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Buy an old house? Be prepared to live with these 12 quirks


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Newly built homes must adhere to strict design and building codes, but most of these rules did not exist decades ago, which is why older homes often have unique characteristics that can be difficult. or seem downright weird. However, the old houses are very attractive. They are generally less expensive than new homes and they attract enthusiastic DIY enthusiasts looking to create sweat equity by updating them. Coming up, check out some of the oddities of love or hate that can be a regular part of living in an old house.

Thinking of buying an old house?  Be prepared to live with these quirks

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Squeaks and crackles

Forget about quietly sneaking into the kitchen for a midnight snack. Older homes are notoriously noisy – the simple act of walking across a room can cause the hardwood floor to rub against the subfloor, causing crackles loud enough to wake up other family members. Fortunately, noisy floors can often be silenced. Try sprinkling a little cornstarch between the floorboards to reduce the wood-to-wood friction that causes noise.

Thinking of buying an old house?  Be prepared to live with these quirks

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Steep stairs

Newly constructed stairs follow the 7:11 rule of the International Residential Code: risers cannot be more than 7-3 / 4 inches high and treads must be a minimum of 11 inches deep. However, in older homes, stairs were built strictly for function, not for safety or ease, so risers and treads can be of different sizes. Many historic homes have steep, narrow staircases, some with bends and bends that are difficult to navigate. You might find them charming, but don’t plan on getting a king-size bed upstairs anytime soon.

Thinking of buying an old house?  Be prepared to live with these quirks

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Ghostly drafts

Even in older homes with updated HVAC systems, drafts are common as it is difficult to renovate an old home with balanced ductwork and return air registers. The heat naturally rises, and in an older home it can flow into an attic or through an upstairs window, creating a vacuum effect that draws in cooler air from a basement or bedroom. ‘a crawl space. Sealing the lower story and sealing around the foundation can help a bit, but old homes just aren’t as airtight as new ones, and all drafts are next to impossible.

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oddities of the old house

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Energy suction windows

Before heating and cooling costs skyrocketed, many older home builders incorporated several large windows for residents to enjoy the views. These single-glazed windows are part of the charm of an old house, but they’re not energy efficient: cold transfers in winter and heat penetrates in summer. Installing storm windows can help reduce some of the heat transfer, but replacing windows with energy efficient double or triple glazed models can make a more noticeable difference.

old house pipes

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banging water pipes

Known as “water hammer,” snapping pipes are the result of hydraulic shock that causes water supply lines to jerk and snap against other pipes or timber framing in walls and floors. when the water is turned off. The noise can be quite loud and alarming. Still, homeowners may be able to reduce it by insulating around offending pipes, reducing water pressure at the meter, or installing a water hammer, such as the Sioux Chief water hammer.

old house cupboards

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Small cupboards

If you’re looking for a house with a walk-in closet and plenty of space to store clothes and shoes, you probably won’t find it in an old house. Wardrobes were limited when many of these homes were built, and most people only had a few outfits to tidy up. If the bedroom is large enough, you can add a separate wardrobe, or if the house has a multitude of small rooms, as many older homes do, consider turning an additional one into a walk-in closet.

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old sloping house

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Sloping floors

All houses settle in over time, and older houses have had a long time to settle, which means you may find that some floors are slightly sloped. Also, sometimes builders didn’t level floors perfectly from the start because they didn’t have the precise laser levels used by contractors today. Just because one or more floors are sloping doesn’t mean there is a structural problem, but you may still want to do a professional inspection to rule out major issues before you bid on the property.

milk door of old house

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Milk Doors

It’s not an old-fashioned pet entrance you see on the outside wall near the front door. It is a milk door. If the house was built before 1950, it is possible that the original owners installed a milk door so that the milkman could deliver the milk without leaving it on the porch. Milk gates are one of the most charming quirks of old homes, and some homeowners today use them as letterboxes, newspaper boxes, or even shoe racks.

Thinking of buying an old house?  Be prepared to live with these quirks

istockphoto.com

Confusing provisions

In an old house, it is not uncommon to walk through a bedroom to another bedroom or find that the front door opens into a kitchen. Decades ago, homes were designed around the specific needs (or whims) of the new owner, and very few questioned whether the layout would appeal to others. While uncomfortable flooring layouts can usually be changed, it may be necessary to remove load-bearing walls and install ceiling beams to support the weight, so this is generally not a DIY project. .

Thinking of buying an old house?  Be prepared to live with these quirks

istockphoto.com

Flashing bulbs

Flickering lights are a common sign of old wiring. If the wiring has not been updated in the house, it is not only insufficient to power today’s devices, it is a safety concern and comes with an increased risk of fire. In the short term, consider using low wattage bulbs and only using one fixture at a time. However, plan to update the wiring and soon.

RELATED: The Best LED Bulbs For The Home

Thinking of buying an old house?  Be prepared to live with these quirks

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Coal falls

Many older homes were once heated with coal, although most have been replaced by gas, oil or electric furnaces. Coal chutes, some of which feature elaborate designs carved into cast iron doors, can still be found on many older homes. This door is where the charcoal driver shoveled the charcoal into a chute that led to a charcoal bin. Although decorative and charming “keeper,” it is a good idea to seal and insulate the door to keep pests out.

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Thinking of buying an old house?  Be prepared to live with these quirks

istockphoto.com

Root cellars

A hundred years ago, homeowners did not benefit from large capacity refrigerators. Also, they couldn’t always get all the food they needed from a local market. The second best thing was the root cellars – they were located under the ground where it stayed dark and cool. Root crops, such as turnips, potatoes, and carrots, could be safely stored for months. Old root cellars can be prone to collapse, which is why many homeowners choose to fill them with sand for added safety.


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