Nearly all of our clients already live in or have recently purchased a home that is 30 + years old. While homes are built to last and tend to age slowly if taken care of, there are still some issues that will undoubtedly present themselves in older homes. Consistent maintenance can greatly lengthen a home’s life, as can the original quality of construction, but the older a home is, the more likely you are to find issues impacting its livability and even safety!
Here is a list of 7 common problems to check for in an older home:
1. Foundation issues. Uneven floors, bulging walls, doors and windows that stick, and small cracks in walls, ceilings and concrete are all warning signs that your home’s foundation may need attention. A thorough inspection by a structural engineer isn’t a bad idea!
2. Closed off or choppy floor plans. Crowded kitchens, small bedrooms, steep stairways and unnecessary hallways are all features that owners of older houses are familiar with. This may not seem like a big issue on its own, but it can present problems if you’re considering taking down walls. If you’re planning to update an old home’s design, be sure to seek the advice of both a designer and a builder (like Medford Remodeling!) before jumping in. A good design-build firm can tell you what can be done structurally, and also provide you with a realistic estimate for what the job might cost.
3. Outdated features. We recently wrote a blog post about options for removing popcorn ceilings. It’s true that while popcorn ceilings were popular in the 70’s and 80’s, they are usually the first thing to go when our clients get ready to remodel their homes! A knowledgeable contractor can tell you if asbestos testing is required before you start the removal process.
Stale paint colors, old appliances and fixtures, and dated cabinets and countertops, are also common in older homes. While some may not see outdated features as serious ‘problems,’ it doesn’t hurt to upgrade to a more modern look and improved functionality. Painting is relatively easy, and even replacing fixtures can be a quick, rather painless update. But if there are significantly outdated cabinets, countertops and floor and shower tiles, it’s definitely best to seek help from a professional remodeling company.
4. Leaking Roof. This is probably the most important problem to check for in an older home, since water intrusion is the silent killer of a house over time.
Water stains on the ceiling are an obvious sign of water intrusion, but doesn’t mean the roof is bad. Faulty plumbing and window leaks can also result in these stains.
Water spots on outside walls can be a red flag for roof issues. A quick inspection of the roof shingles can reveal common problems, such as unsecured flashing, cracked shingles, cupping and missing tiles. Check the attic insulation for signs of moisture, and search for daylight under the roof boards as well.
5. Infestations. It’s no secret that termites, bees, wasps, ants, birds, rodents and other kinds of critters may take up residence in your attic. They can do serious damage to the structural integrity of a home, as well as to the mechanical systems. Signs of pests and rodents should be investigated thoroughly under floor and in the attic to prevent damage.
6. Poor drainage and waterproofing. Notice a musty smell in your home? It could be mold. Years ago, neither underfloor drainage nor perimeter drainage was provided like it is today. If you live in an older home, it’s a good idea to have it inspected for mold n could be hiding in your walls, attic and underfloor framing.
7. Old windows. Old windows and doors can be a major intrusion point for water, resulting in dry rot and mold. If failing windows have been leaking for some time, properly replacing them can be a major job that includes work on the exterior facade of the home, reframing some wall and underfloor sections, and interior work, not to mention possible mold mitigation. Look carefully at old windows on old homes for signs of staining, mold or other damage.
Old homes have charm and sentimental value, especially if you have lived there for several years, but it’s important to be aware of the common issues that come along as the years go by. Staying on top of your home maintenance and hiring a professional to help correct these problems early on will help keep your home a comfortable and happy place!
If you need help addressing any of these, or other issues in your home, contact Medford Remodeling today!
The Medford Remodeling Team