Common Repairs Needed for Historical Homes

Some home buyers are looking for a property that features new construction or relatively new, turn-key homes so that they can move in and get busy living without having to renovate, remodel, or do so much as paint a wall or hang a curtain. But the cookie-cutter, tract home construction practices popular today make for a lot of homes that have very little character or visual appeal, and they can end up feeling cold, featureless, and boring as a result. Historic homes, on the other hand, have a very different kind of appeal and tend to attract a different crowd entirely. If you’re looking for an older home that is practically bursting with charm, a historic home may be the way to go. But unless it has been completely overhauled at some point (which would seriously up the price tag), you should anticipate some work to make it livable, bring it up to code, or at least address deterioration. Here are a few common repairs you might face when you buy a historic home.

Many things may be out of date or simply falling apart in a home that’s 50-100 years old (or older). And before you can begin your fixes, you need to know if your home is part of the Historic Register. If it’s not you can do what you want with the space. But if it is, you’ll have to follow the rules laid out for restoration so that you don’t damage the historical value of the home in the process of repairing or renovating. That said, you may have no choice but to complete some repairs, and these often include starting with the insides of the home, updating plumbing and electrical wiring to avoid the threat of leaks and house fires.

You might also need to get inside the walls to add, upgrade, or outright replace the insulation. Over time, your batting or fill can start to settle and/or deteriorate. This is part of the reason for the “drafty, old home” stereotype. New insulation will help you to regulate the interior temperature, and modern spray foam insulation will help to seal up any cracks and stop the air leaks that cause drafts. In this regard, you may also want to upgrade to double-paned windows if they won’t compromise the look of your home, install or replace the chimney liner, and consider installing modern heating options like a central HVAC system if there isn’t one in place already.

Another common issue that lies outside the home is moisture, or more specifically, water funneling towards your foundation. You may have to correct the grade of your lawn or add drainage to direct water away from the structure, and it’s a good idea to check the gutters and downspouts, as well. Even if the roof has been replaced (and it likely has if your home is more than 20-30 years old) the drainage may be original.

Don’t forget that older structures can also feature health hazards like asbestos and lead paint, so before you start your historical home repairs you may want to call in a contractor or a hazmat specialist to take a look for you. Since you shouldn’t remove these elements on your own and you might not recognize them, this is one job that you’ll certainly need help with. Regardless of the plans you’ve formulated for repairs or an all-out renewal design-build, it’s important that you operate in a safe manner when it comes to the removal of hazardous materials. After all, you want to be around for a long time to enjoy your historical home restoration.

Related posts:

  1. The Most Common Issues That Arise When Renovating a Historic Home
  2. Heating and Cooling System Options for Older Homes
  3. Common Humidity and Air Quality Problems Found in Homes
  4. Buyer Beware: 5 Common Home Inspection Red Flags
  5. 5 Winter Repairs That Save Homeowners Money
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