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Why Is It So Hard to Waterproof an Older Home?

Older homes were built when waterproofing measures either didn’t exist or weren’t considered essential. Why is it so hard to update these houses now?

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Older homes appeal to many potential homeowners for a number of reasons: their histories, their curbside appeal, and their unique architectures. Unfortunately, many older homes aren’t able to withstand the same amounts of hydrostatic pressure or structural stress that newer homes can. Combine that with their older architecture, and you’ll find that older homes are often more difficult to waterproof than newer homes.

That does not mean it’s impossible to protect an older home from hydrostatic pressure. If you work with a contractor in your area, you can determine what features set your home apart from the rest and how you can best work within the boundaries those features set for you.

Symptoms of Leaks in Older Homes

Before you can start tackling the challenges of waterproofing an older home, you’ll need to determine what kind of damage you’re contending with. To do so, either you or a professional will need to go through your home and look it over for signs of damage. The most telling signs can include:

  • Foggy windows
  • Sticking doors and window frames
  • Damp walls
  • Fluctuating internal temperatures
  • Higher electric and water bills
  • Standing water

Note that while these signs will give damage away, they don’t always indicate where the damage originates. You’ll want to collaborate with area professionals to determine whether you’re dealing with a foundation, basement, or crawl space problem.

What Causes Leaks in Older Homes?

While the aforementioned symptoms can appear in any home, new or old, it’s older homes that tend to reveal signs of damage more rapidly than newer ones. That’s not because these homes are of a lesser quality than newer homes. Hydrostatic pressure, after all, can impact all manner of homes with concrete, brick, or gravel foundations in the same ways. Instead, the condition of your home is based on several individual factors that went into its make and position on your property.

Put another way, you can more readily blame the leaks in your home on the following:

  • Poor grading
  • Foundations made of gravel, brick, or concrete
  • Hydrostatic pressure
  • Shifting soil
  • The presence of animals in the area
  • Improper or failure to install waterproofing measures

Again, it’s your home’s individual conditions that can lead to a leak as opposed to any universal truth about older homes themselves.

If you suspect that something’s amiss with your older home, don’t expect the problem to solve itself. Don’t wait to reach out to a professional for suggestions on how to repair your property. Leaks don’t just disappear over time. Instead, they often grow worse. If you’re able to respond to a leak before it evolves into significant foundation damage, you can save yourself a significant amount of money in the long run.

Why Are Older Homes Difficult to Waterproof?

That said, older homes are notoriously difficult to waterproof. Here, you can come to a universal conclusion to help you understand why that’s the case.

Many older homes were made at a time when construction standards were different than they are today.

For example, many older homes lack the wall footings that connect their walls to their foundations. As such, an older home’s foundation can slip more easily than newer homes.

It’s due to these differences that contractors trying to apply modern solutions to older homes may do more harm than good. For example, contractors trying to excavate an older home may accidentally cause the foundation to shift, making things all the more difficult for you as you continue to seek out repairs or home waterproofing solutions.

How to Waterproof an Older Home

Luckily, there are ways you can waterproof an older home without putting its structural integrity at risk. While you can install some of these solutions, contractors often suggest pairing the more practical solutions with behavioral changes around your home. This way, you can stack your waterproofing efforts to greater effects.

Some of the best ways to protect an older home from damage include:

  • Cleaning out your gutters
  • Installing and redirecting downspouts further away from your home
  • Testing your window well and sills for damage or leaks
  • Investing in home waterproofing measures, including interior drains, sump pumps, or equivalent solutions
  • Scheduling annual home inspections to look over your foundation and basement

If you need help waterproofing an older home in Winston-Salem, NC, the foundation, basement, and crawl space professionals serving the area can help. After a home inspection from the experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems, they can provide you with a free quote on the services you may need to repair older damage and to waterproof your property. With this knowledge at hand, you can invest in procedures that restore your older home’s charm and value.

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