5 Tips for Refurbishing Old Structures

Refurbishing Old BuildingsSaving existing buildings from demolition, can be a very wise move. Often, they exemplify the perfect solution to abandoned structures. Knowing the economical feasibility of rebuilding an old structure begins with looking at everything. By considering the following tips, plus contacting consulting engineers, skilled in building renovation, the validity of beginning such a massive project, can become clear.

Old Windows

Windows that were constructed prior to 1940, were built to last. While there may be spots of damage, the entire unit is not one solid piece, as are today’s vinyl and composite windows. Each piece, the rails, stiles, muntins, stops, sill, stool, and jamb, can be replaced, individually. The dimensions of windows in older homes are rarely standard and much patching is required when replacing windows with newer ones.

Calcimine Ceilings

Calcimine paint is a mixture of chalk and glue binder. Peeling is a common indication that ceilings and walls have used this form of paint. There is no solution to repairing surfaces that have been coated with calcimine paint. It has to be removed in order to form a durable base.

Air Vents

While the air vents may appear to be well-placed and in good repair on the outside, the interior can be a different matter. The heating systems in many old buildings were forced steam. Over time, rust build up from the moisture and debris can become lodged. Sometimes these vents can be blown out or scrubbed by hand, but other times the rust build up and debris have caused irreversible harm.

Exterior Insulation

Condensed water vapor will ruin the best of wooden structures. Wooden exteriors that have been allowed to sit through seasons of changing temperatures and driving rain, have probably done significant damage to more than the siding. Structural beams and foundations can suffer through years of abuse of condensation build-up. Tear off exterior boards and begin with rigid insulation. A thick, waterproof barrier can help protect your structure.

Slate Roofs

Slate roofs require little care until they develop cracks, where water can get under the tiles, and eat away at the membrane. Even though you may want to save a slate roof, if more than 20% of the surface is damaged, it is cheaper, and more realistic, to replace the entire roof.

Always be aware of code guidelines in your area. You may not be able to reproduce every square inch of your building, but learning the restrictions, will prevent buying materials that will have to be removed later. Consulting engineers can save many headaches by knowing building codes, analyzing structural damage, and determining how much your project will cost. Renovating older buildings can be rewarding, but learn all the facts first.