I’m in the renovation business and business is booming. Everyone is renovating, which is one of the reasons it’s so tough to find a good contractor. Consider the age of your house when deciding on kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations, home improvement renovations and house additions.
If you are buying an older home to renovate and bring it up to date, be sure to do your homework—it can also be a money pit.
Many older homes and buildings today still contain asbestos. When we started demo on the River House on Holmes+Holmes, we realized that there was asbestos. When asbestos fibres are disturbed they get released into the air, and if they’re inhaled they can get trapped in the lungs and cause serious health issues, including cancer. Canada has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer caused by asbestos.
Although asbestos isn’t currently used in construction materials anymore, there are still many homes that contain asbestos—usually older homes. Any home built before 1980 should be professionally checked for asbestos, especially if you’re planning a renovation or investing in home improvement projects. If your home has materials containing asbestos, getting them properly removed by a professional company through remediation can drive up the cost of your reno.
There are many materials that could contain asbestos. Read more here.
Older houses can be a spaghetti factory of wires—copper, aluminum or even knob and tube–often mixed together.
If you are using about the same amount of electricity as people used in the 40s and 50s, then there may not be any issue with your wiring. But that is rarely the case. Old wiring was designed for different amperage, when people just didn’t use as much electricity. Most insurance companies won’t even insure houses that have knob and tube wiring.
Absolutely. First it leads to blown fuses–then homeowners replace 15 amp fuses with 30 because their fuses keep blowing. Which leads to overloaded circuits and possibly electrical fires.
When budgeting for a home renovation, I always recommend getting a pre-reno home inspection done. A home inspection can alert you of safety issues prior to starting work, so you can budget appropriately. It will point out deficiencies in your home. Here are some other issues with older homes: