Problems with remodeling a 1970s house

Updated February 21, 2017

Remodelling a house from the 1970s can present problems that differ significantly from remodelling a 21st century home. Many of the materials used in the 1970s were different, and some of them are hazardous to your health. Also, the aesthetics that were prevalent in the 1970s have largely gone out of style, thus many of today's homeowners are looking for a look that is significantly different than what is found in a house of this era.


When remodelling a house from the 1970s, you must determine whether asbestos is present in the walls, siding, roofing, floors or anywhere else. Asbestos is harmless if inside a wall or undisturbed on the outside of a house because it is the dust from asbestos that causes a hazard. If there is asbestos in the house, you must hire a professional asbestos removal company, which is quite expensive. Professional asbestos removers have special protective equipment and removal techniques that allow them to remove the asbestos from the house without endangering their health.


Many houses in the 1970s were built with a split level or side split floor layout. A typical design had the living room and kitchen at ground level, with the bedrooms to the side up a half flight of stairs, and the basement beneath the bedrooms down another half flight of stairs. If new homeowners are unhappy with this layout, for reasons of aesthetics, privacy or accessibility, renovating to create a different floor plan is expensive and disruptive. Since the house was created with this floor layout as an integral part of its design, the best solution, if it is unsuitable, is to put on a brand new addition on the side or back of the house to provide whatever aspects you feel are missing from the layout.


The quality of contractors' work can vary widely, and most homeowners can tell stories about problems with workers in their homes. Hire a competent, experienced and honest contractor by insisting on references before you agree to hire him. Visit other houses where he has worked, look at the work and speak to the homeowners. If the contractor has a problem with you checking his references, you don't want to hire him. Good contractors are proud of their work and are happy to show it to you. Try to find contractors with experience in working on 1970s houses, so they are familiar with the materials and construction of your house.

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About the Author

Jagg Xaxx has been writing since 1983. His primary areas of writing include surrealism, Buddhist iconography and environmental issues. Xaxx worked as a cabinetmaker for 12 years, as well as building and renovating several houses. Xaxx holds a Doctor of Philosophy in art history from the University of Manchester in the U.K.