If you’ve purchased an older home, remodeling may not just be a matter of aesthetics. In some cases, older houses actually have dangerous components that can cause serious issues for their inhabitants. The remodeling industry is expected to continue to grow by 2% each year through 2025, and a fair amount of this income is likely dedicated to safety-based renovations like removing lead-based paint, mold remediation, and installing radon detectors. While you may be able to handle some of these on your own, others are best left to the professionals. If you have any doubts about remediating on your own, it makes excellent sense to reach out to a professional contractor for an estimate. Older homes can cause issues with your health due to the following problems:
Years of water damage, moisture, and dampness can lead to mold and mildew growth. This is especially common if your roof has ever leaked, or if your house has ever experienced a fire or flood. Any residual dampness that’s lingered can lead to mold and mildew spores taking hold and growing in dark areas that you cannot always see, such as behind your drywall, between bricks, or in your basement or crawl space. If you’re experiencing issues with mold or mildew in your house’s bathroom, basement, or behind the drywall, you may need to work with a skilled contractor for mold remediation. Many people have an allergic reaction to mold spores, according to the US EPA, and this reaction can cause health symptoms that are similar to those of a cold. Since Americans get around one billion colds a year, this can be easy to overlook at first. After extended exposure, far more serious symptoms can occur, such as difficulty breathing, rashes, severe headaches, and more. Exposure to mold can affect your health for years, so if you notice it in your home it’s important to have it removed and the area professionally cleaned as soon as possible.
If your home was built before 1978, there’s a reasonable chance that it may have lead-based paint somewhere on the walls, especially if there are numerous layers of paint. You’ll need to evaluate the paint in your house to determine if it’s chipping. If it isn’t, you may be able to encapsulate the lead-based paint, sealing it in under a level of epoxy or polymer paint. While it’s possible to select this paint from the hardware store, it may be wise to speak to a professional painter to handle this job safely and effectively. Avoid sanding lead-based paint, as breathing in the lead paint dust can be hazardous.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. It is radioactive and can cause lung cancer. However, it’s almost impossible to detect on your own. It typically settles in basements and other indoor areas, and can only be detected with a radon detector. You can install these simple sensors yourself, and they can be purchased at any hardware store. They’ll alert you if the levels of radon in your home are harmful so that you can contact a local professional for remediation. If you aren’t sure how to set them up yourself, you can also reach out to a local contractor to install them for you or have them installed as a part of your alarm system.
Old homes have character and charm, they’re great to raise families in, and they’re wonderful for photos for social media and blogging. However, they also can have dangerous elements that you may not be prepared for. It’s important to educate yourself about radon, lead paint, and other hazards that can be found in older houses so that you can take steps to protect yourself and your family.