What Happens to Abandoned Houses?

Over a million homes are abandoned or left vacant each year due to an array of reasons from the high cost of renovation and repairs, natural and ecological disasters, death of the neighborhood, crime and violence, or economic busts. Once a refuge of happy families, many abandoned houses still remain jilted today and easily ignored in many places. But sometimes, it’s also a good idea to acquire an abandoned house and renovate it into your dream home. Find out more about this in our post, How Can You Transform an Abandoned Home into Your Dream Space?

But, have you ever wondered what happens to these properties through time? In due course, the force of nature will reclaim, creep in, making the entirety prone to ruin. Here, check out the engrossing things that happen to abandoned houses.

An abandoned house in Finland


Moisture is the first to seize an abandoned. Without being properly cared for, windows will crack and old roofs will start to leak. Humidity will rise and moisture will penetrate and wreak havoc on the floor, walls, basements, crawl spaces, and cement foundations. Once the house is soaked, its structure will start to weaken, causing the property to be unsafe and vulnerable to collapsing once the damage has gone too far.


With moisture now present, molds will soon follow. Molds love humid environments and will ravage ceilings or corners where they get concentrated. Slimy green or black patches will soon commandeer on bathroom fixtures and drywall, and then take over the entire house, which can be devastating.


An abandoned 19th century home

With the property now plunging into desolation, characterized by cracked windows, deteriorated doors, and dilapidated roofs, another culprit is happy to enter the property – plants. Vines like kudzu, buckthorn, and ivy will soon work their way into the abandoned house, making use of every crack and crevice just to get inside. While it may not seem like it, these plants are capable of damaging the house foundation, decks, and staircases, making the property more perilous.

Interior of an abandoned house

Animals and Bugs

Without humans to deter from coming in, animals like feral cats, deer, rats, and squirrels will be happy to check out the abandoned homes. Often, they won’t do anything to speed up the deterioration of the house, and will just come for a quick visit or find shelter. Apparently, it’s the smaller creatures, such as ants and termites that will do harm into the jilted house, eating up the house’s structural wood and as well as in areas around the doors and windows.

Weather Conditions

One of the priorities of any homeowner is to protect the house from the different forces of nature, such as heat, snow, and wind. With that, regular maintenance and repairs are being made to ensure the safety of the house. However, abandoned homes no longer have owners to fulfill these essential upkeeps, leaving Mother Nature to freely take its toll.

An abandoned house in Oregon

Abandoned houses may suffer varying amounts of damage, depending on the location. For instance, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana, being some of the United States’ hottest states, will damage exposed roof tiles and soft fixtures in the house. Then, states with briny winds will eat away metal easier. Nevertheless, any location has its weather-linked hazard that will deteriorate the abandoned home.

Final Words

Humans transform landscapes to create houses for shelter. Yet, these structures are not always permanent, as once they are abandoned, these dwellings can never win against Mother Nature, which will quickly do its job, and show its power to reclaim these places once more.