Recognising The Hidden Problems Of Old Property Renovation

Renovating old properties can seem like an exciting project by helping bring some new life to a dilapidated building. Many people prefer to renovate old homes instead of building from scratch, due to the craftsmanship, architectural details and the patina of age that gives these types of home character. While it can provide great satisfaction to know that you have restored or reinvigorated your old building, it can also pose some problems. Old buildings tend to contain material, or features, that can prove dangerous when tampered with and recognising them can be beneficial for you in the long run. Below are some factors to look out for when commencing a big renovation project.

Damaged wiring

Loose or incorrect wiring is quite common in buildings over a certain age. This can not only lead to electrical shocks, but is also a fire hazard. Ensure that you locate any faulty wiring that is twisted or bent and have it seen to immediately may avoid you having to pay more money to maintain this in the future.  You should find the fuse box or look at the circuit breakers to analyse the wiring situation. If you feel it may need professional repair, an electrician will be able to resolve any problems.

­Wood rot

Wood rot comes in two types, dry and wet. Dry rot is a fungus that can destroy timber quite quickly and can be identified by the fungal strands it sends out which can be seen along the timber. The strands can become dense to a form a mass which is similar to cotton wool. It will then penetrate and destroy the timber. Wet rot is when the timber naturally decays through the presence of high levels of moisture. It can be identified by the spongy feel of the timber and the dark appearance compared to surrounding timber. A simple solution to solve both these problems is to ensure problem ventilation and remove the causes of dampness.


Most older properties were built with this now banned product. It was used for furnaces, piping and often the exterior of homes. This deadly material can lead to respiratory illnesses such as asbestosis and lung cancer. It has no recognisable appearance, but ensure to look in the locations mentioned previously, including basements and attics. If you feel that you may have asbestos, contact an asbestos surveyor who will conduct a survey on the property to analyse the condition. They can also provide efficient asbestos management solutions.


Before the 90’s, most paint was lead-based. Today it is illegal as it can lead to reproductive problems. Some pipes are made with lead, often with lead chips flaking off, along with any paint that is lead-based. There are home test kits that can help you detect any lead, but in some cases, these are not reliable. It is suggested to hire a risk assessor to make a thorough analysis for any lead around the property.

In conclusion, there are many more things to watch out for when renovating an older property. Before purchasing, or doing any renovation work, ensure that you have the opinion of professionals before commencing. This will not only help you save money, but you are likely to avoid any future health issues.

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