Old house?  We have easy solutions to the most common problems

Old house? We have easy solutions to the most common problems

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Love your old home to the fullest.  (Source: iStock)

Love your old home to the fullest. (Source: iStock)

Some of the most beautiful and cozy houses to live in are the oldest houses. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know how much you’re messing with these old houses until you’re already moving out. From scuffed floors to drafty structures and water damage, problems in older homes can quickly escalate.

Fortunately, some of the most common problems with these homes actually have easy solutions, as long as you have the right supplies and know how to use them. Check out our guide to properly maintaining an old, traditional home.

The wood finish is never finished

There’s a lot of talk out there about why hardwood floors are better than rugs, but they I can be difficult to maintain in the long term. In addition to flooring, many homes have wood finishes on kitchen counters, patios, porches, wainscoting, doors, dining tables, bookcases, and other furniture. Wherever the wood finish is in your home, there’s a good chance it needs polishing – and it might even have some scratches you don’t want to see anymore.

Enjoy the appearance of smooth, polished wood.  (Source: Amazon)

Enjoy the appearance of smooth, polished wood. (Source: Amazon)

$5.38 on Amazon

First, start with scratches and marks on the wood. You will need to find a scratch cover that works on sealed wood. We like the ease with which the Old English Scratch Cover disguises old scratches and cuts. No scratch cover works perfectly, but Old English does a good job of keeping the markings on the wood out of sight and helps protect the wood from further scratches.

Polish your wood surfaces with a soft protective coating to prevent damage and enhance their natural beauty.  (Source: Amazon)

Polish your wood surfaces with a soft protective coating to prevent damage and enhance their natural beauty. (Source: Amazon)

$7.70 on Amazon

Then lather the wood with a coat of wood polish. The right wood polish will give your wood or furniture surfaces a natural, waxy shine that looks great. Polishing prevents the wood from cracking from dryness and restores most of the wood’s finish to its original quality. We use Howard’s Feed-N-Wax wood polish because it also works as a wood conditioner. Scratch Cover is great for protecting wood, but Feed-N-Wax goes the extra mile to make your hardwood floors look great.

Solving airflow problems

Avoid cold feet and stormy outdoors with this adhesive chain stopper.  (Source: Amazon)

Avoid cold feet and stormy outdoors with this adhesive chain stopper. (Source: Amazon)

$8.79 $12.99 on Amazon

One of the biggest recurring problems in older homes is shortness of breath. Whether it’s because the homes are multi-story or because the insulation has aged, many older homes have problems with air escaping through the cracks in the doors and windows. In many cases, the best solution is to close these gaps.

For door frames, the Suptikes door chain stop is super efficient. It uses two-inch weathering strips to prevent airflow from escaping under the door. If you live somewhere where it gets cold during the winter and you have problems with drafts or cold inlets, this is an investment you want to make to save on your heating bill. These under-door seals are easy to install and also offer the added benefit of soundproofing.

Make your home energy efficient for less by giving your windows an insulation boost.  (Source: Amazon)

Make your home energy efficient for less by giving your windows an insulation boost. (Source: Amazon)

$12.90 on Amazon

Unfortunately, draughty windows are a little more difficult to fix. In older homes, it is common to have windows that struggle to effectively keep out cold air. The easiest way to get better insulation (without paying a fortune for new windows) is with shrink wrap. Film insulation kits allow you to cover your window with a thin layer of plastic that prevents air from escaping or entering during the colder months. Come fall, winter and spring, your family will thank you – and your heating bill won’t be that daunting.

An extra adjustable screen lets you enjoy a breeze from open windows without the bugs.  (Source: Amazon)

An extra adjustable screen lets you enjoy a breeze from open windows without the bugs. (Source: Amazon)

$13.68 on Amazon

Sometimes with older windows, the problem isn’t with the airflow – it’s with what comes with it. Bees, mosquitoes, and other insects often squeeze through small openings in your window screens to get into your home, but they never know how to get out. On hot summer days, closing all windows is not a viable (or desirable) option.

Fortunately, there is a way to block these pesky creatures while still maximizing airflow. Adjustable window screens are usually inexpensive (between $5 and $15) and slide across the entire window to block out any intruders. Finally, you can keep your windows open all season long without replacing your window frame. Frost King Adjustable Window Screens come in a variety of sizes to fit most windows.

Stains and watermarks

Easily clean away rust stains and buildup and extend the life of the metal in your home.  (Source: Amazon)

Easily clean away rust stains and buildup and extend the life of the metal in your home. (Source: Amazon)

$16.42 $17.99 on Amazon

Last but not least, rust stains and watermarks are the unmentioned problems in all older homes. Fortunately, these issues are usually easier to resolve than some of the other issues in this guide. Rust stains on metal fixtures often appear in kitchens, laundry rooms, and especially bathrooms. For the toughest stains, we recommend Iron OUT. Simply place this powdered rust stain remover on a damp sponge or cloth and you can buff almost any rust. Even the palest colored bathrooms should return to their original appearance with just the right amount of elbow grease.

Erase watermarks (old or new) with ease.  (Source: Amazon)

Erase watermarks (old or new) with ease. (Source: Amazon)

$9.17 on Amazon

We may not know how they got there, but unfortunately watermarks are common on many older homes – often simply because of how long they’ve lived. This cloth removes damage from spilled water, alcohol and heat and covers minor scratches.

Whether your home was built in 1922 or 2022, we hope this guide to maintaining your home has been helpful. While a complete replacement of an old window frame or floor may be the best solution to your problem, until you’re ready to oversee these big projects, these quick fixes work well for a fraction of the cost.

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