Six things to consider while remodeling an older home

An older property can provide a special set of challenges when it comes to remodeling. Not limited to old homes, either: To just a few issues, even houses constructed forty years ago may have deteriorating roofing, antiquated electrical systems, and chemical-laden materials.

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Occasionally, issues arise from modifications to building rules and standards, and occasionally, aging is the sole cause. However, if you’re considering renovating an older house, there are a few things you should know ahead of time and what you can do to address any potential problems.

1. The walls could contain poison

Dangerous compounds are present in many older houses. Naturally, these compounds were not recognized to be hazardous when they were constructed, and they still aren’t, until they are released into the atmosphere during restorations or destruction, or via surfaces that are broken.

For instance, asbestos is commonly found in textured paint, steam pipes, spray-on insulation, and floor tiles in homes constructed before to the 1980s. Asbestos may be discharged into the air during renovations or when old insulation is torn down, harming the lungs of anybody working on the home or residing there.

When remodeling an older property, lead paint should also be taken into consideration. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead-based paint was used in 87% of homes constructed before 1940 and 25% of homes constructed between 1960 and 1978. Lead-based paint can have negative effects on one’s physical and mental health, especially for young children and expectant mothers.

It’s advisable to use experts when remodeling a home that contains hazardous materials, like asbestos. You can test for asbestos on your own, but in order to remove it, you’ll need the appropriate protective gear and a respirator.

Because lead-free paint may be used to cover up lead paint, lead paint might not be as problematic. However, it must be removed carefully if you see any peeling, chipping, or cracking in the walls, ceilings, or window sills/frames. Once more, consult the experts.

2. A growing amount of mold and mildew

Older homes are more susceptible to moisture issues because of unreported leaks, improperly corrected floods, and water damage. As a result, particularly in basements and other dark areas, mold or mildew may be present. The likelihood of mold and mildew is increased if the house you are remodeling is close to the seaside or is located in an area with high humidity.

Mold and mildew can create health issues, especially for people with respiratory conditions or allergies; at the very least, they can produce unpleasant odors and cause decay, even if the risk is lower than that of lead or asbestos. Mold spreads quickly and is resistant to natural removal. Thus, mold and mildew should be removed as soon as they are discovered during restorations.

It is frequently feasible to remove mold and mildew on your own, even though there are experts who specialize in safe removal of these materials. However, mold may spread to other places and become airborne, so you cannot just take out a section of drywall where it is growing or paint over the mold. Most molds may be eradicated using a bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution, but you will need to ventilate the area with a box fan or open windows, wear gloves, a mask, and safety glasses.

3. The roof may not adhere to the most recent construction requirements.

It’s likely that an older home undergoing renovations will require a new roof. The typical lifespan of even high-quality roofs is 25 to 50 years. In addition, wooden shingles, which are prone to fire, leaks, and mold, were frequently used in the construction of historic homes’ roofs.

There’s also a significant probability that the roof has to be changed in order to meet with the most recent building rules, which outline the materials, thicknesses, and construction techniques to guarantee durability and safety. These requirements vary depending on the year the home was built. An ancient roof was probably OK in its day, but it didn’t meet the most recent regulations.

For instance, roofs must be built with fire-resistant shingles in several jurisdictions where wildfires happen often. In addition, contractors must build drains at every low point on the roof unless the roof slope is intended to allow water to flow over the sides. It may also affect homes insurance coverage to have a modern roof.

A professional contractor should replace a roof, even for the most skilled do-it-yourselfers. They can assist you in selecting the finest kind of roof for your house and ensure that it satisfies any local building codes or climate-appropriate requirements. For instance, you can choose to install a metal roof instead of asphalt shingles if the house is situated in a hurricane-prone location. Metal is more resistant to strong winds.

4. The base is shaky.

Any property can develop foundation cracks, but older homes are more prone to experience foundation problems. A foundation may develop cracks due to a number of factors, including as inadequate construction, tree roots, groundwater, and drainage problems. Furthermore, the brick foundations found under many older homes are not as sturdy and long-lasting as the concrete foundations found under more recent construction.

During the restoration process, you might need to fix any foundation cracks in your home that are greater than ⅛ of an inch or that are growing larger. Additionally, you should watch out for bulging along with foundation cracks, since this may be a sign of a more significant structural problem.

Using store-bought epoxy sealant, tiny cracks (¼ inch or smaller) may be easily repaired. On the other hand, it is best to have a professional handle wider cracks that are at least ½ inch long. The same applies to out-of-alignment or bulging foundation walls.

5. The electrical wiring is outdated but still functional.

Since electricity became widely used in homes more than a century ago, there have been significant changes to electrical wiring practices and laws.

Knob-and-tube wiring, which was used up until the 1930s, is found in many older or historically significant residences. It still complies with current electrical rules and is not prohibited.

But knob-and-tube wiring isn’t the best solution for modern applications. Because it lacks a grounding channel, there is a higher chance of damaging your gadgets. Furthermore, many modern appliances require three-prong plugs, which are not included in knob-and-tube electrical systems. Furthermore, the wire covering may be close to coming off, which would reveal a live wire and perhaps result in an electrical fire.

Furthermore, there are certain restrictions with knob-and-tube wiring when restoring a historic home. For instance, insulation cannot be placed over a knob-and-tube electrical system due to the wires’ propensity to overheat. Thus, you could be forced to replace the entire electrical system if you want to re-insulate or insulate your older home.

6. The pipes in the plumbing system are galvanized.

You should look for galvanized pipes if your house was constructed about 1960. One of the earliest alternatives to lead pipes was the steel galvanized pipe. When covered in zinc, they have a fair amount of durability. However, as the years pass, the coating deteriorates and the pipes rust and corrode from continuous exposure to water. Wear and tear on galvanized pipes can raise the possibility of leaks and bursts, which can result in significant water damage.

Similar to electrical systems with knobs and tubes, galvanized pipes do not require replacement: The construction codes of today approve this plumbing arrangement. However, you ought to consider upgrading the plumbing system if you observe severely corroded pipes, poor water pressure, or discolored water flowing from your faucets.

Upgrading galvanized pipes might take a while, depending on the size of your house. Replacing the pipes should ideally happen early in the remodeling process. rebuilding rusty and corroded pipes can be messy, and rebuilding the plumbing will require cutting into the walls and flooring.