How To Renovate An Old Home


Brad from Home Love Construction introduces a mini-series of episodes on renovating old homes in this transcript. In this series, Brad is focusing on homes built before 1960, which have a particular type of foundation – the pier and beam system. Brad explains that these homes are raised off the ground with a crawl space underneath, with piers supporting beams that hold up the floor.


The first thing to consider when purchasing an old house is the state of the piers. Brad notes that many piers are built from brick and can degenerate over time, especially in areas with heavy traffic or lateral movement, leading to sagging floors. In this case, the beam would have to be lifted until the floor is level, and a new concrete pile would have to be put in.


Another issue with pier and beam construction is that over time, the beams can warp due to heavy loads. If a beam warps permanently, lifting it won’t help because moving the wood will crack it, and it loses its plasticity over time. Brad advises that going underneath the house is the easiest way to deal with this type of construction when moving plumbing or installing new fixtures.


When dealing with old homes built with pier and beam construction, one thing to keep in mind is that there were no requirements for strapping a house down for uplift in the event of a high wind. Therefore, it’s important to have a contractor install straps tying the piers to the beams, which should decrease homeowners’ insurance and make the structure safer in a windstorm.


Brad mentions that this mini-series will cover seven episodes, and he will be sharing his experiences renovating old houses to help others. In this episode, Brad lays out the characteristics of old homes and their foundations, and the issues that arise with the pier and beam system. He emphasizes that renovating an old house with this construction is actually easier for moving plumbing and bathroom fixtures than in homes with slabs because there is no slab to cut up and trench.


While sagging floors and warped beams are common issues with pier and beam construction, Brad notes that they are easy to fix. However, when dealing with these types of homes, one must keep in mind the safety concerns associated with uplift during high winds. Hence, installing straps is a recommended solution.


Brad suggests that renovating old homes with pier and beam construction requires a contractor to be more mindful of the work being done on the house, particularly in installing straps to tie piers to beams. This, in turn, will help keep the house safe during high-wind events and reduce insurance premiums. Brad’s mini-series on renovating old homes is meant to educate and guide those looking to renovate or purchase these types of homes.


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