Watch Out For These Suprises When Renovating A Century Home

Black family holding hands

If you’re thinking about renovating a century home, you might have a lot of repairs to do first. Behind the distinctive gingerbread trim and custom stained-glass windows, a century home could be hiding some major household issues. 

Plan Ahead Before Taking on a Project

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a project to realize you’ve hit a major roadblock that will quadruple your original budget. 

In an emergency, you won’t be able to postpone work until you generate cash. If you’re stuck with retrofitting galvanized plumbing or rehabbing electrical, you might have to take action right away. 

Luckily, you can find installment loans online to help you take on unexpected emergency repairs. These short term loans are convenient, especially if you don’t have good credit. However, the installment loan specialists at MoneyKey recommend using them as a safety net should other options fall short first. 

3 Common Problems in Older Homes

Plan A should always be a generous savings cushion. Renovation experts suggest adding anywhere between 10 and 25 percent to your expected costs to help you handle the following repairs. 

1. Out of Code Electrical

If you want to tear down walls or do major construction to your house, there’s a good chance you’ll have to rehab your wiring. Century homes are notorious for housing hazardous electrical setups or outdated knob and tube wiring.

That’s because they were constructed before the country’s safe electrical codes were created. Anyone building a home one hundred years ago didn’t have to ask for permission from the city or get a building inspector involved to ensure they grounded their wires correctly. These novices wired their houses any way they saw fit.

Today, ripping off plaster lathes could reveal their “handy work.” Unfortunately, you can’t ignore these issues as they could be a fire hazard. In some places, you have to rehab out-of-code wiring by law.

Rewiring a house costs the average homeowner $8,000, but you may have to pay more due to the size and age of your century home. 

2. Galvanized Pipes

Builders of yesteryear used galvanized steel for plumbing up until the 1960s. Although they may not be as dangerous as lead pipes, galvanized plumbing is a major red flag. 

Decades of water exposure causes galvanized steel to rust and corrode. At first, small pieces might break off to contaminate your water, but sooner or later, it can cause a big flood. And, some insurance companies might not extend coverage if you still have galvanized steel.

Replacing these pipes could cost between $2,000 and $15,000depending on the size of your home and the replacement materials. 

3. Asbestos 

Another material thought to be safe a century ago was asbestos. This fire-retardant material was once used as insulation. Today, it’s better known as a significant health risk if disturbed. 

That means it’s safe if it’s hidden behind walls or tucked away in an attic. But as soon as your contractors reveal it during a project, you’ll have to remove it before they continue working. 

On average, removing asbestos from the home could add roughly $2,000 to your bill! 

Be Prepared for a Century Home’s “Charm”

Renovating a century home doesn’t always go according to plan, so that’s why it’s so important to have a backup plan. Being prepared for all situations — even emergencies — can help you tackle your reno faster and with fewer headaches.

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