Older homes have their charm, and they still have usefulness. Interestingly, Wales has more than its fair share of old buildings with 26 percent of homes being a century or more old according to a UK housing stock survey conducted in 2017. But while old is beautiful, ageing buildings offer a range of challenges to their owners who aim for convenience, comfort, and safety while still maintaining the character of buildings that have seen generations come and go.
Respectful Roofing-Related Renovations
Respect for the past, and the working-class industrial revolution families that once lived in many of Wales’s older buildings means being sensitive about the overall effect created after renovations. It’s a concern for many homeowners, says UK-wide Roofline Design, a company specializing in all things roof-related, including the replacement of fascias and soffits.
The company notes that building materials have come a long way in the last century, making some homeowners reluctant to replace old-fashioned wooden fascias with more durable, weather resistant materials. However, it is able to produce evidence showing that switching to modern uPVC plastic doesn’t have to compromise the character of a building while simultaneously making it more weatherproof, safer, and more comfortable.
Roofing is another area where homeowners need not resort to costly traditional materials. For example, traditional roof shingle lookalikes reduce maintenance and offer better resistance to the elements without detracting from the appearance and character of old buildings.
Low-Maintenance “Wooden” Floors
Beautiful wooden floors speak of a building’s heritage – but they’re hard work to maintain or update to their former glory. These days, wood isn’t a cheap building material. While our ancestors would have scoffed at pine, for example, it’s a material that the status-conscious will mention when speaking of their dedication to quality.
But new materials mimic wood so well, and are so much easier to maintain, that it doesn’t really make sense to go for the real thing anymore. So, when those old floors get splintered and uneven, homeowners can look at wood-lookalikes that might even be better than the real thing while costing less. History is respected, and though the material isn’t authentic in the truest sense of the word, it certainly presents the appearance of authenticity.
Beyond Aesthetics: Lead Plumbing Fixtures Need to be Replaced
Much as nostalgia can be pleasant, some of the realities can be grim. Lead piping was banned in the 1970s, but replacing lead household plumbing remains the responsibility of the homeowner. In houses built before 1970, lead piping is still quite common despite urgings from Water UK to ensure that homeowners should replace it.
Not sure if your home has lead piping? Checking to see is as easy as scratching the piping and fittings with a hard object such as a coin. If the scrape-mark reveals a shiny, silver metal, chances are you’re looking at lead piping and replacing it could be crucial to your family’s health and wellbeing.
Know About Asbestos – and Decide Whether to Replace it
A final consideration, applicable to any home built before the year 200, is asbestos. Even homes over 100 years old may have asbestos hidden in building materials. But experts say that’s not necessarily cause for panic. It may just be a matter of knowing where it is, and ensuring that it’s properly stabilized so that it can’t give off the fibers so hazardous to human health.
It would be impossible to identify many of the asbestos-containing building materials used in construction without expert laboratory testing, but knowing where it is helps you to take the necessary precautions to live with it in safety. If asbestos is deteriorating to a dangerous degree, they would recommend its removal by asbestos handling experts and it would be wise to heed this advice.