Bringing historic homes up-to-date requires a lot of work and money. Homeowners who are up for the challenge will have to contend with many lurking dangers, including asbestos exposure, lead paint, and electrical faults. Prepare for the renovation by learning the four pitfalls of renovating old houses.

Pitfalls of renovating an older home infographic

Do you have an older home that needs some renovations? Beware of these four historic home pitfalls.


Lead is dangerous and often found in older houses. Homes built before the 1940s may have lead in the plumbing pipes, and lead-based paint may be found in homes built before 1978.

Solution: Have professional contractors check and remove any lead paint or lead-contaminated piping.


Prior to the late 1970s, asbestos was used in construction, from insulation to acoustic tiles. This substance is now known to lead to cancer.

Solution: Contact a licensed contractor and have the asbestos safely removed.

Buried wells, tanks, and cesspools

Older homes lack modern water, sewer, and heating systems. Upgrades can save you energy and money over time.

Solution: Old wells and cesspools can be filled in with solid materials. A contractor and an environmental permit may be needed to dispose of a buried tank.


Older electrical systems may be functional, but they still need upgrades. Many old homes lack a ground wire, have old wire insulation, or don’t have enough electrical outlets.

Solution: Call a professional electrician to update the electrical system.