Any time that you renovate your home, your focus is on achieving something new, something different, something innovative. However, many homeowners find that the process of transformation can be interrupted by relics of the past – damage sustained, problems that have to be solved, and unseen issues that had long remained invisible. In the worst case scenarios, these unexpected discoveries of past problems can interrupt the entire renovation process.

Unfortunately, there is relatively little you can do to prevent unpleasant surprises during a renovation. As you lift flooring, tearing down wallpaper, and even demolish entire walls, you will find that issues which have long been covered up will soon come to light, and you can’t go back in time to prevent those problems developing in the first instance.

As a result, it is therefore best to focus on rectifying the issues as and when you find them, potentially even setting aside some of your renovation budget as a contingency that you can call upon if needed. So what might you need to use this contingency fund for? Here are three common unpleasant surprises that people find during a renovation, as well as a few tips as to how they can be resolved…


Asbestos was once billed as a wonder material, but in the 21st century, it’s now seen as a serious threat to health – and unfortunately, there’s a chance your home might contain asbestos without your knowledge. Asbestos does not tend to cause issues unless it is disturbed, so you can live alongside it for years, only for it to become a very real danger if you start ripping up tiles or demolishing walls during your renovation. It is therefore best to contact a company specializing in asbestos identification and removal in order to assess your home before doing work.


Termite infestations can be difficult to spot, especially if the infestation is within walls, hidden behind furniture, or contained in wall coverings. However, when renovating, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to soon notice the tell-tale signs: pin-sized holes in drywall, loose tiles, and peeling paintwork are all fairly common. If you do notice these signs, contact a termite control professional for further assessment – and eradication if necessary – as soon as possible.

Rising damp

At its worst, rising damp can cause serious structural issues with a property – but it’s also an incredibly difficult issue to diagnose. The first signs of rising damp tend to occur at the base of walls; areas that are often obscured from sight by furniture, which is then revealed when you empty a room of its contents in order to renovate. If you notice any of the signs of rising damp, such as water on the walls or peeling paint, then you’ll definitely need to call a professional for assistance before continuing with the renovation.

In conclusion

Discovering past problems that had hidden beneath modern decor and design is an unfortunate, but common, experience for anyone undergoing a home renovation. However, when you know what you’re looking for, and you have a budget set aside to ensure you can take remedial action as necessary you should be in great shape to ensure your renovation work can continue as soon as possible.