If you live in an older house or you find yourself irresistibly drawn to buying one, there are a number of issues that are specific to these buildings. Some of them are easier to watch out for and prepare in advance, or even preventing them from happening, while others are definitely a challenge . Many of them can be avoided if you know just a few basic things, what to look out for and how to prepare for inevitable degradation.
Outdated electrical systems can become a serious hazard if left unchecked. Luckily, if your house was remodelled near the time of your purchase, or recently, you most likely won’t run into this problem. However, you should still keep in mind that older houses didn’t need as much electricity as we do today, as there were fewer appliances and objects that required it. Therefore, you should check the wiring of the house, as older systems tended to be smaller in size, and wouldn’t usually cover the entirety of the building. If you have flickering lights or other such interruptions on any of your electrical outputs, you should immediately have an electrician take a look at all your wires, circuit breakers, fuse boxes and so on. Older systems are more likely to cause damage to your property and break down when you least expect it. Even if the electricity works perfectly when considering buying an older home, you should always ask to see the electrical equipment for yourself. So if you see something that looks very outdated, it probably is and it most likely should be given an update by a specialist. This is a problem that at worst can cause fires, destroy your appliances, or even electrocute you. Unless you’re certified to handle electrical systems, you should not do this yourself.
The foundation of a house is a straightforward matter – it should be solid and stable. As a house ages, it is a good idea to check for signs that the foundation is damaged. Some of these signs can appear indoors, such as: horizontal cracks in walls; doors or windows that don’t close or fit properly in their frames; cracks in the flooring. If you have a basement, check the posts or pillars that support the weight – they should be firm and straight, while their bottom end must rest on some sort of concrete base. If puddles of water gather in the basement area, there might be a problem with the drainage system, which in turn constitutes as foundation damage, since it affects it so much. The more a house ages, the more it becomes susceptible to this kind of degradation. It should go without saying that if you see any of these signs, it is recommended that you contact an architect or a construction expert, so the damage can be fully investigated.
Dangerous materials can be a cause for concern, if only because you rarely think to check something like this. Until recently, lead and asbestos were common in the construction of any building. Lead is found in the composition of paint (both exterior and interior) that was produced before 1978. It is also found in a lot of plumbing systems that date back to the 40s. Lead is a metal that can cause neural damage in humans, and therefore it is extremely toxic. Asbestos is no joke either – it was used for insulation and fireproofing until the 1970s, when it became clear just how dangerous this material can be. It can cause a devastating form of lung cancer, or other problems of the respiratory system. There are companies that specialise in removing these hazardous materials. If your house was built around or before the time these materials were banned from use, investing in professional removal should be a priority.