Planning the Redevelopment of Your Home

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2 tips for those who want to renovate an older house

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If you have decided to renovate an older property, here is some advice that may make this experience a little easier.

1. Repair cracks in the concrete foundation before fitting new flooring

Lots of older properties have cracks in their concrete foundations. These cracks may have developed as a result of water damage, soil erosion or issues with the structural framework.

As such, at the start of your renovation project, you should check for cracks in the house's foundation. If you discover any, you should then get in touch with a tradesperson who does concrete repair work and have them seal up these cracks before you continue with the renovation project.

There are two reasons why you should do this at the earliest possible stage. Firstly, if you come across a crack in the foundation after you have already fitted your new flooring, you will have to spend time and money removing this flooring so that the repairman can access and fix the cracked foundation.

Secondly, if you fit new flooring over a cracked foundation, there is a risk that water in the soil underneath the cracked concrete may seep upwards (through capillary action), and subsequently saturate and destroy your newly-fitted floors.

2. Wear safety gear in case you come across asbestos during the renovation process

Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was a very commonly-used building material. As such, although this dangerous substance is now banned from the construction industry, it is still often found in older properties.

Even if you are reasonably confident that the house you want to renovate does not contain this substance, it is still sensible to take some basic precautions to protect yourself from being exposed to asbestos fibres, particularly when you are performing any work that will result in the existing construction materials being disturbed (such as breaking down walls or tearing out ceiling tiles), as this type of activity is likely to result in some minute particles of these materials becoming airborne.

The best way to protect yourself in this situation is to wear a respirator that has a filter which is designed specifically to filter out asbestos fibres. Additionally, you may want to wear a pair of coveralls; provided you remove them before leaving the house at the end of the workday,  these should help to prevent any asbestos from landing on your skin and subsequently being transferred to your eating utensils or drinking glasses.