Buying an older home or living in one requires special precautions before you can start the gutting process. There are a lot of variables to consider and for homeowners with no construction experience, this guide will be a useful tool to help you safely gut your old fixer-upper. Older homes hold all kinds of hidden secrets in the walls, attics, and foundations. Before you start the demolition process, you should read this guide fully in its entirety.
Building Permits: It is illegal in a lot of states and communities to undergo a construction project without a building permit. You can go to your local city hall or town office and apply for a building permit. Building permits are dated with an expiration date, so you only have so much time to get your project done or you’ll have to go back and get an extension on your permit.
Historical Buildings: There are a lot of old fixer-uppers that are classified as historical landmarks by the state you live in. Before construction begins you need to know if your project falls under these guidelines because any alterations to your project need approval from elected officials in your community. In most cases, the exterior of a historical building must remain the same. Professional restoration contractors in this sector are highly advised.
Structural Safety: A certified home inspector should be called in to access the structural integrity of your building. There are a lot of older buildings that have wood framed exterior walls and interior support walls in older buildings that are subject to termite damage, rot, and water damage. If you start gutting wall coverings, it could weaken the structural integrity and unexpected collapses can occur with the possibility of bodily harm.
Mold Spores/Asbestos/Lead Paint: All three of these are very dangerous substances that can cause serious internal injuries and even death. Call a professional remediation business and have your building inspected for dangerous airborne contaminants that are magnified tremendously when disturbed. This can be a very costly mistake and one that needs to be taking seriously.
Debris Removal: Gutting your fixer-upper is going to generate a significant amount of waste materials. If you have access to a truck with a universal open box-style trailer this is one option of removing your debris; however, there are a lot of landfills that will charge you per load by unit weight for disposal at their facility.
You can also call your local waste management providers and order a contruction dumpster to place at your job site. This is the best method for removing construction debris because once you put the debris in the dumpster, you’re done. There’s no need to handle it a second time and in most cases is more cost effective.
The Rewards and End Results
Gutting your fixer-upper can be a lot of work, but in the end it’s one of the most rewarding experiences. Restoring and modernizing an old house has a lot of long term benefits as it pays homage to the time period it was constructed, gives your community a classic look, and is a reminder of when most of these houses were built with hand tools.