Updating plumbing in a home
Lurking beneath the surface of a beautiful and solid structure can be ticking time bombs like potentially hazardous knob-and-tube wiring and old pipes that rust and leak.
When we traded our tiny 1960’s cottage for a sprawling (by comparison) 1918 Craftsman home, my husband and I knew something about what we were getting into.
However, we have found ourselves rather suddenly in the midst of a major plumbing project sooner than we anticipated.
I thought I’d share our experience so far as a cautionary tale if you’re considering buying an older home.
And compared to newer construction, buying a fixer-upper old house can give you a lot of space for less money.
Unfortunately not all old-house construction technology was built to stand the test of time; newer (at the time) technology like electricity and indoor plumbing utilized materials and methods that are antiquated and potentially problematic.
I give the contractor credit for not taking to the beautiful woodwork with spraypaint, but I was frustrated that minimal work was done to the mechanics.
Our house was a flip, and while it was pretty to look at, it quickly became clear that much of the work had been about putting lipstick on a pig, not properly rehabilitating an old house.
Opening a large pantry cupboard in the kitchen, I looked up and noticed that the plaster on the ceiling was sagging, and there was a hole where there had clearly been a leak at some point.
However, there wasn’t any new moisture that I or the inspector could see, and we agreed that it was probably the aftermath of a long-ago leak.
We ventured into the basement and the inspector noted that the house still had its original cast iron drain pipe.
Often they were built from top-quality materials that would cost a fortune today.They might come with attractive details such as beautiful wood molding, hardwood floors and leaded glass windows.