What Should I Fix First in an Old House?

Peter Grenier New Hampshire

July 20, 2022

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When repairing an older home, you should start with the exterior. Older houses often have creaky doors and drafty rooms. Fixing the exterior first will prevent problems down the road. Next, tackle any substandard or against-code features, such as leaking windows or roofs. Ultimately, repairing the entire house is your project. Here are some tips to fix small cracks and problems:

Repairing small cracks

Small cracks on the inside walls of an old house are typically easy to fix with a few basic tools and a few simple instructions. The main cause of cracks is natural settling, which causes walls to expand and contract in response to changes in temperature. Most small cracks are not structurally significant, but wide ones should be addressed by a professional structural engineer. Fortunately, small cracks are usually easy to fix with basic tools from a home improvement store.

Generally speaking, you can repair a small crack on an old house by using paint and filler. In other cases, you will need to take more drastic action. Repairing large cracks, if they occur, requires major work and may require breaking out and replacing sections of walls. Cracks that are wider than 1/16″ may indicate structural problems or significant settling and need to be replaced. If you can’t find a solution for a small crack in an old house, you may need to consider rebuilding the entire house.

Fixing substandard or against-code features

When you’re selling an old house, you’re more than likely aware of any substandard or against-code features. These items can make the sale process less stressful and may even affect the price. If you’re not sure how to go about fixing these issues, enlist the help of a real estate agent. An agent can provide guidance and advice on the different aspects of addressing code violations. Agents are knowledgeable about local building and safety codes, and can help you find the best real estate agent for your situation. You can find top agents by using Home Light’s Agent Match tool.

Not all code violations need to be addressed immediately. Minor corrections and updates are fine, but larger violations may require professional attention. Minor repairs can go a long way toward sending the message that a home owner cares about its maintenance and the needs of future buyers. In addition, some building permits may require that certain work be done by a professional. You may want to consider this option before you begin your home improvement project.

Fixing deteriorating roof

Having an old house with a deteriorating roof can pose many problems. Water leaks through the roof can cause more damage than meets the eye. Water can wear down the structural beams under the roof, compromising the integrity of the whole house. Fortunately, you can fix a deteriorating roof yourself. Just follow these steps to restore your roof’s integrity and prevent more expensive issues in the future.

Fixing leaking windows

If you have an old house with leaking windows, you’ll probably have to replace the window. If it’s not possible to replace it, you can try to repair it with caulk and epoxy wood filler. But if the problem is more severe, you might have to replace the window altogether. To determine whether it’s the window that is causing the leak, you need to remove the entire window. Look for any visible mold or rot on the walls that could indicate a leaking window.

Before you can repair the leak, you have to seal the area with caulk. A caulking gun should be used to apply the rubbery material into the frame part of the window. Make sure that you’re applying the caulk at the frame part, as this will prevent any further damage. Finally, make sure to smooth the caulk with a spatula so that it’s invisible.

Fixing foundation issues

Before you make any foundation repairs, it is vital to check for cracks on the foundation. While some cracks are cosmetic, others indicate more serious problems. It’s a good idea to have a structural engineer to inspect your house to determine the extent of any damage and whether it’s time to take action. In addition, having your foundation inspected by a professional will allow you to avoid further damage down the road.

While foundation issues can be costly, they don’t necessarily have to be. You may be able to repair them yourself if you find them early enough. You may even be able to negotiate a better price if the damages are minor compared to the cost of foundation repair. However, you should remember that fixing foundation issues in an old house can be a difficult process. It can take a long time, so it’s vital to hire a structural engineer to make a thorough diagnosis.