New construction will never be able to replicate the charm of older homes. Something is awe-inspiring about a home that’s been around for many milestones. Although their appeal is unmatched, older homes are notorious for leaky roofs, mold, stucco damage, heating and cooling inefficiencies, and more. If you’re thinking about renovating your older home in Pennsylvania, here are some essential things to keep in mind.
If Walls Could Talk
Many homes built between 1940 and 1990 likely have asbestos, an organic mineral. Once its fire-resistant properties were discovered, asbestos was added to plaster and stucco. It was also used in buildings for electrical insulation. Asbestos plaster was used in homes as well as in office buildings, schools, universities, churches, and warehouses.
What we know now about asbestos proves that some disadvantages outweigh the benefits. The dangers of breathing in asbestos fibers are many. For one, asbestos exposure can result in an array of serious, if not fatal, lung diseases, including a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma. However, symptoms from asbestos exposure can sometimes take 20-50 years to develop, so many people don’t know they have been in contact with asbestos until it’s too late.
Water Damage and Mold
Water damage is detrimental, especially to stucco homes. Stucco siding, the once crowning jewel of luxury homes, has recently become the villain in what is transpiring to be one of the gravest construction atrocities yet. Hundreds of southeast Pennsylvania homes have been struck by stucco siding issues once considered merely cosmetic.
However, beneath the tower of these grand households is an ugly truth: the water has been seeping in since the beginning, causing extensive wall rot. Although the exterior of the building might be fresh, thin coats of stucco and other factors have caused the interior of these homes to rot. Some have become so unstable the residents were forced to leave. As you can imagine, for those who purchased luxury homes, the results of this water damage and the cost of repairs have been devastating.
Do you know the age of your roof? If you don’t know, it’s time to check. Roofing isn’t immortal—it has a life expectancy, and depending on certain factors, the lifespan of your roof might be shorter than you think. An aging roof also introduces several risks that could cause structural damage to the rest of your home.
Any professional roofer in Downingtown, PA will tell you that as long as you treat your roofing well with maintenance and TLC, it will last longer than you expect. Any time your region experiences harsh weather conditions, such as high winds, hail, or even torrential downpours, you should inspect your roof for damages or signs of premature failure. Look to ensure that shingles haven’t lifted and are not curling up. Check for cracks around the flashing, fascia, and soffits.
You will need to check for cracking or chipping depending on the roofing materials. Debris can easily damage slate and ceramic tiles. Slate tiles will flake from sun damage. Rusting, dents, tears, and issues around skylights, chimneys, and vents might cause leaking. Beware of moss and mold, as well, since this means moisture isn’t drying properly.
Windows to the Home
Most windows have a lifespan of roughly 10 to 20 years before they start to deteriorate and cut your home’s energy efficiency. As they age, their seals weaken and let air and dust sneak into your home.
Windows can cause a lot of issues in your home, especially from improper installation or incompatibility with your home. If you’re looking for longevity, energy efficiency, and an aesthetically pleasing finish, replacing the windows on your own may not be the best idea. There’s more to replacing windows than simply fitting the frame into the hole in the wall.
Every step has a particular art, from insulating the edges to glazing the panes or installing the seals. Homeowners without extensive experience in window installation are likely to get at least one thing wrong, damaging the project’s longevity and potentially hurting themselves.
It All Starts With the Foundation
Stucco should be above grade, allowing for a 6-8 inch gap between the plaster and soil. Below-grade quality is the opposite. It results from stucco installed below where the building’s foundation meets the soil. If your house rests on concrete, there should be about 2 inches between the stucco and the concrete foundation. When the minimum distances between stucco and ground are incorrect, serious issues arise.
Think your older Pennsylvania home may have stucco or foundation damage? Take a walk around the perimeter of your residence and look for the signs of failing stucco. If you are unsure of what to look for, keep your eyes out for the following symptoms of stucco below grade:
- Cracking and crumbling of the stucco exterior
- Peeling paint
- Mold and mildew growth on the surface of the stucco and around the foundation of your house
- Signs of decay and rot in the foundation, such as water in the basement, water damage, and pest invasion
When renovating an older home, be sure to document any signs of issues with the stucco, then send a query and the images to a local Downingtown stucco remediation contractor. A professional group can provide a full inspection.
Work With a Home Renovation Contractor You Can Trust When Renovating an Older Home
Just as you do, your charming home deserves some good, tender love and care. If you’re considering renovating an older home, call us! We provide new roofing, James Hardie siding, windows, or doors for your home. We’ll help you understand your options and give the exterior solutions that will work best. Schedule your free consultation today!
Want to learn more about whole home remodeling in PA? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Remodeling Your Luxury Home.