House refurbishment – how to determine general condition of the house

When buying a house, you should consider not only the overall look and feel of it, its localisation or price – one of the most, if not the most important thing is the condition of the building. Generally good-looking house may hide many defects that may turn out to be serious enough to force you to demolish and rebuild the entire house. That’s why you should always conduct a survey to assess the condition of the building.

The most serious issue you can encounter are visible problems with the structure of the building – such as cracks in the walls or foundations, leaning walls, collapsing roof or floors. They might not be visible at first, so you have to look closely and carefully examine the house. If the cracks are actual cracks in the structure and not only in grout, this means that the building is not fully stable and structurally safe and may collapse in the future if not repaired. There could be many reasons for that to happen, but your job is to hire a structural engineer to tell you what caused the issues and how to repair them. Sometimes however it is not possible – a house that is slowly leaning and cracking could become such in result of a subsidence of the ground underneath.

Another thing that can cause you a lot of trouble are signs of woodworm or rotten wood. For example, wooden beams and joists, if somehow damaged, may also cause instability of the house’s structure and cause the floor to collapse as a further result. Damage of wooden elements of the roof’s structure can also naturally lead to its collapse.

To avoid future rotting of wood or other problems related with dampness getting into the house and its structure, you should first look for missing or misplaced roof tiles or leaking gutters. A sign of leakage in the roof can be often seen on the ceiling or walls as water stains. Sometimes you may even need to replace the whole roof as simple repairs may not be enough to make it good. Water getting into the house’s structure may cause you few more problems. For example, rainwater from the gutters can get under the foundation, again – causing instability of the structure. You should look for a splashback that is settled and sloping toward the house as it makes the water go under and not further away from the foundations.

Another reason for water ingress could be poor insulation. Check if windows are double glazed. If not, you will need to change them to save energy and keep the house warm.

A damp environment is a perfect place for mould and mildew development. These microbes can be dangerous for health and especially for respiratory system. If you find a place in your house where mould is growing and the area of its growth exceeds 1x1m, it should be removed with special precautions. Remember – not all mouldy areas are visible. Many times, they hide under wallpapers or behind furniture. If wallpaper is not sticking to the wall properly, it might be sign of mould hidden underneath.

When it comes to hazardous materials, before starting any works, it is necessary to find out if there are any hazardous materials on or around your house, such as lead, asbestos or contaminated land. Those must be first checked and then removed by specialists.

Generally, the best and the safest way to carry out a refurbishment is to hire a construction company to do the job for you. Very often the TLC that needs to be done is way too complicated for an owner to do. However, the first thing you should do is obtaining permissions, design drawings, conducting specialist surveys. If the work falls outside the permitted development rights (for example when doing a house extension), it will be necessary to obtain a planning permission as well. By choosing the services of City Builders YK Ltd, you can be sure the refurbishing work will be done professionally, with attention to detail. We will be more than happy to help you with a project of refurbishing your entire house along with carrying out a house extension project to fully release the potential of your property.