Many people in the market for a new residence are looking for the charm of an older home. However, some of these older homes contain materials that are hazardous, even though they weren’t considered hazardous when the home was built. Here are three materials to be on the look-out for in an older home.
According to Greater Boston Home Inspections, lead paint is toxic, especially to younger children who are often tempted to eat sweet-tasting chips of peeling lead paint. Depending on the local codes in the area, a homeowner can remove the paint themselves or hire a contractor. They can remove it by encapsulation, which means simply covering and sealing it with a coat of a paint-like material. They can cover the lead paint with drywall or new siding or remove it with a wire brush or a heat gun. Some people who don’t have young children simply leave the lead paint alone, but any chips or dust needs to be cleaned up right away. Visiting children need to be supervised to make sure that they don’t eat the paint chips and that they wash up thoroughly before they go home.
According to Abels & Annes, asbestos is a combination of naturally occurring silicate minerals. Asbestos became popular in manufacturing and construction in the late 19th Century because of its strength, heat-resistance, and affordability. However, by the 1930s people knew that asbestos was toxic and could lead to a deadly cancer called mesothelioma. Removing asbestos is best done by an asbestos abatement professional. Asbestos is only dangerous if it is disturbed, and a professional can protect the house in ways that keep its particles from being breathed in as it’s removed. As with lead paint, a homeowner can leave asbestos-based paint, or a floor or roof impregnated with asbestos alone if it’s still sound.
Though some electricians claim that aluminum wiring is not hazardous, it is no longer compliant with local construction codes in most places. It also oxidizes and deteriorates faster than copper wiring, which can make it a fire hazard. Often, appliances and fixtures don’t work in homes with aluminum wiring. A master electrician is needed to rewire the house with copper wire.
It’s true that removing some hazards from an older home can be labor intensive. It can also be time-consuming. But if a homeowner is determined to have the older home of their dreams, the cost of removing hazards is worth it.
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