For all the joys that come from owning your own home, there are also a fair share of headaches. When you decide you want to renovate your property, there are sure to be unexpected challenges that you come across and will need to deal with before moving forward.
Below are some of the most common challenges that homeowners tend to face when it comes to renovations, as well as some ideas for how to get around them.
Outdated plumbing and electric
In older homes, it’s fairly common that the plumbing and electric may be out of date. In the case of plumbing, galvanized pipes may corrode or clog more easily, and should be replaced with either copper or PVC pipes. When it comes to electric wires, not only are old wires less effective, but they can also be dangerous. If your house was wired before the 1920s, it is likely not equipped to handle the quantity and strength of today’s appliances (a hair dryer, for example), and is more likely to start a fire. Check with a licensed electrician to bring your wiring up to date — a good home renovation specialist should also be able to point you in the right direction.
Foundations often wear out over time in the forms of cracks or irregularities. If you see cracks in your basement floor or on the interior walls of your home, you may have foundation issues. Cracks are an issue because they can allow for water penetration to your foundation. Cracks in a foundation can also be a source of radon, a radioactive gas that has been linked to lung cancer. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may be able to get away with just sealing your basement’s foundation — but always check with an expert.
What we tend to value as features in homes today are often not the things that were valued many decades ago. The walk-in closets and open floorplans that are coveted in newer home models are not things we typically see in homes from the middle of the century when people valued a greater number of rooms and divided space. Many homeowners have dreams of knocking down walls and opening up their floorplan, but this can be costly and difficult if the wall in mind is load bearing.
Over the years, building codes have become stricter about what materials are and are not safe to use in a house. For example, lead paint isn’t legal to use in residential or commercial properties today — but that wasn’t the case in homes built before the 1970s, where there still may be traces of lead. The same goes for asbestos which was used in roofing and insulation until the 1980s. If left undisturbed, asbestos isn’t threatening — but it can be dangerous if it begins to break down and get into the air, causing lung damage when inhaled.
Assessing the risks
When it comes to dealing with many of the common challenges of home renovation, it’s always in your best interest to consult with an experienced and reputable expert. As many of these common challenges involve some degree of danger, even the most experienced homeowner should get an expert’s opinion and help before moving forward with any renovation plan.