Historic Homes and Water Damage: Combatting This Force of Nature During Home Renovation

cartoon of a row of homes with water level rising to their doorsteps

Expert Home Remodelers in Kansas City Work Their Magic on Your Victorian or Craftsman-Style House

An older, historic home has had more time on its foundation to develop reconcilable issues, like water damage, than a newly-built one. And because of its age, the historic home likely has undergone repairs over time, some of which were substandard.

As a result, when it’s time for a home remodel, even the experts can come across surprises that must be repaired. And if you find out your historic home may have some water damage issues, experts in remodeling houses of substantial age will be your best bet in ensuring the repair is done right and that the remainder of the project goes smoothly.

Watch out for these signs your historic home in Kansas City has water damage that may need to be repaired during your whole-home remodel from Architectural Craftsmen.

Water Stains on Walls and the Ceiling

Water stains are the most obvious sign of water damage – or that your home has sustained water damage in the past. These discolorations can appear anywhere – on the plaster walls, on the ceiling, and even on the floor, where wooden floor boards may warp. Most are due to a leaky roof, but faulty plumbing also can be to blame.

Soft Spots in the Plaster

Historic homes with plaster walls are good at telling you exactly where it’s sustaining water damage. Wall plaster and the paint upon it show early signs of water damage. If your wall plaster feels “mushy” or soft in places or your paint is peeling, you can expect to find a leak.

Humidity, Moisture, and a Musty Smell

No, a historic home doesn’t always come with a musty smell, but it can have one if there is water damage. Any unexplained humidity or moisture accumulating anywhere in your home can be a sign of a water leak. This can occur in any room of your home, not just the basement or crawl space.

You Can Hear the Water Dripping

If your home is quiet, perhaps at night, you can sometimes hear the sound of water dripping. Sometimes it sounds like a scratching or rushing noise, not the tell-tale drip-drop sound you’d typically think of.

Although it’s less likely you’ll come to realize your home has a water leak and is taking on damage because of the sound than, say, a more obvious sign, it can clue you in that you should take a closer look around your home.

Mold Growth

Mold thrives in moist, dark areas, as long as it gets enough oxygen to survive. Not all mold is inherently dangerous, but the kind that tends to grow as a result of water damage can have ill health effects and requires professional remediation.

Mold growing in your home means you have humidity or water issues, or both. And if you can’t find the source of the water, your home requires expert help before your remodel can proceed.

Most Common Home Areas that Sustain Water Damage

The four areas of your home that are most likely to have water damage from the inside are those rooms with plumbing fixtures: the bathroom, kitchen, basement, and laundry room.

If your home has water damage on the outside walls, your roof or windows may be the culprit. But any interior wall can also be damaged by water if your roof is faulty and in need of repair.

It’s best to not wait to fix water damage; a particularly long-lasting leak – or a big leak – can be devastating to the wooden structure of your home, requiring more extensive, structural repairs.

So, what should you do when you realize you have a plumbing leak in a historic home? First, determine where the leak is coming from. You’ll need to turn off the supply valve to the plumbing fixture in question, or, if necessary, the main supply line valve, which is often found in the basement, at the front of the house. For safety, shut off the electrical circuits in the areas affected by the water leak.

You can now begin clean-up and decide whether you should file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance.

Water Damage Repairs During Historic Home Renovation

Homes built prior to 1940 that require repairs due to water damage should be approached with renovation solutions that won’t affect the character or architectural styling of the house. In this case form must follow function.

Don’t just cover a historic home with vinyl or aluminum siding. Vinyl siding is touted as a “no-maintenance” product. While it’s true that vinyl itself does not require care, the problem is that vinyl siding does not allow an old house to breathe due to the unknown factor in moisture resistance in historic homes.

When rain seeps in or interior water vapor can’t escape due to poor ventilation, moisture becomes trapped behind the vinyl and slowly rots the underlying wood. This is also an invitation for termite infestation – but you’ll never know about these problems because they will be completely hidden by sheets of vinyl or aluminum.

Repair is all about intent – and historic home remodelers and master craftsmen know how to make these repairs without affecting the history of the home or the meaning behind its design.

Bring Your Historic Home Into the Modern Era with Throwback Good Looks with Home Remodeling from Architectural Craftsmen

If looking at your home harkens you back to a time long ago, and you like that about it, then when it’s time to remodel, you need to partner with a company that understands your home’s architectural significance.

Architectural Craftsmen, a Kansas City historic home renovation expert, has more than 20 years of experience in bringing older homes back to their former glory while adding the modern functionality your family needs. Kansas City homeowners in neighborhoods like Roanoke, Volker, Hyde Park, Brookside, and more, have long-counted on Architectural Craftsmen for their architectural history know-how, design chops, and renovation expertise.

For a home remodel that pays homage to your home’s history and your family’s chapter within it, request more information from us via our website or by calling (913) 963-2246.