To remodel or not to remodel? This is the question. This important consideration depends on many factors including the current status of the home and its occupants as well as future plans. Perhaps your home is older and needs to be updated, or the home’s features no longer fit your family’s needs and preferences. Perhaps you want to be able to provide a place for your aging parents to stay, or you want to be able to age in place instead of selling. Maybe you want a basement apartment and are looking into egress window wells. All of these are excellent reasons to remodel. Let’s look at these situations in a bit more detail.
Updating an Older Home
Homes built before 1978 often have several features that do not meet current codes and regulations. If you own an older home, you should include bringing your home into compliance in your remodeling plans. This will make your home safer and increase its salability.
Here are a few things to include on your list:
Check into the number of electrical outlets per room or area that are required by current codes.
Replace aluminum wiring with copper wherever possible, and make sure that electrical breakers are sized correctly for possible power loads.
Use ground-fault breakers in laundry rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. All outlets should accommodate three-prong plugs and be properly grounded to provide safety in case of electrical shorts.
Check for asbestos and lead. Incorrect procedures in remodeling an older home may create exposure to these two toxins. Before its dangers were known, asbestos was widely used to insulate pipes, make gaskets and shield surfaces under and around stoves and furnaces. Homes sometimes were sided with asbestos shingles. Also, vermiculite attic insulation installed before 1990 usually contained asbestos particles. In the past, both asbestos and lead were used in paint. If there is any possibility that your home contains either asbestos or lead, ask a professional to inspect your home.
Remodeling to Fit Changing Needs and Interests
Whether you have a growing family or need to repurpose rooms in preparation for “empty nesting,” your basement is a good place to start for many reasons. First, the basement is commonly the point where utilities enter the house. Second, it can provide you and your family living space during the times that remodeling activities in the rest of the home disrupt normal use. A great way to improve any basement is by adding an egress window well. Egress window wells make the basement more comfortable by providing natural lighting.
If your basement does not have a direct means of escape to the outdoors, install at least one egress window and window well. If your remodeling plans include future use of your basement as living space that either can be rented out or made into comfortable quarters for guests, add a separate entryway so that occupants can go in and out without going through your home. For basements that are mostly underground, this might require adding an exterior door on the main floor of your home that provides direct access via a stairway to the basement. If you plan to rent, also plan a way to secure or close off the existing entrance.
As you and your family come up with ideas for the changes you want, consider making whatever areas that are remodeled more accessible. You never know what kind of accommodations your family will need! These kind of adaptations add value to your home without taking away from the aura you’ve already established. With them, you may be able to stay in your home as you age – a lovely option.