How to Renovate an Old House: A Civil Engineer’s Guide!

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Renovating an old house often feels like you are about to open a can of worms, you have no idea what awaits you. On the other hand, it is important because not doing a thorough renovation can lead to accidents and malfunctions further along the line.

Now, it goes without saying that there are numerous challenges when it comes to renovating an old house, and in this article, we are about to cover the five main ones.

Let’s start with Moisture

Damp walls are commonly found in old houses, and this can be both a construction and health hazard so it is important to address the issue right away. Do a thorough check-up of the entire home from the basement to the attic to see if there is moisture present.

If this is the case, simply drying out and repairing the wall will not be sufficient you also need to locate the source and add additional insulation so that the problem doesn’t reoccur.

Finally, include proper ventilation on your to-do renovation list so as to keep humidity at bay.

Wall paint


Both of the outside and the inside of the house. Years and the environment tend to do a number of harms even on top quality houses. Therefore, it is important to watch out for the areas that need to be completely reconstructed and where some minor remodelling won’t do the trick.

This is especially applicable to electrical issues. Wiring tends to deteriorate and it can also be subjected to animal gnawing if the house has been unoccupied for a while. So if you run into damaged or exposed electrical wires it is best to contact an emergency electrician and have them come out and deal with the issue.  


Much like wiring, the plumbing system is also prone to corrosion and deterioration. It is not enough to check if it works. You’ll need to expect all the pipelines in order to make sure it is in good shape.

Deteriorated pipes can lead to flooding and more serious damages to the house. So the best course of action is to replace all suspicious one as and to update the overall house plumbing. That way you will be able to relax and not jump up every time the pipes makes a strange noise when you turn the water.

When we are discussing plumbing issues, it would also be wise to check the water heater in the house and to assess what shape it is in so as to take any necessary preemptive measure if you find it not being up to code.

Plumber working

Removal of unsafe materials

When we talk about old homes renovation a lot of times asbestos and lead-based paint come to mind. These materials were in common use and can be still found on the floors, ductwork, ceiling, and HVAC system.

Now, we know that if not disturbed, these materials are not harmful. But when you start doing renovation you are bound to disturb then, realizing dust that is dangerous if inhaled.

Therefore, it is important to take preemptive measures when getting rid of these materials. First of all, wear proper protection and ensure that you dispose of them in the appropriate manner.

Renovation is completed

These are the basic four challenges that you can expect to find when renovating an old house. Of course, there are many more like bad foundation or rotting beams.

Taking on an old house has its challenges but also its rewards so make sure you are well prepared to go in and if you are sure to love the end result as an old home always has more character then a new one and it can always tell us a story.

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