floor stabilisation | URETEK

Renovation of a house- where to start?

renovation and restoration of an old country house

Renovation of a house

Renovation can be a very big project to take on, especially when it comes to renovating a commercial building or an apartment building. But it can also be a smaller type of work if only the concrete staircase of the house needs renovation. In this article, we will talk more about renovating old houses. The special focus will be on the renovation and restoration of old houses and log houses, which do not always mean the same thing, but often go hand in hand.

Renovating an old house into your dream home can be an exciting process – seeing the house change from floor to ceiling! However, there are many things to know before starting this project, in order to avoid unexpected surprises. How to start renovating or restoring your house?

We try to give a brief overview of what to pay attention to and in what order to start renovating and insulating an old house. It is helpful to have a plan in place on how to start the project or to help you decide whether to buy an old house that needs extensive renovation.

Old unrenovated houses are cold and harmful to health

Construction and insulation of the floor of an old house

Very often people choose to move into a house in need of renovation as soon as possible. Financially it might make sense, but the wind blowing from the cracks in the wall, the cold from the floors or the leaks of moisture may not show up until the first winter and spring arrive and lead to unexpected inconveniences. Therefore, when buying an old house, the first important step is to assess the condition of the house, regardless of the fact if you have planned to start renovating your small country house or a large wooden house, restoring a dilapidated farmhouse or an old log house.

Old homes may not only be uncomfortable to live in, but they may also be detrimental to people’s health. Potential unavoidable hazards in old houses can include subsiding of the house or foundation, structural problems, mold, house damage, and more. Subsidence of the foundation may require different approaches- concrete pressure lifting, concrete slab lifting, or precast panel lifting. Such risks do not only take a longer time to renovate but can also lead to much higher and unexpected costs in the budget. Therefore, it may be necessary to start demolition work before renovation or restoration work.

1. Renovating, insulating, and lifting the foundation 

The roof and the foundation are very important, if not the most important parts of the house. In the event of problems, these areas must be looked at first, as defects in the roof or foundation can affect the rest of the house and its durability. Roof problems can also damage rafters and ceilings, as well as walls and floors can be damaged if the problem is ignored. That is why it is important to evaluate the roof structures and the beams, to see if a partial roof repair is sufficient enough or whether the entire roof needs to be replaced.

However, renovation should begin with repairing the foundation. The foundation is not only important as a base for the house, but it also keeps out moisture and insulates from the colder temperatures, which reduces heat loss and helps prevent moisture damage. Renovating and insulating the foundation of an old log house can bring up many questions. Is it necessary to insulate the old foundation and build a completely new one or is it necessary to raise the existing foundation? Pay close attention to this and get informed about the cases where a new foundation should be built and in which situation to choose to insulate the old foundation. Subsiding of the foundation is a problem that can also occur in new houses, and the most common problems that indicate this are cracks in the walls and gaps between the floorboards and the walls. All of these works need to be approached differently, and therefore it is necessary to assess the condition of the existing foundation of the house.

2. Renovation and insulation of the facade 

Renovation of the facade is the next step after the roof and foundation have been taken care of. As the exterior walls of the house are exposed to different weather conditions – wind, rain and sun, it can reduce the appearance and durability of the facade. Renovation of the facade begins with the demolition of the old facade or removing the old cladding boards.

The renovation of the facade has several purposes. Insulation of the facade contributes to the thermal insulation of the house, the right materials prevent moisture from penetrating the house and the exterior facade gives the house a beautiful appearance.

With an old log house, the renovation of the facade begins with a decision on whether to insulate the house from the outside with wool, board, or some other material. Another option is to restore the existing logs. When restoring a log house, it is important to inspect the lower log rows, which have usually been the most damaged. Rotten logs should be noticed, even if they are covered, to prevent further moisture damage and rotting.

3. Renovating, building, and insulating a floor in an old house 

Floor renovation may seem like one of the quickest and easiest jobs. However, this is usually not the case. The floor plays a very important role in keeping the house warm.

With low-quality floors, you should consider demolition and the construction of completely new flooring. The construction of a floor in an old house can be difficult if the renovation of the foundation has not happened. As with an old farmhouse or a log house, in general, the biggest enemy of the floor is moisture. Therefore, before insulating the floors, the waterproofing of the foundation must also be double-checked, so that the foundation does not get wet and will not damage the rebuilt floor in the future.

Floor insulation depends on the type of the house, the foundation, and the floor material. Insulation material, such as light gravel and polystyrene foam, between the beams should be placed under the beams of the wooden floor. When insulating a concrete floor, gravel is usually placed underneath. On top of that, a thin layer of sand expanded polystyrene and film. Then the preliminary work for pouring the concrete is done.

If the floor is well insulated, but there is a noticeable gap between the floor and the wall, it is not necessary to rebuild that floor. This may be a sign that the foundation is sinking and this problem should be approached differently.

Construction and insulation of the floor of an old house

4. Removing cracks from walls and final touches

Removal of cracks and fissures from the walls and finishing

Different problems indicate the subsidence of the foundation, which at first may seem like only a concern that needs interior finishing. Particular attention should be paid to the walls if you notice a crack in them. Any cracks, in both the interior and exterior walls, gaps between the floorboards and the wall, sloping or partially subsided floors, jammed windows and doors are issues that can indicate a serious danger to the entire house, especially if subsidence of the foundation is happening.

The subsidence of the foundation is something that needs to be addressed immediately to avoid further problems. The company URETEK Baltic, which has been operating on the Estonian market for almost 7 years, offers an easy way to raise the foundation without digging and disturbing everyday life. The service provided by URETEK’s specialists ensures fast, convenient, and environmentally friendly lifting of the building by means of innovative geopolymer injection technology. You can read more about foundation lifting and URETEK´s technology.

Renovation is easier if the walls are straight and insulated and only interior work is needed. The most common way is to cover the walls with boards, such as gypsum board or OSB, and then either wallpaper or paint. In the case of old log houses, the well-preserved log is often retained as an interior element to preserve its authenticity.

5. Insulation and interior finishing of the ceiling 

Ceiling insulation is just as important as floor insulation. You will definitely need to invest more time and money in the ceiling if the roof has leaked or if there have been other problems with the roof and its beams. Usually, the ceiling needs interior finishing separately.

The fastest, most common, and also cheapest solution for interior finishing of ceilings is gypsum board and its over-plastering and painting. Instead of the usual white plaster ceiling, the ceiling can be given a new look with the help of wood, special tiles, or a suspended or stretched ceiling.

You have to take a different approach with the bathroom and kitchen ceilings. In the kitchen, it is recommended to use light gloss paint that can be washed on both the ceilings and the walls. The matte paint absorbs dirt, soot, and grease that can fly in the kitchen air and is difficult to clean. Due to the high humidity in the bathroom, strong paint should be used and enamel paint should be avoided, as the moisture that gets under the ceiling surface will start to bubble and crack.

Other important renovation work

house renovation price

Before renovating an old house, it is definitely necessary to review the aspects mentioned above. If necessary- call a specialist. However, renovating an entire house can certainly be an even longer process and often depends on a number of factors. Sewerage, ventilation, and heating also often need to be inspected.

Some houses need a lot of demolition and reconstruction, others want to keep the atmosphere of the old house with restoration. So the first step is to start assessing the condition of the house. Prioritize the pre-work and inspect each part of the house separately. Pay attention to the work that was discussed in this article, but be sure to approach each house individually and find the best solution for yourself and your house.

What will the whole cost of a house renovation be? 

The cost of renovating a house can vary greatly depending on the size of the renovation and restoration work, materials, labor costs, and more. Restoring an old house can sometimes be more expensive than buying or building a new one. However, the new house does not have the historical value that a renovated house offers. Renovation and restoration work can also be spread over time, having a piecemeal approach and starting with the highest priorities. This will ensure the flexibility of the budget and spread costs over time.

When determining the price of house renovation, there are two options: 1. ask the construction company for a price offer for the desired work or 2. prepare the budget yourself. If you are ready to educate yourself and invest your time not only in preparation but also, for example, in getting the materials or construction work, you can save on the budget. Budgeting can start with foundation work. In order to evaluate the subsidence of the foundation, URETEK´s specialists offer free, on-site inspection and consultation, and after the initial evaluation, the project manager makes an offer from URETEK.


Elimination of floor subsidence in stores and warehouses without changing their opening hours

Concrete floors of large warehouses, supermarkets and logistics centres may also suffer from subsidence or tilting

Modern URETEK geopolymers injection method allows lifting concrete floor slabs and stabilise them without vacating the premises and disrupting daily work.

Floor slabs in large warehouse and commercial areas are designed in view of daily impact of stationary structures. Concrete floor must also handle loads caused by loading machinery and other warehouse equipment. In case of exceeding permitted maximum static or dynamic loads or in case of changes in soil properties under the structure (weakening of soil due to changes in surface water level, breakage of water or sewerage pipes), it is likely that floor slabs sink or tilt.

The damage described above can cause minor discomfort resulting from changed position of commercial and warehouse equipment, but it can also lead to accidents and situations that endanger human health and life.

Complexity of lifting and stabilising concrete slabs

Unfortunately, subsidence of concrete floor in a warehouse or commercial premises is not always noticed in time. Considering that restoration of concrete floor and strengthening of the soil under the floor requires dismantling of concrete slabs when using traditional methods, the repairs are often postponed as they cause major loss to the owners of premises resulting from long-term work stoppage.

Instead of applying systemic measures, owners often seek temporary solution by using all kinds of supports and bases. However, such an approach to the problem may obviously lead to unpleasant consequences.

Lifting and stabilisation of floor by using geopolymers

Sunken sections of concrete floor can be lifted and the soil under the structure can be strengthened by using URETEK geopolymers injection method.

In that case, there is no need for dismantling concrete slabs, involving heavy machinery or performing earthworks. In order to stop subsidence of concrete slabs and levelling them, geopolymer material has to be inserted deep under the floor in the soil under the structure (Deep Injection method) or in the space between soil and concrete slab (Slab Lifting method).

Immediately after injection, geopolymer resins expand and take up all vacant space in the soil under the structure, compact the soil and harden within only 15 minutes. URETEK geopolymers injection technology allows increasing compressive strength of soil up to 10.6 МPа.

Injection can be done without dismantling sunken slabs. It requires drilling just a few technical holes with diameter of 16mm in the concrete for pipes intended for inserting geopolymer material. Meanwhile, URETEK equipment can be located up to 120 m from the actual place of injection.

Geopolymer material is inserted in soil through special hoses that can easily be moved in the room between shelving and other equipment. Thus, it is not necessary to vacate premises from goods and equipment. Furthermore, the hardening speed of URETEK geopolymer resins allows lifting and stabilisation of concrete slabs at night. But warehouse or store does not have to stop work even if the floor needs to be lifted during working hours. Due to mobility and compact dimensions of the equipment, there is only minimum disturbance in daily operation.

Advantages of URETEK technology

The process of lifting and levelling sunken concrete slabs is monitored in real time. This is done by using special laser levels with measurement accuracy of ± 1 mm. Ground floor slabs can be lifted by maximum 20 cm. After restoration of former floor height, cracks can be eliminated in partition walls supported by sunken slabs. Restoring floors by means of URETEK method allows saving up to 25% compared to traditional methods.


Stabilistaion of concrete floors in industrial and utility rooms

The floors of industrial and utility buildings may subside over time

Covering consisting in concrete slabs are often damaged at joints or become curved due to large load. Thanks to geopolymers, concrete floors can be repaired without disrupting the operation of the facility.

Subsidence of concrete floor slabs in buildings is allowed only to certain extent. When building such floors, all appropriate preparation works must be performed prior to assembling concrete slabs. However, in case of defective floor assembly or excessive loads on concrete floor, the premises need urgent repairs. Otherwise, sunken, deformed and tilted concrete slabs will obstruct normal work process.

Strengthening and repair of concrete floors

Slab Lifting method is used for stabilisation, lifting and strengthening of concrete floors. This method enables complete repair of concrete floor with the shortest possible time. Furthermore, it does not require dismantling concrete slabs, shelving and installed equipment, which saves much more time and money compared to traditional repair methods.

Slab Lifting method stands out by the fact that when injecting geopolymer resins, the load on concrete floor slabs are no longer considered a disadvantage, but an advantage instead. In some cases, it is even recommended to install new equipment in the room and only then commence lifting and stabilising concrete floor slabs. When concrete floor is exposed to additional load, it is much easier to direct the pressure generated during injection of geopolymer resins into deeper soil layers. This allows better quality of soil compaction and strengthening of concrete slabs.

How concrete floor is levelled

Repairing concrete floor by means of Slab Lifting method allows quick commissioning of restored floor sections. There are no work stoppages that otherwise occur when dismantling and re-installing concrete slabs. Therefore, using this method has minimum effect on client’s business activities.

For lifting, stabilisation and levelling of concrete slabs, geopolymers are injected under the concrete surface through 1–142 mm holes. Geopolymer components are mixed in special compact devices at the time of injection. Almost immediately after reaching the soil, geopolymer components undergo chemical reaction which makes the material expand. The material fills all hollow cavities under the concrete, force liquid from the soil under a structure into other soil layers and expand towards the weakest parts of the soil.

Soil is strengthened at the distance of 500 mm from geopolymer injection point. A new layer with increased load-bearing capacity is formed in the process, which allows lifting the concrete slab. The process of lifting and levelling of the slab is monitored in real time with accuracy of ± 1 mm.

Stabilisation of floor in cold chamber

Cold chambers in warehouses stand out by strict requirements for insulation, including floor insulation. It is not always easy to insulate the floor when converting existing premises into cold chambers. Using geopolymers when levelling and strengthening concrete floor has an indirect effect of improving floor insulation.

The reason for that consists in the fact that geopolymer used for strengthening and compacting the soil spreads evenly under the concrete and forms a hermetic layer with low thermal conductivity. Thus, in addition to strengthening the concrete floors in cold chambers, geopolymers allow reduce the costs of floor insulation.


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