So, you have purchased an old house. In addition to the fact that old houses are often much cheaper than new buildings, there is another significant advantage - most often they are provided with excellent developed infrastructure.
In the new areas of Cypriot cities, located on the outskirts, most often you can see only the sun-scorched area and stunted olives, and civilization in the form of shops, cafes, bakeries, pharmacies, kindergartens and schools may not come soon.
Old houses often need major repairs. Where to start and what to pay attention to?
Do not spare money for expert advice before buying - as a lawyer who will check the legality of the transaction and the absence of "bad karma" in the form of debt to banks and other problems, and an experienced foreman who will assess the condition of the house and make an approximate estimate of the necessary work, which will allow you to understand how much money you need to invest to turn an old house into a cozy and comfortable one.
If the house is very old, there are problems with the foundation, load-bearing walls and roof, in some cases it will be easier to completely demolish the box, repair and strengthen the foundation and build new walls.
The main advantages of the old building are spacious rooms and, if you're lucky, good thermal insulation. In past decades, land was not as expensive as it is now, and houses were built solid and spacious. Also, before the era of air conditioning and various achievements of civilization such as “warm floors”, it was necessary to ensure proper thermal insulation so that the house was cool in the summer heat and kept warm in the winter.
Here we describe in detail how to equip an ergonomic, comfortable and cozy kitchen in a house or apartment, taking into account the Cypriot specifics (heat, dust, humidity).
It is absolutely impossible to save on plumbing and sewer systems and everything related to electrical wiring. A leak in an old pipe in a few months or even weeks will turn a designer renovation into a moldy basement, and this cannot be allowed.
Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to hire a specialist who will check the strength of the load-bearing walls and roof, as well as the condition of the pipes, and it is better to do this at the purchase stage in order to have an idea of the value of future investments.
Things that you should never skimp on are the foundation, load-bearing walls, roof, kitchen and bathrooms. The kitchen is just the case when it is more profitable to make everything from scratch and enjoy comfort in the long run.
Foundation and floors
Check the foundation and floors - old houses can have leaks, wood-boring beetles, fungus and rot often live in wooden piles. Under the foundation there must be stable soil.
Roofing and its covering
The condition of the roof and roof directly affects the thermal insulation and microclimate in the house. It is necessary to repair the damage, carefully check the slings (beams that support the roof), as well as the integrity and waterproofing of the outer coating (whether it be slate, tiles or any other material). Over time, any coatings collapse, crack, begin to let moisture through and affect the deterioration of thermal insulation both in the hot season and in the cold.
If you're buying a house in the summer, be especially careful about signs of mold and leaks inside the house. In the rainy season, what was implicit in the summer can become a real problem.
In old houses, improper thermal insulation of walls is often found. In some cases, it does not exist. Due to the difference in temperature inside and outside the building, condensation forms and the house is constantly humid and stuffy. If you are not going to completely rebuild the walls, insulate the walls well from the inside or outside.
It is necessary to carefully examine the outer walls. They may have weak seams, cracks, worn or rotten parts, rust in steel beams, delaminated concrete. If you see dampness and mold in the basement, this may indicate design errors or a violation of the foundation's waterproofing. Internal ventilation and thermal insulation of walls also play an important role.
On the inside of the wall, it is necessary to check for cracks, leaks, traces of dampness and mold. Good quality plaster and paint will provide soundproofing. If the house is wooden, it is necessary to treat all wooden parts with flame retardants (a substance that protects wood from fire).
Wiring and solar panels
Wiring in an old house should be checked by an experienced electrician. In old houses, low voltage is often found, which is only enough to turn on the light in the room, but will not be enough to operate modern household appliances and electrical appliances. It is also necessary to replace the old fuses.
If you intend to make a "warm floor" in the house, and also actively use several electrical appliances at the same time (oven, washing machine, air conditioners), you will need to reconsider the wiring and the location of outlets.
In addition, in Cyprus, where the sun shines 11 months a year, it makes sense to install solar panels. This is quite expensive, but you will save the same amount of money on electricity just within the first few years. Just imagine - you will almost stop paying huge electricity bills, and, as a nice bonus, knowing that your home is sustainable does not harm the environment.
Doors and windows
In most cases, windows will need to be replaced or restored. Pay special attention to the insulation of metal frames (condensation forms on them). Door frames when the foundation shrinks, especially in mountainous climates, can warp, so new ones will have to be installed.
You may want to make large "beach" windows - glass windows-doors with access to the courtyard and to the veranda. In this case, it is necessary to consult an architect, since certain standards are provided for the expansion of windows.
The windows of utility rooms (pantry, laundry, as well as a gym, billiard room, etc.) should face north so that the hot rays of the sun do not create a temperature difference that is harmful to products and equipment.
In addition, as we wrote above, you can not save on water and sewer pipes. It is necessary to change the plumbing (including this is a matter of personal hygiene). To assess the condition of pipes and plumbing in bathrooms and bathrooms, it is best to contact an experienced plumber.
Damaged pipes will have to be replaced. It may be necessary to reconsider the location of communications for the convenience of connecting the dishwasher and washing machine. If you plan to install a geyser or a flow-through boiler for heating water, this will also require specialist advice.
Install heated towel rails in bathrooms. In the Cypriot climate this is not a luxury, but a severe necessity. In winter, you will be happy to use warm, well-dried towels and go into a heated bathroom. In Cyprus, in houses without heating, the temperature in the bathroom can drop to 12-14 degrees and below.
What can you save on?
If you have taken into account the above recommendations and checked all the vital aspects of repairing and remodeling an old house, all other parts of it can be skillfully integrated into the new design and bring notes of the old spirit to it. You can keep old doors, parquet, stairs, furniture, fireplace. If these items are restored, you will get really unique items covered with patina.
Share your experience of buying an old house - was it a profitable purchase or a disappointment?
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