If you have decided to renovate a property which was built several decades ago, you will probably end up encountering some challenges during the renovation process. Read on to find out more about how to handle some of the most common issues that tend to crop up when remodelling old houses.
Asbestos is a type of building material which was routinely used in the construction industry up until a few years ago. It is no longer used to construct buildings because it has been found to be an extremely toxic substance which can cause serious illness in those who inhale particles of it.
This substance can be found in many older properties. Whilst it is not considered to be dangerous if left intact and untouched, it can present a risk to people if they disturb it (by, for example, tearing down and breaking apart some asbestos ceiling tiles), as this can result in the asbestos particles being flung into the air. When this happens, there is a very good chance that those in the vicinity will inhale these harmful particles.
As such, if you come across a feature in the property which you believe might be made from asbestos, you should not attempt to remove it yourself, as you could end up endangering both yourself and the rest of your construction crew.
Instead, you should contact an asbestos removal specialist in your local area and have them organise and carry out the removal process. They will have the expertise, tools and experience needed to perform this task safely.
They will also be able to handle the disposal of the asbestos (this material cannot be thrown into a landfill, as it can contaminate the soil).
Older properties are often poorly insulated. This can lead to the development of damp on their walls and ceilings. Whilst damp certainly isn't as toxic as asbestos, the mould that can develop as a result of this problem can still be hazardous to one's health if inhaled (it can, for example, irritate the lungs and exacerbate conditions such as asthma and bronchitis).
As such, it's important to check for signs of damp at the beginning of your renovation project. Look out for dark patches on the walls, cracked plaster and peeling wallpaper. A strong musty smell and the presence of mould on the walls can also indicate that the property has a damp problem.
To address this problem, you will need to identify and eliminate the source of the issue. This could be a lack of insulation (in which case, the solution would be to insulate the house with things such as double-glazed windows and fibreglass wall stuffing) or a leak in a water pipe or in the roof (in this scenario, the solution would be to repair the damaged pipe or roof shingles).
When carrying out the necessary repair work, make sure to wear a respirator to avoid inhaling particles of mould.