When I bought my 113 year old rowhouse, I didn’t plan to do much to it. But then my wife and I lived in it for a few months, and we observed the sorts of things you only notice after you’ve lived with them. The wiring was funny, especially in certain sections, with lots of junctions and “amateur” work, to say the least. The ceiling of the living room was caving ever so slightly. The carpet that came with the house had the slightest odor to it. Before we knew it, we were ripping out nearly every surface in the house. And we’re thrilled we did! Here is what we found beneath…
- Dangerous Wiring! We were lucky enough not to have the dreaded knob and tube wire systems that call for total house rewires, but we did have a bit of dangerous aluminum remaining from the house’s previous conversion to copper. We were able to have critical points changed by a licensed electrician. Now that they’re covered up, we know that the house’s electrical system is safe. That will give confidence to future buyers or renters, or to us if we decide to live here forever.
- Lovely, Original Hardwood Floors. I know now that carpet is not for me. And it’s probably not for you either. It only has a 3-5 year lifespan. And it holds odors and stains, as it did in our home. When we ripped it out, we discovered the home’s hardwood floors protected beneath it. Sure, they were covered in paint, but a day of sanding, and some staining and finishing made them look really wonderful. Sometimes the surfaces you uncover are not in good shape, and that’s the risk you run, but we lucked out this time.
- Mold! There wasn’t much, but it was enough to give us sufficient motivation to do the bathroom renovation we were on the fence about. The affected area was the improperly installed shower and tub that a previous owner put in carelessly. We were able to intervene before it spread. But without ripping off some tile, we never would have seen it and could have gone on living with black mold for who knows how long. Much better to check and repair than wonder.
- Open exhaust vents! Some genius routed our water heater and furnace’s exhaust from the basement, directly into the chimney on the first floor. Unfortunately, it just let the exhaust into the fireplace, without piping it out of the house entirely. The exhaust then lingered and filtered through the porous brick of our closed fireplace, and into our home. It took reopening the fireplace to discover this hazard, and I’m glad I did, even though we figured it out a year after moving in. We have survived this long, I guess….
Home and industrial supplies on offer by Gotstock got us over the homeowner hump. Our home is now repaired with integrity. There is no system that is dangerous or in bad repair. Now that everything is closed up again, we sleep well at night, because we know what lies behind our walls. For anyone who lives in an old house, I would urge you to take a peek behind your walls, and even consider rebuilding certain sections from the studs. It’ll give you a blank slate on which to build the home of your dreams, and it will dramatically increase the resell value or rental potential.