Sometimes, the more modern homes of today just don’t have that charm you’re looking for. They often lack the rustic, old world feel many elder homes have, which is why plenty of buyers are looking for more “seasoned” homes when planning to move.
While both older and newer homes have their advantages, there are a few extra responsibilities that come with owning an aged home—namely, the upkeep. Primarily, the biggest concerns of owning an older home are the different, and inevitable, needs for maintenance that will arise over the years. This PSA will help homeowners of properties 50 years and older to know how to prepare, avoid, and manage when problems arise.
What You Need to Know
Just because your home is aged does not mean it’s not worth living in! Many people admire older homes for a number of different reasons, and having the home of their dreams is usually worth the extra steps needed to maintain it.
When you own a home that’s older than 50 years, you must be prepared for things to breaking down and becoming damaged. The most common (and useful) items to remember are the following:
- Old Plumbing
- Old Heating Systems
- Old Cooling Systems
- Old Electrical Wiring
- Old Flooring/Lumber/Roofing
You must remember that the features in your old home were not built for the modern man. You can’t expect to find all the bells and whistles common in today’s new homes—but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be added or incorporated somehow.
Avoid Pitfalls with these Simple Measures
If you leave your old home as is, chances are you will need to call the plumber, repairman, or even the contractor sooner or later (most likely sooner). Though these homes were built to last, there are still some aspects you must bring into the twenty-first century to ensure that your home can go another 50 years. Avoid common pitfalls by taking these measures:
Redo Your Roof
You don’t want to wait for a heavy rain to realize you have a leak in the roof. Leaky roofs are more than just annoying—they can cause severe water damage, which can result in mold growth, rotting wood, and ruined floors and walls. If you know the winters are especially wet where you live, take measures to reinforce the roof with newer, sturdier shingles. You can do this yourself, or call a licensed professional to handle the job.
Replace the Plumbing
There’s no bigger headache than poor plumbing, but you can fix this by going directly to the pipes. Older homes tend to use galvanized steel pipes, which are prone to internal rusting and clogs and lead pipes. While lead pipes are long-lasting, they pose a potential and serious health hazard. If you don’t know what kind of pipes you have, get your water tested for lead and go from there. Ask your plumber to suggest the best supply and drain pipes for your home.
Replace Your Heating and Cooling Systems
Older homes do not have heating and cooling systems like you’re probably accustomed to. Older boilers are prone to rusting and leaks, which is why replacing it with an efficient boiler will not only do a better job of heating the home, but will also save you hundreds on your energy bill.
When replacing hot water pipes, always have a professional handle the job, as there is a risk of releasing asbestos (common in old homes) into the air. Likewise, older homes do not have central air systems. When replacing this system, you have a few options, especially if your old home is on the larger side. You could try a large ventilation fan, or have a standard cooling system installed. Talk to a professional about which is right for your home.
Replace Old Electrical Wiring with a More Modern System
Today, knob and tube wiring is just not safe or practical. Have a professional come in and replace this old system with a modern one, which should always include an electric panel and entirely new wiring.
Replace or Reinforce Flooring and Wooden Beams
Hand in hand with water damage and mold growth are old flooring and beams in the walls. While it would be a huge project to redo the floors and walls completely, you can protect the old wood by reinforcing it to be waterproof. This means that, even when there’s a leak, the wood will stay safe from becoming rotten or growing potentially poisonous and harmful mold.
Owning an older home is very rewarding, but it does require a lot of extra care. However, those who enjoy the character and charm of an elderly house are often happy to update it a bit to make it suitable for modern living without losing the delightful attraction of its old-world vibe.