Renovating in Florida: A Clammy Situation

Aw, Barnacles! Drowning under the sea of pressure from renovating in Florida? When updating an older building, whether it’s for business or pleasure, it can be stressful running into many interesting surprises that may derail budget and cosmetic plans. In one particular case, barnacles were found lurking inside the pipes at a Tampa, Florida, elementary school! Surprised? So were our experts!

While renovating older buildings is a great way to save money and time, replacing and updating plumbing in older structures is something many people tend to overlook; however, it can be disastrous if left untreated.

Most people don’t budget for new and updated plumbing but it’s something that can turn into a nightmare if the plumbing isn’t replaced in buildings older than 30 years old.

No one knows that better than Andy Stultz, vice president of Halfacre Construction Company located in Sarasota, Florida. Stultz explains that clients are more likely to heed his advice when he explains that “replacing the plumbing beforehand is an investment; trying to repair the damage after it’s done can cost a significant amount of time and money. It is all about using words like ‘investment’ vs. ‘cost’ so clients understand that we are looking out for their time, money, and the state of the building.”

Even though the thought of investing in updating and replacing the plumbing in older buildings can seem intimidating to some, Stultz says it’s absolutely necessary for the building to function properly.

“It just makes sense; you are saving yourself valuable time that would be wasted with repairs, you are updating everything giving yourself another 30-40 years, and it brings everything up to code. You ultimately save time and money by investing in replacing the pipes before the problems arise,” he said.

Part of Florida’s charm can be attributed to the older historic buildings scattered throughout the state. Florida recently celebrated its 500th birthday, a celebration of Juan Ponce de Leon’s discovery in 1513. With all of the new advances in technology and design, and the current state of the economy, many business and homeowners have begun to renovate and move into older buildings, fixing them up and bringing them up to code. The reasons vary; some do this to save costs on building something from the ground up, some may like the older historical vibes that the buildings have, and some just like the location or features of the building, and rebuilding might not be an option.

How can clients avoid the initial reaction to the costs of replacing plumbing in older buildings? Stultz has an answer for that, as well: “When you are putting together your budget, incorporate replacing plumbing as a part of your initial cost and investment. This will help keep everything on track and make sure that the pipes get taken care of before it’s too late.”

Buildings that are over 30-40 years old typically have cast iron pipes. Over time, these pipes will not only get clogged up from scales and deposits, which actually close off the pipes and decrease the diameter restricting water flow, but the pipes will also become brittle. Many who renovate older homes and buildings will replace exterior fixtures like toilets and sinks, without replacing the vent and water pipes. The reasons for putting this change off may vary; it can be an expense that some don’t prepare for.

Stultz recommends, “anytime you are renovating an older building, for home or office, make sure to evaluate what you have. You can even call in a company who can video inspect the system to see what kind of condition it’s in.” Once that step is done, Stultz says clients can go farther into the project knowing what to expect.

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