Common risks when renovating old houses

    Owning an old home is an investment. People who opt for fixer-uppers frequently need to do extensive renovation before ever even moving in and that’s just the start. Old homes require quite a bit of maintenance so many owners keep Top Rated General Contractors Los Angeles in their frequent contacts. But that doesn’t discourage everyone from buying and at some point or another, you’ll also face the challenge of fixing up a decades-old house. When that happens, you need to stay safe. Unfortunately, there are some risks when renovating old houses – you need to be aware of them.

    Structural risks when renovating old houses

    Nothing lasts forever, not even the best-built and best-maintained homes out there. After a while, things start to fall apart. When you’re renovating an old house, this can be a serious problem.

    Foundation issues

    Cracks in a wall.
    Beware of cracks in walls and floors – they could be a sign of something much worse.

    The foundation is arguably the most important part of a house – the one that everything else literally rests upon. So when something goes wrong with it, fixing it should be imperative. So before you start any other work, check the floors and walls for cracks and see if there are any doors or windows that don’t close properly – these are signs of potential damage to the foundation. Keep in mind, however, that it is not always possible to fix issues with the foundation. If that is the case with the house you’re renovating, you may want to suggest garage conversions Los Angeles to the owners instead. They’ll need a place to live and work while their new home is built.

    Water damage

    One of the most common ways to damage the structure of any building is with water. Excess water can cause mold, rot, and other forms of decomposition even when the materials used for building are high quality. Leaky pipes are the most common cause of water damage. Often, bathroom remodeling Los Angeles is enough to fix this. But water damage isn’t always obvious and it gets worse with time. So by the time you’re renovating an old house, you may have a serious issue on your hands.

    Plumbing and wiring

    Dripping water tap is one of the risks when renovating old houses.
    Quality plumbing is important for any home but especially one that’s decades old.

    Running water, electricity, and even gas have been staples in all homes for centuries. But we used to be a lot worse at installing them. So old homes often have outdated plumbing and wiring. Not only can this cause damage to the house (with leakages, for example), but it can also be dangerous. Flooding, electrical sparks, and gas fires are serious health hazards for anyone in the home when the plumbing and wiring aren’t up to par. So get your ADU builders Los Angeles to install new utilities during renovation.


    Wood is not the sturdiest or most long-lasting material in a builders’ arsenal. Never is that clearer than when you start renovating an old house and find rot everywhere. Rot can be difficult to spot from the outside because it usually develops inside wood that’s been damaged or wet in the past. If this is the case, you may need to replace all wooden fixtures in the home. This time, use treated and coated wood to prevent the same issue in the future.

    Health risks when renovating old houses

    The house itself isn’t the only thing you need to worry about – the health and safety of the renovators (and inhabitants) is also on the line. Unfortunately, old homes can sometimes be veritable death traps.


    Paint roller covered in brick red paint.
    Although it used to be very common in paint, lead is actually one of the serious risks when renovating old houses.

    Today, we know that lead can be detrimental to human health and interior design companies Los Angeles now use safe wall paint whose only downside is the smell. But before we learned about the effects of lead, it was regularly used in paint and other coatings all throughout the 19th and even for a part of the 20th century. So many old homes still have lead paint on the walls. You’ll need to use protective gear when renovating them.


    Much like lead, asbestos was a popular material in construction before it was found to cause various health issues including cancer. In good condition, asbestos is a safe and effective fire retardant. Problems begin when it starts to decay, as it does in older houses. Unlike lead, it was used extensively as late as the 1980s and 1990s. So even if you’re renovating a home that’s only a few decades old, you need to be careful and use protection.

    Mold and dust

    The musky smell we typically associate with old homes comes from mold and dust. Small amounts of either won’t harm you; in fact, it’s almost impossible to find a house, even a new one, without any dust or mold in it. However, prolonged exposure can cause health issues. The primary concern is respiratory diseases like asthma, lung damage, and even cancer. This is especially a problem in old houses where mold and dust can be of the more dangerous variety – black mold or dust that contains lead and asbestos, for example, can be bad for you even in smaller doses. So before you start any renovation, check the home for these hazards. You may need to partner with another specialist to fix the problem.

    Why is it important to be aware of the common risks when renovating old houses?

    The goal of renovation is to restore the structure to its former glory. It’s not enough to just slap a new coat of paint on a house that’s still severely damaged on the inside. But knowing about the common risks when renovating old houses will help you do your job better and safer. Remember: you need to take good care of your work crew as well. They’ll be grateful for the safety precautions you take, but you can only do this when you know what might await on the other side of the door.

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