The Challenges of Renovating Old Houses

Older homes have a romantic appeal to them and are usually very attractive prospects for the avid renovator. Part of that appeal is usually the historic workmanship or design that add to the overall allure of older houses.

However, as any experienced renovator will attest, these properties often come with their own set of challenges. We’ve compiled a list of the most common challenges facing older home renovations.

The challenges

  •   Getting heritage approval from the city council. If a house was built before 1951, you will need to apply for heritage approval when you decide to renovate. This process will be an additional step in the standard building plans approval process.
  •   Plumbing. Older properties often have decaying pipes that can cause additional leaks when the structure around those becomes unstable due to drilling into or breaking walls. Involving a suitable contractor with a clear understanding of the house’s plumbing structure is vital to avoid any additional costs due to neglecting the plumbing during construction.
  •   Water or moisture control. Another problem that can derail a renovation due to the costs involved. Older homes in South Africa frequently have problems with crack- and leak-causing moisture. It is imperative to set aside funds should this problem arise mid-construction.
  •   The foundation. Although older structures are usually well-built and sturdy, there are often some problems with the foundations of these houses. Time does wear the foundational elements, often causing foundational cracks. Making sure the foundation blocks are sealed and that water is properly drained from the walls is crucial when you start renovating.
  •   Electrical issues. Regulations have likely changed a lot since your older house was built and having an electrician look into possible wiring issues before construction starts are imperative.

There are so many inspiring designs for renovating older homes, but the best rule to go by is to always consider the older structure’s aesthetic integrity. Some extensions can often look completely out of place and mismatched. Involving a designer from the beginning will more likely result in a tasteful execution.

Contact us and start getting ideas for updating your older home.