a rarity. As a result, people used to construct homes with dangerous materials such as asbestos. In fact, some old houses built as recently as the 1980s might have this problem.

an old house made of unsafe materials

Materials used to build your old house can be highly toxic or flammable. Any accidents happening due to your failure to check and replace these materials could lead to tenant complaints and even lawsuits if things take an unfortunate turn. For this reason, be sure to inform yourself about the history of the building so that you can approach renovating an old house appropriately.

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