Worthwhile Repairs when Moving into an Old Property
Moving to a new house is a wonderful and exciting experience but it’s also far from risk-free. Depending on the property you pick, you’re almost guaranteed to want some kind of cosmetic or structural work done to your new home. What we’re going to do is break down the non-cosmetic (but equally important) home repairs you will have to consider when moving into an older house, or a property exhibiting signs of structural issues.
If you’re living in or have lived in a period property, you’re likely aware of how difficult damp can be. For those of you who are lucky enough to have never encountered these issues, damp appears in the form of wet patches on walls and ceilings caused by moisture permeating through a building’s structure.
Often, damp is a result of blocked or broken guttering that has started redirecting rainwater into the walls of the property. This is easily fixed through a little ladder work; however, on occasion, the issue producing the damp is more deep-seated, caused by poor ventilation in the structure or badly installed cavity wall insulation. In these cases, it can start to get expensive to fix.
Apart from being a little ugly, damp can pose a serious threat to a property’s health. Left unchecked, supports can weaken and rot, whilst heating costs rise due to a lack of efficiency. Fortunately, there are repairs and structural changes you can make in the form of damp proofing to keep your new (or old) property as safe as possible, as well as save you pain and money in the future.
Bowing or bulging walls are usually immediately noticeable. On occasion, they are the result of an intentional design choice but usually, they are a clear sign of wall instability caused by structural changes to the property after the initial build.
When a house is built, the wall thickness and height is decided upon with an estimated load in mind. This means that when individuals add an extra floor to their houses or convert their attic into a gym and put lots of heavy equipment in there, the floors and the walls come under more stress than expected. This causes the walls to start leaning or bulging. If you notice this in your property, contact a surveyor to investigate for you. If you’re looking to purchase a property and it’s suffering from this problem, you’ll want to find out the price of fixing the problem before you make an offer.
The final issue we’ll look at is eroded stone or brickwork. Whilst most people can agree that a little wear and tear on your period home can look charming, it’s important to recognise when there might be issues with the building’s health. Bricks tend to be eroded through weathering which is unavoidable; however, make sure to keep a lookout for signs of the bricks crumbling, or even damp problems inside your property as both can be distinctive signs of excessive weathering, which can only be fixed by replacing the bricks in the necessary areas.
The cost of brick replacement varies drastically from case to case. With very localised issues, damaged areas can usually be cut away and replaced by matching brick; however, with severe problems sometimes brick replacement isn’t an option. Instead, measures are taken to reduce weathering by adding new structural features that divert rainwater away from the affected areas. Regardless, the repairs are necessary because if left unchecked, damaged brick can lead to increased damp (meaning more money spent on damp proofing), as well as water becoming trapped in the wall, freezing and expanding leading to even faster deterioration and drastically decreased wall stability.
As a Final Note…
Whilst making structural repairs to your new home can feel like a hassle, it’s necessary to make sure you can enjoy your time living there! Whenever moving to a new home, if something is leaving you unsure, have a chartered surveyor check the building and give you an unbiased opinion.