Bringing homes up to standard is often an ongoing effort – something we need to invest in every year. But it’s never plain sailing. There are numerous pitfalls, some of them serious.
This post, therefore, is a heads-up for all of the things that could potentially go wrong when you come to renovate your home. We cover everything from lead paint to electrical faults.
Cesspools, Tanks And Wells
If you have an older home, there’s a good chance that it has a well, tank or cesspool – or a combination of all three. Many classical properties lack modern public sewerage connections which cost a lot of money to maintain.
Getting rid of old wells and cesspools, though, is a challenge. Often, you can’t just leave them to the elements. Instead, you have to process them correctly to render them safe for both you and your neighbours.
The best way to deal with tanks, wells and cesspools is to fill them with a solid material. Specialist contractors often carry out this work. You may also need specialists to help you get rid of an old tank. Don’t try to cut it up yourself.
Roofs can also be an issue when you are renovating a home. Problems include things like leaks, damp getting in from outside, and, of course, pigeons moving in under the rafters.
Again, don’t try to resolve roofing problems yourself. Instead, work with a professional roofer to ensure that yours is structurally sound.
Old electricity systems often work, but they often need wholesale upgrades or replacements to make them safe. Many older homes, for instance, don’t have a ground wire. So if you get electrocuted, there’s nowhere for the current to go except through your body.
Often, older homes have lackluster electrical insulation. Over time, their plastic outer casing begins to degrade and eventually becomes a fire hazard. Furthermore, you may not have enough electrical outlets for modern living.
Lead is a dangerous substance and something often found in older homes – typically those built before 1940. There could be lead in the pipes, in lead-based paint, and in other home fittings, including the roof.
Your best bet here is to pay a specialist to identify lead in your property and then remove it using purpose-built equipment. During the work, it is a good idea to vacate the property to protect you against lead contamination and poisoning.
Asbestos is another compound that might be in your home. Many times, you discover asbestos during renovations and require the assistance of trained professionals to remove it. Most construction asbestos is found in acoustic tiles and insulation. It’s known to cause lung conditions and cancer, so do whatever you can to remove it safely.
Asbestos shouldn’t be a problem in new builds. However, construction firms were using it until quite recently – up until the 1970s. So there’s a good chance that you will discover some in your home as you renovate.
Overall, side-stepping the pitfalls of home improvements gives you peace of mind.