What You Need to Know about Remodeling a Decades-Old Home

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You can build a house now with the latest technology and the most robust materials. And still, down the road, it will suffer damages from extreme weather conditions or neglect. The design will also be outdated. Remodeling becomes a necessity at this point. 

You can only imagine how much work you need to do on houses built decades ago. Then the materials might not compare to the kind of materials used now. If you have to remodel, there are many things that you need to work on. Read on to find out what they are. 

  1. Foundation Issues

The house’s foundation is the first thing that you have to look at. As the most critical part of a house, you have to identify whether you have to demolish the whole thing or still work with the existing one. 

Look for cracks on the interior walls, the floor, and near openings like doors and windows. These are the telltale signs that the foundation of a house is compromised. Check the walls in the basement as well. Sometimes, they bend inwards due to pressure coming from outside the walls. Water damage is also a sign that a house’s foundation has problems. 

Sometimes, the problem is not with the quality of the construction itself. The soil moves from time to time, and it can contract and expand. This movement can be the reason for the damages to a house’s foundation.

Consult a geodetic engineer before you push forward with any plans about the foundation. They have all the answers to your soil- and structure-related queries. 

A geodetic engineer can also help you identify other problems with the ground the house is erected in. This includes pest infestation by certain soil-inhabiting insects like termites. You might have to call for a pest control service or arrange soil treatments to address either issue.

  1. Updated Building Codes

Residential building codes govern rules and standards about how to build your house. It regulates things like fence height, specific materials, adhering to flood prevention plans, and changes to the existing structures.

The Residential Building Code has a change cycle every three years. The older your house means, the more changes and updates it has sat through. The first step to take is determining when your home was built. This will reveal all the codes the house has to catch up with. 

You have to make sure that you follow the codes specific to you for the remodeling. Otherwise, you are risking the safety of your family and your investment. 

  1. Outdated Features

You can expect that older houses have features that don’t look visually appealing anymore. Outdated paint is easy to fix as well as old fixtures. Tiles, cabinets, and floors will require a lot more work. 

As for the outdated structure and style itself, it will be the most complicated. Cottage cheese ceilings that many considered modern before won’t fit today’s standards anymore.

For sure, the house also has an outdated layout. Older homes had Victorian designs, which meant there was room for every purpose. This is in contrast with the open structure that is the current big thing. You might also want to change long corridors and small room space. 

You need to coordinate closely with an architect and engineer to ensure that the style you have in mind will work. Be prepared because this will surely entail considerably high costs. 

  1. Unsafe Materials

It’s part of building codes to ensure that the materials used in construction are generally safe. Back in the day, a house’s ceilings, roofing, insulation, and floors are made with asbestos. 

While it is generally harmless to be around asbestos, the danger comes when it starts to break down and produce powders that are dangerous to inhale. It can cause severe damage to the lungs. With the age of the house, you can’t expect that the asbestos used is still in an excellent state. 

Homes built in the 70s typically use lead-based paint. As you probably know, lead is a highly toxic metal. It is dangerous, especially for children, to come in contact with lead. It can cause severe damage to the brain and other vital organs like kidneys. When scraping off lead paint and breaking down asbestos, always ask for professional help.


There must be a professional involved at every stage of the remodeling. These pointers are just here to help you identify the common problems with older houses. These guidelines should not hinder you from getting the right professional help. 


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