Clera Windows + Doors Blog

What To Keep And What To Replace In Old Homes

Many homeowners are prepared to replace different parts of their home, especially if they have lived there for many years. Energy efficient window replacements are very common for homes older than 15 years, while roof replacements may be considered for homes older than 20 years. Although things like windows and composite shingles are designed to last for decades, aging and normal wear and tear due to exposure to the elements will eventually make them leaky and inefficient.

The challenge is usually finding the right time to invest in a replacement as opposed to repairing. When you are looking to improve your old home for your own enjoyment and comfort, to sell it, to optimize its value when you list on Airbnb, or make savings on energy consumption, here are some things to update or replace.

  1. Replace old boilers
    Replacing old boilers with new effective heating systems can dramatically improve your home’s energy efficiency and cut down your energy costs. Boilers account for about 55 per cent of your home’s energy consumption. An old boiler that has been in use for 10 to 20 years or more is not only expensive to run, but also demands hefty maintenance and repair costs that could hurt your pockets.

    New condensing boilers work by capturing and condensing waste gases that could be released through flue in older boilers, and using these gases to heat water. New boilers are cheaper to run, require less maintenance, and give fewer emissions.

  2. Replace the doors and windows
    With increasing energy costs and improvements in technology, it seems like replacing old windows with energy-efficient window replacements is a more rational decision.

    The doors and windows in most old homes were made from solid wood. It can be a bit overwhelming to repair all the windows in your home, since they would typically need to be glazed for a minor fix, or removed, completely stripped down, re-glazed, re-primed, repainted, and then reinstalled for them to work properly again. Moreover, you would need to install storm windows to make them energy efficient.

    With energy efficient window replacement options and a range of styles, including double-hung windows and casement windows, getting a reputable company to custom-make replacement windows and install them professionally with a warrant could be the better option for many homeowners. You get to choose any size and style of windows you want, plus you can donate your old windows so they can be helpful to someone else looking to put in the work.

  3. Replace the roof
    Although composite shingles are made to last longer than ever, they eventually start leaking due to age and exposure to the elements. Roof problems such as leakages and rot can damage your walls and floors. To mitigate these risks, you must consider the pros and cons of repairing versus replacing, depending on their age and possible options for re-purposing.
  4. Replace the wiring and plumbing
    If the wiring and plumbing starts to become a serious problem in a big home, replacing it could be the best option to keep your family safe and avoid costly emergencies. It is also a good idea to update your electrical work in adherence to new codes and install copper wires that will reduce the risk of accidents.

    Older homes with steel plumbing are also likely to suffer from rust clogs that cause low water pressure and burst pipes. They should be replaced before major leaks become a real nuisance.

  5. Replace the foundation
    Replacing the foundation is a big job that is only necessary for a foundation that has suffered serious damage in order to ensure the stability and longevity of your home. A foundation replacement is neither a small undertaking nor a low-cost option, considering that it may cost a small home between $30k and $50k, and over $100k for a larger home. However, it may be the most cost effective option if the alternatives are completely rebuilding or relocating your home to a new foundation.
  6. Update woodwork, built-ins and light fixtures
    Original woodwork in older homes has a superior level of craftsmanship that cannot be matched with contemporary replacement options. So, wherever possible, it is best to preserve things like china cabinets, wood floors, trim, staircases, bookcases, fireplace mantels, and more.

    Old light fixtures may not be very useful, but they can be professionally rewired and restored to work with the latest electrical systems. You should also try to save the knobs, latches, and even hinges if you must tear down original cabinets and drawers.

Final note

Here are some useful tips as you prepare to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient:

  • If you have been working with a single energy supplier for decades, consider switching companies if there are newer ones that come highly recommended.
  • Any changeover can take several weeks to complete. So, prepare early and set aside some funds to ensure that the repair or replacement work is completed while the weather is still favourable.
  • Use price comparison websites for more savings.

Keep in mind that anything good needs proper planning. So don’t rush your repair or replacement decision without considering the short-term and long-term implications.

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