Common Remodeling Problems to Look Out For in Older Homes

Older homes were built with different materials and safety standards than we have now. If you live in a home built more than thirty years ago, it may be time to update it. When you do, have a conversation with your contractor to ensure that they’re committed to addressing the basics of the home’s structure as well as the aesthetics. A remodel is the perfect time to tackle these common problems in older homes!


It’s not uncommon for older homes to have a mold problem, and as we know, mold can negatively impact one’s health. When remodeling, ask your contractor to be on the lookout for water stains or leaky pipes. These are common hotspots where mold can grow. 

Dry rot

Dry rot is caused by a fungus that feeds on wood. It is especially dangerous because it weakens wood, causing it to break down over time. If your home has a wood foundation, you’ll definitely need to address this issue. Nowadays, you can treat wood to prevent dry rot. If you suspect dry rot, you should uproot, replace, and then treat the new wood during your renovation. 

Homes built before present-day building codes

Code compliance is one of the most important ways to protect not only those living in your home but also your financial investment in the home. Because residential codes cover everything from energy efficiency to structural integrity, it’s important to ensure that your old home becomes new-home compliant. 


Because plumbing is such a hard problem to fix, a renovation is the best time to tackle it BEFORE it becomes a problem. If your galvanized pipes are clogging or showing signs of wear and tear, go ahead and replace them. You’ll thank yourself for avoiding future flooding or leakage. 

Electrical wiring

Did you know that old wiring is one of the leading causes of house fires? It is imperative that you bring your home’s wiring up to code. 


Radon is a dangerous gas that over time can leak into your home through the walls, pipes, and cracks in the foundation. Because it’s odorless and invisible, it’s impossible to detect unless you test for it. This is highly recommended, as radon has been proven to cause lung cancer. 

A poor foundation 

Foundation problems are really common, especially in homes built before the 1940s, and they can be especially dangerous. When you remodel your home, make sure that the contractor is looking for the symptoms of a foundational problem. Things like cracks in the basement floor or interior walls are telltale signs that you need to fortify your home’s foundation. 


Another substance that can cause severe lung damage is asbestos, and it is common in homes that were built between 1940 and 1980. It’s relatively harmless if it’s in good condition and left untouched, but it can be extremely dangerous once it starts to wear down or if it’s disturbed during a renovation. We definitely recommend letting a professional handle the asbestos in your home. 

Lead paint

If your home was built before 1978, you must have a professional test for the presence of lead paint before beginning construction. Similar to asbestos, lead paint is relatively harmless when left untouched, but if chipped or deteriorating, it can cause severe health problems. Look for a contractor that is EPA certified for lead paint safety so that you can rest assured that they are creating a safe work environment when renovating your home. 

Final Thoughts

One of the best things you can do for your home is to keep up with maintenance. By addressing problems as they occur, you can preserve the longevity of your home and the safety of those who live in it. If you plan on remodeling your home this year, we highly recommend that you consult a designer before beginning any major renovations. The designers at Kitchen & Bath Ideas have a combined 100+ years of experience to help make your dream home both functional and affordable. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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