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What to Fix First in an Old House?

What to Fix First in an Old House?

Our Answer

What to fix first in an old house? You are absolutely on the right path by tackling the roof repair and gutters first. There’s no sense in working on other areas until the home is protected from water damage.

I’d also suggest checking all window and door flashing (as well as on the roof) to make sure it’s moving water away from the house.

Why? Protecting a home from water damage starts with addressing the roof and gutters first, as they play a crucial role in diverting rainwater away. Checking window and door flashing is also important to prevent water seepage.

Common Problems in Old Houses

So, what to fix first in an old house?

When it comes to old houses, there are several common problems you might encounter.

A weathered roof may show signs of wind damage to roof tiles, missing shingles or damaged flashing.

For example, you could find issues with the foundation, outdated electrical systems, or even pest infestations.

Understanding these common issues is crucial in determining what to prioritize when fixing up your old home.

Cracked Foundations

One typical issue with old houses is a cracked foundation.

It's not uncommon for old homes to have settled over time, causing the foundation to crack.

This can lead to structural issues, uneven floors, and even water damage.

Outdated Electrical Systems

Older homes often come with outdated electrical systems.

This can be a major fire hazard and should be one of the first things you fix in an old house. If there’s a roof leak electrical wiring may be exposed to rainwater, leading to sparks and difficult electrical fires.

Outdated wiring and insufficient electrical capacity can lead to overloaded circuits, creating a dangerous situation.

Old Multi Storey Home
Old Multi Storey Home

Pest Infestations

Another common issue in old houses is pest infestations.

Rodents, insects, and other pests can cause significant damage to your home's structure and wiring, not to mention the health hazards they pose.

Starting a Renovation of an Old House

When you're ready to begin your old house renovation, it's essential to start with a plan.

First, assess the current state of your home and create a list of necessary repairs.

Then, prioritize these repairs based on urgency, cost, and your desired outcome.

Inspection and Assessment

Before starting any work on your old house, hire a professional inspector to assess the property.

They will be able to identify any major structural, electrical, or plumbing issues that need immediate attention.

Prioritize Repairs

Once you have a list of necessary repairs, prioritize them based on what is most urgent.

For example, fixing a cracked foundation or updating an electrical system should take precedence over cosmetic improvements.

Redesigning an Old House on a Budget

It's possible to redesign an old house without breaking the bank.

Here are some tips for updating your old home while sticking to a budget.

Repurpose and Reuse

Instead of buying all new furniture and décor, consider repurposing existing items in your home.

This can save you money and add a unique, personal touch to your space.

Shop Secondhand

When you do need to purchase new items, consider shopping secondhand.

Thrift stores and online marketplaces are excellent sources for affordable furniture and home accessories.

DIY Where Possible

Save money by tackling some of the smaller renovation projects yourself.

Painting walls, installing new fixtures, and refinishing furniture are all tasks that can be done without professional help.

Living in an Old House: What to Expect

Living in an old house can be a unique and rewarding experience, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges.

Maintenance and Repairs

Old houses often require more frequent maintenance and repairs than newer homes.

Be prepared for unexpected issues and set aside a budget for necessary fixes.

Energy Efficiency

Older homes tend to be less energy-efficient than their modern counterparts.

You may need to invest in insulation, energy-efficient windows, and other improvements to keep utility costs in check.

Historical Charm

One of the most significant benefits of living in an old house is the historical charm and character.

Embrace the unique features and quirks that make your home one-of-a-kind.

Do All Old Houses Have Cracks?

While not every old house will have cracks in its foundation, it is a common issue.

Cracks can form due to settling, soil movement, or water damage.

If you notice cracks in your old home, it's essential to address them promptly to avoid further structural damage.


What are the advantages of living in an old house?

Living in an old house offers unique charm and character, with features like original woodwork, high ceilings, and vintage fixtures.
Additionally, older homes often have larger rooms and are located in established neighborhoods with mature trees and landscaping.

What are the disadvantages of living in an old building?

Disadvantages of living in an old building include potentially outdated electrical and plumbing systems, less energy efficiency, and more frequent maintenance and repairs.
Additionally, old buildings may have less effective insulation, leading to higher utility costs.

What are the characteristics of an old house?

Old houses often feature distinctive architectural elements such as ornate moldings, original wood floors, and unique built-in storage. They may also have solid wood doors, plaster walls, and vintage hardware. Older homes are often constructed with more durable materials than modern houses.

What makes my house look old?

Factors that make a house look old include peeling paint, outdated fixtures, worn flooring, and outdated cabinetry. Additionally, an old house may have dated wallpaper, cracked plaster walls, or inefficient windows, which can contribute to the overall aged appearance.

What should I prioritize when fixing up an old house?

Start by addressing structural issues like foundation problems or roof leaks. These are crucial to prevent further damage.

Is it important to update electrical systems in an old house?

Yes, outdated wiring can be a safety hazard. Upgrading to modern electrical standards ensures safety and efficiency.

Should I focus on insulation and windows in an old house?

Absolutely, improving insulation and upgrading windows enhances energy efficiency, comfort, and reduces utility costs.

What about cosmetic fixes in an old house? Where do I start?

Prioritize interior and exterior paint, as well as flooring updates. These improvements provide a fresh look and enhance the house's appeal.

BulletpRoof Roof Systems is family operated roofing contractor with over 15 years of experience. We have been helping families throughout Mission, BC and neighbouring areas resolve issues with their residential sloped roofs for many years now. We pride ourselves on providing genuine professional roofing services and are dedicated to helping our clients resolve issues with their roof systems as efficiently as possible.
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