Hazardous Building Materials Many older homes built before 1978 contain lead- and asbestos-based paint. Before buying or moving to a home built at this time, make sure you check for both hazardous materials, as neither of them can be seen with the naked eye. Old houses aren't perfect and never will be. No matter how much money you spend, you can't make something designed and built by hand perfect.
We old people call them “perfectly imperfect because that's exactly what they are”. Old houses have all sorts of surprises lurking behind walls that can make a bend and add expense to what would otherwise be a simple and inexpensive repair, such as poor quality wiring or plumbing from a bad renovation 40 years ago. Another critical aspect is electrical. Not only does ALL wiring have to be inspected for integrity (rodents can wreak havoc on old and new wires), but electrical boxes from the 1920s, or even the 1970s, are not designed to meet modern electrical demands.
Blowing a fuse every time you vacuum a carpet with a lamp on or the heater on is horrible. Another thing to keep in mind are the trees around the house. Big, beautiful and old trees are a delight to see and their shade is valuable in the summer, but dead branches or invasive roots can cost a small fortune when a storm comes and leaves a hole in the ceiling or makes a hole in the ground by lightning. A couple more things to keep in mind would be the septic system, they're out of sight, but they still need maintenance, and if something was done to the house in the 60s and 70s, it's probably asbestos.
We live in an Edwardian townhouse in London built in 1904 with lots of character, but we're definitely starting to realize the drawbacks of a period property. Beyond what has already been mentioned, absolutely nothing is square in our house. We have made some reindeer and the trapezoidal nature of some of the rooms, uneven floors, walls, etc. I also chose a lot of highly geometric patterns for floors and rugs that really highlight the crooked shape of the rooms.
If you like patterned walls and floors, this is definitely something to keep in mind, unless you want to boldly highlight such peculiarities. I found your article very interesting and accurate. We bought a house built in 1906 and discovered that, although we thought we had a good idea of what was wrong, we found that it was much more expensive to restore than we thought. Although we didn't have bats in the attic, we did have a raccoon that “was on vacation.
He didn't seem to have lived there for a long time. We hadn't thoroughly considered the fact that it had been empty for three years. We made the mistake of thinking that the sewer pipe was pvc but it was terracotta and had been crushed. We should have sent a camera out there.
Another area where we encountered a problem was the roof. A company gave us a budget and it is a roof very involved in an area where it is difficult to find companies that take care of it. After the roof was removed, they began to place a new plywood deck on top of the original board deck, saying that the gaps were too wide and that this needed to be done to properly nail the new shingles and was common in historic houses. This coating was not part of the original estimate and was much more expensive.
They should have known beforehand, since they had been all over the house before giving a budget. This can be useful for anyone who is planning to replace a roof on a historic home to ensure that the contractor has informed them that it may be necessary to add expensive siding. .