Old buildings carry an old-world charm that lends magnificence to their architecture. Old properties and houses appeal to culturally-inclined buyers who seek to restore and upgrade them. Such structures hold immense cultural significance as they are a vital part of the local heritage. They command prestige with their architectural beauty and style.
However, old buildings are a hub of problems. You must prioritize research if you're planning on buying a Victorian-era house or a colonial multi-family building. The restoration project and expense are likely to pan out much different than you've planned. You see, there are numerous problems and potential dangers that can create life-threatening hazards.
Keep reading to discover eight repair tasks that require immediate attention to make an old building safe for residence.
First on our list is asbestos, by far the most dangerous problem that can prove extremely hazardous to your health and wellbeing. Asbestos got banned across the world, but its presence is familiar across old buildings. In some instances, asbestos itself is the culprit, while some buildings contain materials laced with asbestos.
There are several kinds of asbestos. Mainly amosite, crocidolite and chrysotile are known forms. It is vital to undertake a thorough inspection to identify all the areas where it can reside in an old building. In the 19th and 20th centuries, asbestos was famous as a fire retardant given its powerful fire-resistant properties.
A visual inspection is not enough to identify asbestos as it remains under the layer of fixtures, heaters, insulation, or paint. Skilled asbestos removal professionals come armed with appropriate equipment and tools to identify areas carrying asbestos. It is abundantly present across pipes and boilers, roof tiles, ceiling, and textured coatings.
Asbestos exposure can give birth to numerous life-threatening illnesses. Mesothelioma, lung cancer, and pleural thickening are some of the examples.
2. DAMP-RELATED REPAIRS
Damp refers to the deep penetration of moisture and humidity throughout the roof, ceiling, and old building walls. Older buildings are more likely to penetrate damp given the years of neglect and lack of maintenance.
It is common for homeowners to ignore broken roof tiles, damaged rainwater pipes, and broken window joints. All these defects give rise to penetrating damp, which further aggravates the damages. It is vital to prioritize repairs of all damaged and faulty mechanisms to ensure that they fulfill their intended purpose.
It's easy to identify dampness by following all watermarks on the walls and ceiling. Damp patches become more prominent after heavy rains and storms. If the paint is cracking, wallpaper is peeling, or wood is swelling hideously, these are all signs of excessive moisture.
It is crucial to repair this issue to prevent construction materials from biodegrading. In the long-run, damp can give birth to mold and mildew, leaving the building uninhabitable.
3. BRICKWORK AND RENDER
Old buildings are magnificent masterpieces of brickwork and render, and many buyers feel attracted by such composition. However, this combination is likely to get damaged as they age, suffering grave deterioration. Brickwork is extraordinarily porous and, therefore, highly vulnerable to frost damages and the destruction caused by heavy storms.
It is vital to repair aging and deteriorating brickwork to solid defense against damp and water damage. If these repairs get neglected, water will penetrate deep inside the structure and corrupt the material.
4. MOLD GROWTH
Mold is a life-threatening hazard that can give birth to numerous health and safety risks. It is vital to eliminate mold growth and condensation to make the building habitable and safe. Mold can give birth to various structural issues; for instance, it causes the organic materials to biodegrade. It also causes wood to rot, thereby destroying the wooden structure and compromising the building's life.
Mold can give birth to respiratory hazards, such as allergies, asthma, infections, and others. Inhaling or touching this substance can trigger severe asthma attacks, alongside skin rashes and flu-like symptoms.
5. WATER DAMAGES
Old water damage is a crucial consideration, which extends to the plumbing and pipework systems. These systems tend to deteriorate rapidly in old buildings. A thorough inspection is essential to examine the extent of the damages. Even if the culprits get eliminated, but the areas remain wet, the expense is likely to increase dramatically.
Excessive moisture not only compromises the structure but also gives rise to mold and rapid deterioration. Excessive humidity causes wood damage and gives birth to wood-boring organisms and insects, such as fungi, aggravating structure weakening. Water damages trigger wood rotting, which can compromise the structural integrity of an old building.
6. LEAD PAINT
Old buildings depict rich textures and impressively painted walls, but they feature a common hazard: lead paint. Most older properties feature artisanal woodwork, but lead paint is the material for the 1960s or 70s buildings.
During this period, lead paints got commonly used to coat woodwork, doors and windows, and even radiators. Ingesting or inhaling lead fumes or dust can give birth to severe health ailments, such as nerve damage or brain damage. Lead is also a culprit in kidney damages, and inhaling lead can cause infertility. It is vital to eliminate lead paint, and in old buildings, it is most likely locked in the oldest layer of paint.
You will have to remove all the layers of paints coated over time and get to the bottom layer to remove lead effectively.
7. AGED ELECTRIC WIRING
A detailed inspection will highlight multiple damages and faulty mechanisms involving the old electric wiring and lighting systems. It is wise to consider a complete renovation to revamp and upgrade the electric system. It is crucial to ensure safety and replace the aluminum wiring with copper wiring for a safer alternative.
Be sure to remove all the old and damaged wiring to eliminate the risk of electrical fires. You will also have to remove all damaged sockets and faulty plugs that can trigger fires or electric shocks.
8. CARBON MONOXIDE
The notorious silent killed carbon monoxide is commonly found in old buildings and properties. This colorless gas has no smell, taste, or texture, but it can cause your health to deteriorate rapidly. Carbon monoxide gets generated by burning carbon fuels, such as an open fire or a boiler.
Older buildings feature various carbon fuel-based appliances, such as fireplaces, which can poison your environment.
A detailed and thorough inspection is a vital undertaking so you can identify all the urgent repairs to make your building safe. It is advisable to conduct this inspection before investing in the property to estimate the renovation expenses. If such issues are present, it is likely to step back and look for another property unless the property in question holds sentimental value or family ties.