There is no doubt that older homes have more character. They were designed and built in a time when things were different, a time when its features were new technology which unfortunately no longer are. Items such as solid plaster walls and architectural windows are less common in newer buildings today, so when it comes to renovating, older houses can present higher costs and challenges.
The following article will highlight some of the more costly elements to renovating an older house and hopefully by using this information it will help you plan your renovation with a more savvy approach. Saving money on simple tasks can be the difference between sticking to or breaking a budget. So use the following advice to help you set more realistic budgets which in return will help you spend less money as well as prepare yourself for the worst case scenario.
Plumbing and Electrical Systems
There is no doubt that any old house will have dated electrical systems and wiring and these are some of the most common problems that home renovators face. To give you an example, before the 1960s galvanised pipes were used both within the house and also in the sewer lines. The problem with these types of pipes is that they get clogged easily and are very susceptible to corrosion over time. If you are going through a major renovation including plumbing, you will want to make sure you replace these with copper or PVC pipes whilst you have everything un-rooted. Realestate.com.au claim that the cost of replacing the pipework can range up to $10,000 for the average sized property.
Electrical wiring is also a big problem because it can be a safety hazard at the best of times. Old bathrooms, for example, before the 1920s didn’t have electrical panels designed to deal with hair dryers so even something out-dated like that can draw more power than normal household appliances. This is turn causes a significantly higher electricity bill. Updating a fuse box can be a relatively small cost e.g. $800, however having to replace the wiring in your house can cost up to $5,000 on average, although it will depend on the number of appliances you intend to have and what kind of entertainment systems you plan to install.
Old Materials No Longer Used
It goes without saying that older homes were built under different building standards and codes of conduct that meant different materials would have been used through out the property. Most people like to modernise their homes by removing smaller bathtubs, enlarging pokey rooms and creating a more open feel. However, others may wish to retain the homes character and finding the right materials for this job can be difficult. People intending to maintain appearances will find that modern standards have changed and they may need to resort to architectural salvage stores and reuse centres where desirable materials could be found. But, as you can imagine, these products come at a much higher cost so planning the way you spend your budget can be crucial to saving money.
Tiny Rooms, Long Corridors and Old Floor plans
Victorian properties are probably the most recognised for having dated layouts that are the opposite of what we desire nowadays in homes. Due to the style of living back then, Victorians had live-in staff which they liked to have around the house to help with daily tasks, but quite often didn’t want to see them unless necessary. Therefore, any houses were designed with a room for every purpose.
Today however, we prefer open-plan kitchens and other living spaces to give a larger sensation when entering the house. If you want to start knocking down walls however, you need to employ an architect or an engineer. The wrong wall could cost you thousands of dollars of repair works and restructuring. Speaking with a builder beforehand will also be required to gauge costs prior to any work commencing. Save money by seeking the correct advice, preferably from more than one person to ensure your money is spent in the most efficient way possible.
The ability to test product toxicity was far more limited decades ago and the effects were less known. So if your house was built many decades ago then the likelihood is that the paint may have lead and the flooring may contain asbestos. Left undisturbed these toxic substances won’t pose too much of a threat to your health, but if a project requires scraping or disturbances of these chemical properties, then this is where health threats will arise. Most of us like to take a hands-on approach with our renovations to reduce the cost of labour, but before you dive in headfirst it can be a great investment for your health to have a professional look into the materials of your property first.
Peace of mind for your family does of course come at a cost and as the Pro Asbestos Removals company based in Brisbane mention, there will be costs associated with removal. Fortunately, their testing prices start at $80 – $120 meaning you can get your house checked and some professional advice for relatively cheap in comparison to the benefit factor of knowing.
As with any renovations try to find out as much about your home as possible, what renovations were completed before you bought it, what snags previous owners had etc.? This information can prove invaluable to saving money on your renovations, because finding a problem can mean that you may also have to fix a dodgy job from a previous owner and this will eat away at your budget. If you have anything to share with the Buckscoop community or simply have some advice to give on renovating a property, please use the comments section below.