Substances to Watch Out For When Fixing Up an Old House

So you have just moved in to your gorgeous new home – new for you, but not for the neighbourhood.  Of course, when moving in to a new place, you are going to take steps to truly make the place your own, including getting rid of flaking paint, expanding old rooms, or opening up walls to insert new piping or electricity.  However, certain standards of building and construction prior to 1978 were not the same standards that we have now – if your house is from around or before that era, here are a few things to check for.


Lead was used in paint for a long while until the late 1970s.  It made paint dry faster, remain unaffected by moisture for longer, and generally had a more fresh appearance than other paints.  However, lead is very hazardous to your health, especially when inhaled (for example, when stripping old paint before adding a new coat) or making contact with the skin (prolonged exposure during renovations).  Lead has no “safe” level around the human body, and can lead to poor muscle coordination, reduced hearing and vision, and even adverse effect on unborn foetuses.


UFFI was used as housing insulation until it was banned by the Canadian government in 1980 after being found too hazardous for use.  This insulation is a sort of foam, commonly used due to its ability to fill up and insulate hard-to-reach areas of the home which have already finished being built.  In a home without adequate ventilation, UFFI can cause many respiratory problems, eye irritation, and nausea and fatigue.

There is a lot to be said about the joy of moving in to a home with a history behind it, but it is always a safe bet to be doubly positive your home is safe in more ways than one.  Make sure that when you are about to renovate your old house, you call a professional to safely remove harmful materials.


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