Whether you’re rescuing a period gem or simply renovating your neglected house, casting a new light onto an old home can be immensely rewarding. Still, before you get overpowered by all the enthusiasm, make sure you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s. Preparing for renovation is a process of its own, and apart from helping you estimate the renovation budget more accurately, it makes the process go more smoothly. Let’s look into this renovation checklist to see if you’ve got everything lined up.
Check the foundation
Although many a mason will swear that old homes have been built more thoroughly from the ground up, their foundations don’t always stand the test of time, let alone upgrades and extensions. When talking about cement blocks or cinder blocks that were used from the mid-1960s on the back, keep in mind the cider portion is not as structurally sound as cement, so chances are there are cracks through which water can penetrate. On top of that, applying foundation sealer on the outside wasn’t a typical treatment in homes built 40 or 50 years ago, and now digging up the landscape and removing sidewalks to apply exterior sealing can double your renovation budget. Cracked foundations are also a common source of radon, a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the ground as a result of soil decomposition. A correct course of action is to seal the inside of blocks in the basement, as well as diverting as much water as possible away from the house, using drainpipes and grading.
Secure the site and clean it afterwards
Finally, you need to make sure your renovation site is safe, as health and safety is the responsibility of the building owner. This includes dealing with hazardous waste and method statement for demolition. It’s not a rare case that homeowners rush into demolition, falling short of listed building consents, only to find out they’ve damaged the internal structure, for which they didn’t have a permit. When it comes to getting rid of rubbish, it’s important to separate different types of waste. Such practice is not only environmentally-friendly, but you can also make money from surplus fixtures and fittings. Make sure you salvage anything that can be of use, sell things that are in good condition, and responsibly dispose of items and materials damaged beyond repair.
Survey for hazardous materials
There are two potentially hazardous materials that often occur in older homes – lead and asbestos. Lead is typically found in interior and exterior paint, which can chip and crumble into lead dust during a renovation, where it poses a health hazard for the renovators and the occupants. In addition, although lead pipes were rarely used after the 1940s, the earliest galvanized pipes still contained lead until it was fully replaced by zinc. Even up to mid-1980s, the lead was used for soldering copper pipes. Lead inspection can detect the presence of lead particles in the home so you can plan for a removal strategy. Asbestos, on the other hand, was popular as an insulating and fire retardant material. Its fine fibrous structure can easily break during remodels, releasing fine toxic dust that has been traced to a range of lung diseases. Hiring a professional asbestos removal service ensures that asbestos floor or roof elements are safely removed from your home and disposed of in a non-harmful way.
Upgrade the wiring
Chances are that when your old house was built, grounded electrical outlets weren’t required by code or required only in certain locations where water is present such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. But the codes and standards have changed, so if the outlets in your home are designed for two-pronged plugs, they need to be replaced with three-pronged versions. In addition, building code today requires that you complete your wiring with a ground-fault interrupter or GFI outlets in your baths and the kitchen. It’s a small investment, but it can save lives.
Renovating an old home can be an exciting project, but keep in mind that old homes often hold secrets that only a thorough inspection can discover. Once you take care of them, the bulk of your works may begin.