Purchasing an older home may allow you to live in a building with beautiful architecture and mature landscaping. However, updating an older home can also mean serious issues that you might not be ready for.
If you go into purchasing an older home with your eyes open and are ready to make some repairs, older homes can be a wonderful investment. The following are five things to make sure are updated in an older home.
1. Upgrade the Insulation
Asbestos was used for decades as insulation in homes and as a flame retardant. Unfortunately, if asbestos becomes airborne, the fibers can get lodged in the lung’s lining and lead to deadly cancer. Therefore, the EPA banned asbestos in homes but not until 1989.
Many older homes have had the asbestos removed, but not all of them. A home inspector can guess if there is asbestos in the home, but the only way to be sure is to have the home tested. Asbestos is typically found as insulation in the basement and as insulation wrapping on water pipes.
2. Upgrade the Paint
If you are purchasing a home that was built prior to 1978, chances are that you could be dealing with lead paint. Lead paint is so dangerous that by federal law if you have children under the age of six living in the home, you must remove the lead paint.
A home that has been confirmed to have lead paint can present a series of expensive issues that as a homeowner you need to be aware of and need to do the upgrades to repair.
Another thing to consider even if your home isn’t as old as that is the last time it was decorated. The paint can be discolored over time, look old, and also start to peel away in places. If it feels like a big job, then you could call in the experts of residential painters to ensure that the job gets done efficiently. They can take care of things such as smoothing the walls, getting rid of old paint, and making sure the walls are in good condition to accept new paint. A fresh coat will always make your older home look and feel new again.
3. Upgrade Issues with the Water Source
The human body is over 70 percent water. This means having access to clean drinking water is essential for life. Unfortunately, around the world, over 780 million people do not have access to clean water. Water provides nourishment and is the best way to avoid dehydration.
Sadly, because water is so essential for a living, people will drink it even if it does not taste right and is contaminated. There are several issues when updating an older home that can contaminate the drinking, cooking, and bathing water.
If you are buying an older home, it might have an old-style water source. People used to use hand-dug wells as their water source. Hand-dug wells might be shallow, which increases the risk of contaminants.
The importance of clean water in the home cannot be overstated. Therefore, it’s important to test the water when updating an older home, identify any contaminants, and then make the upgrades to improve the quality of the drinking water.
Lead can easily enter the drinking water if there is corrosion in plumbing materials. Homes that were built prior to 1986 might have lead fixtures, pipes, and solder.
Even homes built after 1986 could have plumbing that is technically “lead-free” but might contain up to eight percent lead. Replacing a lead plumbing network can be costly. When you consider the effect contaminated water could have on your health, the cost is worth it.
4. Upgrade the Electrical System
Older homes were not built for energy efficiency. Electrical systems in older homes were not designed to keep up with the use of large-screen televisions, mobile devices, washers and dryers, and other electronic equipment constantly in use today.
If you use a lot of electronics, it’s good to have the electrical system in the home reviewed and updated to meet your needs. Keep an eye out for knob and tube wiring.
Popular in the late 1800s through the early 1900s, it fell out of use around 1950. When this style of wiring is coupled with modern fuses that have been rated for high currents, the result is heat damage or even fire.
Remember when updating an older home that the outlets are not grounded. There are cheap adapters that you can purchase, but you can’t use those long-term without damaging your devices.
5. Update the Roof
Like all other systems in the home, the roof will eventually give out. If you see that your roof is missing shingles or that moss or other growth is overtaking your roof, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect the roof.
You may think you need a small repair, but the inspector may discover structural issues that you can’t see from the ground. These issues are common when you are updating an older home.
Final Thoughts on Updating an Older Home
Purchasing an older home can feel like buying a piece of history. It’s exciting. However, older homes have more problems than newer properties, so it’s worthwhile to do your due diligence and upgrade aging systems in the home.
By following the tips suggested above when updating an older home, you can avoid the most common problems others run into when updating an older home.