When you buy an older home, you preserve a piece of history. You also have a unique property worth more when you go to sell. Although, these houses often require structural upgrades to keep your family safe. Here are seven renovations you may want to consider.

1.  Electrical

Older homes tend to have outdated electrical systems. For example, your home may still have knob and tube wiring installed. This was popular before the 1930s but isn’t safe for modern homes. The system used porcelain knobs to the run wires. However, the rubber insulation can dry out, leading to cracks and exposed wiring. Also, insurance companies may not provide coverage until you replace it.

Along with an outdated structure, here are some other signs to look out for:

  • Frayed wires
  • Excessive heat marks
  • Tripping circuit breakers
  • Smoke
  • Dimmed lights

If you notice any of these issues, upgrade your system before moving in. To do this, hire a professional electrician. It can cost between $3,500 and $8,000 to rewire an older home. However, the price may vary depending on labor and material expenses. Your home’s size and the scope of the project will also impact the cost.

2.  Plumbing

Your plumbing is another system that could be upgraded. Materials used to construct pipes in older homes often consisted of lead. Over time, the tubes become corroded, and the lead can seep into your drinking water. This causes health concerns, such as abdominal pain or memory loss. Galvanized pipes were also commonly used, but the zinc corrodes over time. This leaves the pipes susceptible to breakage.

Another issue is if your home is using a well system. This could lead to higher levels of sulfur in your drinking water. Too much sulfur can cause diarrhea or dehydration. It can even damage your pipes. So, consider disinfecting your water heater with chlorine to remove the sulfur.

Also, be sure to hire a professional plumber to update all your pipes. Consider installing copper pipes for their durability and heat resistance.

3.  Replacing Your Roof

An outdated roof can cause structural issues. The worn-down material leaves your exterior vulnerable to the elements. Also, a weaker awning can lead to water leaks and mold growth. Keep in mind slate or copper tiles last about 50 years, and asphalt shingles last about 20 years. So, if your roof is past its prime, consider replacing it.

You will want to hire a roofing contractor. The cost will depend on many factors, such as the roofing material and the square footage of your roof. Also, consider hiring a contractor during the off-season to reduce costs.

4.  Strengthening the Foundation

Older homes may have foundation issues that you need to address. Check for signs of cracked walls or uneven flooring and keep an eye out for any signs of rotting wood. These may appear on window frames or siding. To fix any foundation issues, call an expert.

The cost to repair your foundation could be hundreds or thousands of dollars, but a successful outcome means the investment keeps your family safe. Professional contractors can also help prevent any costly or unsafe mistakes. Plus, some areas may require a permit for this type of renovation.

5. Repairing Your Windows

You may not necessarily need to remove your windows entirely. Making simple repairs and adding weatherstripping can be a suitable alternative. You can even glaze them or add additional carpentry to minimize heat loss. These updates can keep the character of your home intact while improving its function.

6.  Checking for Lead Paint

Many older homes feature lead-based paints, which can cause health issues. Check to see if your paint is crumbling or cracked. Also, one way to determine whether its designers used lead paint is to find out the year your home was built. For example, 87% of houses constructed before 1940 used some type of lead paint.

You will also want to hire a certified professional to conduct an inspection. If you have any lead-based materials, you’ll want to remove these from the surface. You can do this through various methods, such as wire brushing or using liquid paint remover.

7. Updating Your HVAC Unit

Your older home may come with an outdated furnace, boiler, or air conditioner. Updating this can make sure you have a properly functioning and efficient climate control system.

When updating your heating unit, consider upgrading to an Energy Star-rated one. This can improve your home’s energy efficiency and reduce your electricity bill. In 2019, Energy Star-rated products saved residents about $39 billion in energy costs.

How to Remodel Your Old Home

Historic homes have such a unique charm! When it comes to renovations, the key is increasing functionality while keeping its character intact. Consider these renovation projects to do just that.

Guest Contributor: Rose Morrison

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