Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Older homes can be a treasure, but...

Living in a historic older home can be a wonderful adventure. Older homes often have a certain character and charm that just isn’t found in more modern homes. Their architectural windows, solid plaster walls, and old brick fixtures and work are an art form that things that can’t be duplicated in our current society.

They can also be a nightmare when it comes to upkeep and renovation. It’s very important that homeowners know what they are getting into, especially before they start a project. Once certain issues are exposed, they MUST be fixed before the project can be completed and the space is cleared for occupancy.

Outdated plumbing
:  Most older homes were built with galvanized metal pipes. They may have been all the rage at the time, but they clog easily, are often smaller in diameter than current building codes require, and can be damaged over time by rust, tree roots, and corrosion.

Old Electrical Systems:
Older homes were not built with progress in mind. Most are not set up to handle the electrical load that comes from all our modern appliances and gadgets. Not only is it inconvenient when breakers are tripped and you lose power if you happen to run a hairdryer and coffee maker at the same time, but it can be a fire hazard as well.  Many older outlets are also ungrounded two-prong outlets that are spaced very far apart rather than the required three-prong outlets that are spaced every 6 feet. Correcting those problems usually requires rewiring the entire house, which can cost several thousand dollars.

Unsafe Building Materials:  Lead based paint and asbestos were popular building materials in their time. We know now these things can cause cancer and other major health problems. If they’re left alone, they generally don’t cause problems. However, if paint needs to be scraped or you want to remove that old outdated popcorn ceiling, you’ll need to do some testing and probably hire an abatement company to safely remove these items before construction can proceed.

Tiny Rooms: People and families lived much differently when those older homes were built than we do now. Older floor plans are often choppy and were build to accommodate separate rooms for every purpose rather than the open concept most people prefer today. Attempting to incorporate these more modern layouts into an older space can often reveal structural problems and poorly done previous renovations that need to be corrected and may require the help of a structural engineer and/or architect.

However, a well-maintained older home can be a real treasure that is worth preserving. It’s best to hire a remodeling pro to help you get the job done!

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