From the 1950s through the 1970s, homes were built differently than they are today. They weren’t as energy efficient and weren’t constructed with safety in mind. Because of this, homeowners should be aware of potential issues with their older homes before they buy them or move into them. Fortunately, most of these problems can be repaired or even prevented with the right renovations. Here are nine common issues to watch out for in homes from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s
#1: Disintegrating Shingles
A sure sign of bad roofing is that your shingles are either curling up or disintegrating. The culprit? Poor-quality shingles mixed with environmental elements like rain and snow. How to fix: If you’re comfortable with home improvement projects, you can replace shingles yourself. Otherwise, hire a professional to assess the damage (and cost) so you know how deep your pockets will need to be in order to get your home back in shape.
#2: Original Siding
Wood siding is one of the most common exterior issues you’ll find in older homes. More often than not, this means there are gaps between planks where wood rot has set in. There’s also a chance that the wood has been treated with some kind of chemical that can lead to off-gassing in your home.
Trying to figure out how to fix or remove the original siding is tricky because the construction was done differently back then.
#3: Old Roofs
One major issue for roofs of houses built in this era is that they were created with asphalt shingles. These are cheap, which is appealing when you are just starting out on your construction project. However, they also need to be replaced every 7-10 years. That’s often a big commitment upfront – and even if you can afford to do it then – they tend to need repairs before the roof will be leak-free again.
#4: Rotting Windows
It’s common for windows in homes built during these time periods to have excess moisture. Window sealant kits should be installed as soon as possible to ward off problems with water damage or mold. Otherwise, homeowners are left with a window that needs to be replaced in order to bring it up to code.
#5: Lead Paint
Lead is dangerous for both adults and children because it’s a neurotoxin that can lead to neurological problems and developmental delays. Even trace amounts of lead in the paint can accumulate inside a home to levels high enough to present risks to your health. Inhaling or swallowing lead paint particles (which are sometimes even microscopic) while dusting or sanding old furniture releases lead into your body.
Most houses built before 1978 contain some form of lead-based paint.
#6: Electrical Wiring
Older homes might not have been wired to handle many electrical devices. And so we have standard wiring with grounded plugs for the home’s appliances, outlets on both sides of a room to be able to plug in lamps or heaters, or a three-pronged cord just for lamps. This makes it hard to find an outlet when you need one.
#7: Gutters & Downspouts
The asphalt used in many gutters and downspouts were known to be carcinogenic for a long time before it was banned. Unfortunately, many of these products are still in use so homeowners may want to be especially careful when replacing their gutters or need to wear protective gear when removing old downspouts.