Buying and repairing concrete houses

Understanding the implications of owning a concrete home
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When it comes to non-standard construction, concrete houses are a popular property type. In the UK, pre-cast reinforced concrete (PRC) houses were the solution to providing housing for a recovering nation after the Second World War. The buildings were often in desirable locations and had plenty of room, which was a welcome change to cramped accommodation during the war. As a building material, concrete was lightweight, hard-wearing and fireproof.

Fast-forward twenty to thirty years, however, and it became clear that concrete houses were deteriorating. The steel supports corroded and weakened over time and concrete blocks cracked as a result, prompting many mortgage lenders to refuse cover.

Don’t despair, though. If you are interested in or have a concrete house, then there are repairs that can make you more attractive to a mortgage provider. Nowadays a PRC Certificate can be produced to prove that a concrete house has been repaired in order to gain a mortgage. First, speak with a professional about the size of the project and costs, as structural repairs must be carried out by a licensed PRC Structural Engineer in order to gain the certificate.

To reduce the risks associated with a concrete house, repairs might involve removing concrete pillars, concrete blocks or support beams. Insulation may need to be added to improve the building’s energy efficiency, and in some cases a brick ‘skin’ might be recommended to change the appearance of the building. This can make the house more appealing to buyers if and when you decide to sell the property later down the line.

If you are planning structural repairs, then it may also be the ideal time to consider any additional changes you might like to make to the property. For instance, you might like to increase the living space in your house with a loft conversion or extension too, and there are many benefits to choosing to continue using concrete throughout the property development.

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3 benefits of concrete houses

Noise control

Noise control in residential areas is a key concern for many local authorities. Concrete has great silencing properties so it’s great for sound insulation, and your neighbours will appreciate it.

Flood resistance

Flooding is also a growing risk across the UK. Concrete is water resistant and is even used in water barriers. Despite the risk, houses are still being built on flood plains too, so concrete could provide a barrier to water entering the property.

Fire safety

Fire is a big risk to any home but concrete is a building material that does not burn. It is virtually fireproof and because of its airtight structure it prevents deadly smoke spreading throughout the house.

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