Why Home Inspections Are Important for Older Homes

April 7, 2020 blog

In a world that seems to be obsessed with all things shiny and new, there’s a lot to be said for buying an older home. Homes built in the early 1900s have a character and charm that simply can’t be matched by the ones that have been built in the last 50 years or so. But all that charm does come with its drawbacks. If you’re considering buying an older home, it’s extremely important that you don’t skip out on a home inspection from a professional home inspector in Philadelphia. Keep reading to learn just a few of the reasons that this inspection is so important for older homes.

Building Codes Change

Safety codes for residential buildings have changed a lot in the last half a century. The last thing you want as a home buyer is to purchase a home that is not even up to code. It’s important to ensure that all of the home’s features—both inside and out—are up to safety standards so you don’t end up buying a home that is deemed unsafe to live in.

Basement Troubles

One of the first places a home inspector will look when inspecting an old home is the basement. Oftentimes, the basements of old homes have been remodeled into a rec room or home theater. This makes the space look nice, but it doesn’t mean that the structure itself is sound.

It’s important to remember that, in older homes, the basement was never meant as a living space; it was designed as storage for dry goods or possibly household items. If it’s been remodeled as a living space, an inspector needs to ensure that the basement is set up with proper drainage and that there are no signs of rot or mold hiding behind the remodeled paneling.

Roof Issues

Roofs have a limited lifespan of roughly 20 to 50 years, depending on the material and the care it’s received. If the home you’re buying is older than that, you’ll want to ensure that the roof is in good shape. This goes far beyond glancing up at the roof to see if shingles are missing. An old roof can look nice if it’s been reshingled, but those fresh shingles could be hiding rusted flashing, a deteriorating chimney, or rotted fascia boards. Even the roof structure itself may be compromised, but a trained eye will notice any sagging rooflines no matter how many times it’s been reshingled.

In relation to the roof, an inspector will also check for proper insulation and ventilation in the attic. Many owners of old homes will dump wood shavings or shredded paper in the attic to improve insulation. This is a major issue, as these materials are combustible. An inspector will get up in those spaces and check for safe, proper insulation.

Old Wiring

You’ll also want to know if the wiring of any old home has been updated recently. Half a century ago, many homes used knob-and-tube wiring; this is an extremely outdated wiring system that you’ll want to have updated right away, should you decide to still purchase the property. If you’re not up for doing that level of overhaul on a newly purchased home, an inspector can tell you so that you can move on.

Man with Clipboard Inspecting Inside a Home

Plumbing

Last but certainly not least is the plumbing. Older homes often used cast iron drains, galvanized water lines, and clay tiles; all of these parts present potential major issues to your plumbing. In fact, the plumbing is often the biggest issue in old homes because of the corrosion and breakdown of these parts. A proper inspection will let you know what the plumbing looks like so you can correct and update any problems to avoid major breakdowns and damage later.

If you’re buying an old home, contact Eagle Inspections. We’re the best home inspector in Philadelphia, PA, and we’ll do a thorough inspection so you know exactly what you’re getting into when purchasing an older home. Call to schedule your inspection today!