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Consider the needs of your home

Here is what you can typically expect to find in an older home:

  • Wear and tear. Many items that suffer the most from normal wear and tear are not necessarily expensive to redo or replace, but can make a big difference to the appearance of your home, and your enjoyment of it for instance paint, wallpaper, carpeting, floor finishes, exterior and interior trim, stairs and eaves.
  • Components reach the end of their service life. Many of the products in your home have a defined lifespan. Careful maintenance may extend this somewhat, but sooner or later you need to replace them. For instance, after 15 to 20 years your roof may need some repair work and a respray to ensure it's in the best possible condition.
  • Structural damage. Over time, cracks may appear in the foundation or brick cladding, gaps may develop between the foundation and walls, or there may be other evidence of shifting and movement. Foundations may move or subside, external cladding may work loose or crack, and windows and doors may bind. Floors may slope or sag, and there may be cracks in the drywall or plaster. As a result, your home may not be as comfortable, energy efficient or healthy as it could be, and if these problems are left unattended, further structural deterioration may occur, leading to more costly repairs.
  • Moisture problems. Moisture can damage your home and your health. Water seepage around plumbing fixtures can destroy surrounding wood and finishes. Moisture trapped in the exterior walls and roof can cause structural deterioration and create cracks, bulges or stains in walls and ceilings. Condensation on windows can eventually rot wood frames and sills. Moulds may grow in both visible and hidden places. Moisture problems should be identified and dealt with before or at the same time as your renovation; this will help to protect your home, improve the quality of the indoor air and ensure a healthier living environment for you and your family.
  • Need to upgrade systems. The electrical system in your home may pre-date todays equipment intensive lifestyle and may not be adequate, or safe, for your needs. Your plumbing system may not give you enough hot water or steady pressure for your familys showers and laundry. An older heating system may not deliver enough heat. You may also want additional items to bring your home up to todays standard of performance and comfort : e.g. ventilation, water purification, alarm systems and wiring for home office equipment.
  • Need to upgrade the energy efficiency. Improving the energy efficiency of your home can save you money and increase your living comfort, reduce cold and hot spots and fluctuations in temperature. From caulking and added insulation to better windows, there are many ways to upgrade the energy performance of an older home.

When you discuss your plans with your HIA builder, you can expect a detailed assessment of your project what's involved, the impact on the whole house and the need to upgrade systems or the structure. The builder will also advise on other work that may be needed.

Building renovators may recommend the services of an HIA GreenSmart professional to assess the energy performance of your home and opportunities for upgrading.

Inspecting an existing home

Most commonly, inspections are done by a professional builder or a home inspector. Your choice will depend on your reasons for having an inspection done, and the type of information you need. The services offered by renovator builders can vary greatly the best idea is to call a few building companies. To begin with, professional builders will automatically examine the parts of your house involved in the proposed renovation in order to estimate and plan your project thats simply part of doing a professional job. Many building renovators will also routinely identify repairs and upgrades that make economical sense to include in your renovation plans. If the HIA builder is designing your project, the design phase usually includes a thorough inspection. On large jobs this may entail a "feasibility study" and, occasionally, inspections by a structural engineer or other specialists.

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