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Blog/Opinion: Good News and Bad News About Older Homes

By HHI Staff

According to, there is good news and bad news about older homes. So says Paula Baker-Laporte, FAIA ( one of the experts quoted at


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"Older homes tend to have less petrochemical-based toxins, and they have had a chance to outgas [the good news]. Older homes also can contain products that were banned after their construction such as lead and asbestos [the bad news]."


See Quick Lead Basics and Asbestos in the Home.


Baker-Laporte continues: "An old home has a story to tell. Are there water stains? Is there any rotted wood under the floor or above the ceiling? What is the history of pesticide use? How old is the heating system?"


See Pesticides - Why Be Concerned and What to Do.


She concludes: "Be cautious when bringing an older home up to current energy standards — you may be inadvertently causing new problems. When making it tighter — consider new ventilation requirements to exchange air. Of course, when selecting new items for the renovation, be sure to avoid introducing new toxins."


See Healthy Home Basics - Ventilate Your Home. expert Brad Hankins ( also offers some tips for a healthier home: "Simple ways to improve the health of a building include controlling moisture, increasing ventilation with bathroom and kitchen fans, using nontoxic paints, avoiding installation of new products that off-gas, using natural materials as much as possible, utilizing natural light, and hiring a designer."


See Zero-VOC Paint - Now in Many Colors. expert Linda Mason Hunter ( stresses that when remodeling, "take time to plan. The design phase should take at least as long as the actual remodel. Hire a contractor and design professional who are certified green. Be sure to have a good supply of fresh air during the remodeling process."


We couldn't agree more. More info at


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(Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)

Good News and Bad News About Older Homes:  Created on May 18th, 2011.  Last Modified on May 19th, 2011


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