The charm and aesthetic of older homes has drawn many buyers to consider restoration projects instead of new builds in recent years. However, the hidden issues and costs associated with these types of restorations can become overwhelming for buyers choosing to tackle this endeavor themselves.
While more cosmetic projects, like painting, are usually a task any amateur can accomplish, owners of older homes should be wary of some issues that require professional contractors. DIYers should be on the lookout for these five common problems when restoring their older homes.
New sink and bathroom installations are a normal undertaking when restoring older homes. However, the age and condition of the current plumbing needs to be assessed before new fixtures are put in place. Water spots on the ceiling and walls are major indicators of plumbing problems (and can also be a sign of a leaking roof). If ignored, bad plumbing can result in a flooded house and cause severe water damage. Homeowners should look for outward signs of outdated plumbing, but should also inquire about pipe material prior to purchase. Brass and copper piping can last 50 plus years, while steel usually only lasts 20 years.
Not only do older homes already contain far fewer outlets than a modern lifestyle demands, they can also harbor dangerous electrical wiring issues. Insulation that has worn away over the years can cause exposed electrical, which is not something inexperienced homeowners should attempt to fix themselves because the chance of electrical shock is high. If left ignored and unattended, the exposed electrical wires can spark a devastating fire or home power outage.
If the home was built prior to 1978, it is essential homeowners check for both asbestos and lead-based paint. Both can be extremely harmful and need to be removed to ensure the health of those living in the home. Asbestos can be found in insulation, floor tiles, and plaster. Due to the health-related risks of its removal, asbestos is now covered and contained with specific materials instead of being extracted from the home. Lead-based paint is crucial to be aware of, but can be covered with several coats of regular paint. Be careful of ingesting paint dust or flakes by wearing painting masks and keep children away from the affected areas until properly covered!
Mold can present anything from a very minor inconvenience to a huge, costly endeavor. Visible mold on walls, floors, and cabinets should be inspected properly. It is typical for an aging house to have cosmetic mildew damage over time which can be fixed through normal demolition and restoration. Extensive mold damage, on the other hand, will halt a restoration timeline and requires professional removal. The health risks involved with ignoring black mold are not worth saving time or money.
Foundation and Structural Issues
Slight foundational cracks are common in older homes and are usually a quick and inexpensive fix. However, major structural issues require immediate attention. Before buying a home that has visible foundation damage, doors and windows that don’t close or latch properly, or uneven floors, homeowners should have a contractor assess the extent and cost of foundational issues. Factor in foundation problems into a restoration project sooner than later, as it can put all other work put into the home at risk.
Despite all of these common issues, restoring an old home is not all doom and gloom. Restoration projects are growing in popularity in Indianapolis, and for good reason! Preserving classic details and architecture creates a unique space for homeowners and upholds the character of historic neighborhoods. Contact us today and we can provide you the help you need to plan and execute the restoration of your dream home!