Older houses have lots of character but require plenty of upkeep. Some of the needed repairs make themselves felt or are easily seen, but others are less obvious. By the time they become a real problem, the damage is done. Here’s what you need to know about the less-visible home repairs and upgrades for older houses you might need to undertake.
1. Parging Matters
Many people believe that parge, a surface cover for concrete block foundations, is purely ornamental, but it has a practical function too. When the weather is wet, the parging helps to protect the foundations against wet weather. Edmonton Parging explains this very well, so if you aren’t sure what it is and why it needs maintenance, take a look to see why parging is more important than you may have realized.
2. Single-Glazing Means Higher Energy Use
Are your utility bills higher than you expected? Single glazing may be part of the problem. If your windows aren’t double-glazed and you live in a climate that calls for winter heating, it’s time to make the change. While the initial outlay might make you wince, the saving on your energy bill will make you smile!
3. Look to Your Plumbing: Leaks and Lead
An elderly plumbing system may be less than desirable. Apart from the fact that there may be leaks, older systems were sometimes put together using lead solder. That this is a potential health risk is well-known in recent times, but back in the day, people didn’t understand the dangers of lead leaching into the water supply. Although everything might seem okay right now, get plumbers to check out your system.
4. Your Wiring Might Be Unsafe
Although uninsulated wiring was the norm in the Edwardian area and is seldom seen today, other electrical hazards only became apparent in later years. Earth grounding, for example, only became a requirement in the 1970s. Apart from that, electrical wiring should be checked out every 10 to 20 years as a minimum. Although regulations require certain safety checks before a home can be sold, one that has been in your family for decades may have unsafe wiring. Have it checked out!
5. Mind the Roof Over Your Head
We often speak of homes as the “roof over your head”, but it’s easy to forget just how important that roof can be and what can go wrong after years of wear. If you have obvious roof leaks, it may have been forcibly brought to mind, but the structural integrity of roofs has more to do with the supporting structure than the roof itself.
While re-roofing is a major repair, it’s a vital one to consider when the roof and its supporting beams are no longer as trustworthy as they should be. If you don’t trust roofing companies to give you straight answers, consider getting a home inspection company to check things out.
6. Beware of Asbestos
Asbestos, once hailed as the cheap, easy, and durable material that every building should have, has become the hidden enemy that every owner of an older home should be aware of. When it’s whole and properly sealed off, it can’t do any harm, but as it breaks down, it turns into a potentially fatal health hazard of which you could be blissfully unaware until it’s too late.
If they’re undamaged and undisturbed, asbestos construction materials don’t pose a risk. Still, if you see signs of wear or are planning a remodel that involves tearing out asbestos, you’ll need help. Have your home tested for asbestos, and if it needs to be removed, ensure that properly qualified experts are there to do the job.
Not sure if asbestos-based materials were used in your home’s construction? Home inspectors can help you pinpoint where and how they have been used and whether they’re still safe or must be removed. “Fun” fact: the use of asbestos in construction was only banned in 1989. If your house is older than that, you may want to have it checked out!
Check Your Structure Before Updating the Trim
Much of the advice you’ll find for owners of older homes focuses on cosmetic details, particularly kitchens, and bathrooms. But before you worry about interiors, check older homes for structural soundness, safety, and energy efficiency. While planning a modern kitchen is more exciting than considering parging and having your roof checked out, decor takes second place to structural soundness.