Whether you live in an older home or are considering buying or remodelling one, there are old-house problems you should familiarize yourself with. Some may be seen as mere nuisances (charming even), but others can be downright dangerous. Before you take the plunge, get to know the signs and costs associated with the repair of some common problems.
First, just what is an older home? That’s hard to define. Anything 30 years or older definitely qualifies as an older home, in which some of the following problems may materialize, but clearly there is no magic number.
1. Foundation issues
If the floor is uneven to an extent you can easily see and feel while walking the home, the foundation certainly requires a thorough inspection by a structural engineer. But there are less obvious signs that commonly manifest themselves inside a home too.
Doors and windows that stick or do not latch properly can be caused by foundation issues, as can plasterboard cracks, especially over doors and windows. By executing a quick exterior inspection, you can check for bulges in foundation walls, or any section that does not appear plumb. You can also inspect the foundation for chipping and flaking, and if you see any, use a screwdriver to confirm the hardness of the concrete.
Hairline cracks in concrete are not usually indicative of a major problem, but an inspection by a certified structural engineer is the only way to know for sure whether something is an issue. Repairs to a foundation can be quite affordable, but if serious problems exist the cost will increase considerably, if they can be fixed at all.
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