As a house gets older, problems that were once minor start to become serious and require more attention. Older houses were built under different building codes than newer properties. They use different materials – including materials that are no longer available or in use today – and they may require special treatments. Renovating an old house is even more challenging. You can’t just start a renovation project on an old house without proper planning. However, a complete renovation is often the best solution for dealing with problems around the property. Here’s how you can prepare for an old house renovation.
Get the property thoroughly inspected
A complete inspection is the first thing you want to do before renovating an old house. An inspection is even more important if the house was renovated before since you can’t always rely on the original plans of the house for details like wiring and plumbing. Fortunately, many contractors now offer free inspections as part of their services. You can also get a paid inspection carried out for a good price nowadays. Having multiple inspections is a good idea if you want to be sure nothing has been missed. The inspections will reveal existing issues that may turn into bigger problems in the future. Addressing these concerns should always be a top priority before you do anything further with your home.
Understand the challenges
The result of a thorough inspection around the house will also tell you how to move forward with the renovation project. When the house has a cast iron soil pipe with lead and oakum, for instance, you can’t just replace parts to fix the system. Doing a complete switch to PVC or copper is often the way to go. The same can be said for old wiring. Older wiring and ancient electrical layouts aren’t designed to handle the heavy load of today’s appliances. You will experience issues like loss of power when you try to turn on the air conditioner while the microwave is in use. An upgrade is recommended. Other challenges aren’t that easy to solve. Old houses may still have materials like lead and asbestos in certain parts. These materials are known to be dangerous and require special handling. There are removal services that you can turn to for removal of these dangerous substances.
Take previous renovations into account
Unfortunately, not all old houses are maintained properly. A thorough inspection should reveal whether the house was renovated previously, and it will also tell you if the renovations were done properly. Bad renovation jobs could lead to more headaches as you start yours.
There will be issues that you won’t know about until you start renovating your home. Make sure you leave enough room in your budget for such issues, because more than likely there will be surprises - ask anyone who has undertaken a home reno! You also need to decide which issues to fix and which to leave for later, depending on the budget you're working within. Safety should always be your number one priority. With a well-maintained house, you may not run into issues at all. That said, these preparations will keep your renovation project on track and as problem-free as possible.