The importance of a home inspection on an old home

The importance of a home inspection on an old home

Did you know, Calgary was incorporated as a town in 1884 and as a city 10 years later, prior to the creation of the province of Alberta (1905)? It’s now 2020, which means as our city and province is getting older, so are the homes within it!

As a home buyer, there are many reasons to consider an older home; the price, vintage appeal, convenient locations, or the opportunity to renovate and flip the home. However, if you are considering an older home, you hopefully have removed the phrase maintenance free from your vocabulary. As technology and research has progressed, so have the standards in homes. This means that outdated technology and materials are almost always found during our home inspection process. Whether is optional repairs/upgrades like the floors and appliances or more major repairs like the roof, foundation, or frame, you should be budgeting for a wide variety of both optional and mandatory costs.

As a home inspector in Calgary, we have seen old homes in great condition and old homes that are nearly collapsing. However, in both cases, we were able to provide the home buyer with a detailed report that helped them make a more informed purchasing decision. For many homebuyers, this report is critical in helping them discover whether the home truly fits within their budget. Here is a list of what our home inspectors look for in older homes.

Electrical: Older homes were made with more outdated wiring systems for the lighting and appliances. As energy demands in homes have grown due to more lighting, appliances, outlets, and charging devices, the older and smaller wiring often struggles to keep up. This means these wires often become overworked, get hot, and become a fire hazard.

Heating: Alberta has always been cold! But dealing with the cold has become easier with new technology. Older homes often used coal fired systems which have now been upgraded to oil or gas systems. With any of these heating systems that produce emissions, you also need a venting system as well like a chimney. In older homes, our home inspectors often find deteriorating heating systems that burn excessive amounts of energy to keep the home warm. This is also in part due to poor insulation. This means more emissions which can lead to clogged or deteriorating venting systems as well. Because upgrading a heating system can cost a few thousand dollars, it is important to know how soon your furnace and vent system will need to be replaced/repaired.

Insulation: In older homes that have not been upgraded, we often find ineffective insulation that can also be hazardous to your health. As building codes have been upgraded, the list of materials that are no longer acceptable grows. When we perform a home inspection, it is very common to find asbestos/vermiculite, which is a highly cancerous and toxic material when disturbed. Beyond this, the insulation used struggles to maintain heat which means increased heating bills, more cold drafts, and increased workload for your heating systems. In the long run this results in higher heating bills and more maintenance on your heating systems.

Roofing: Your roof is your homes first line of defense against the cold harsh elements of Alberta. This means it is often the first major system to deteriorate and that needs to be upgraded. The types of materials being used on your roof and the frequency of the maintenance/repair. Older homes often used metal, tin, or slate roofing which is less protective than newer asphalt shingles. When we perform a home inspection on an older home, it is common for us to find water damage, frost damage, mould, and other damage in the attic due to poor roofing materials and maintenance.


These are just a few of the areas that you should be concerned about if you are thinking about buying an older home. Whether you want to flip it or to enjoy the vintage appeal, it is important to have a certified and experienced home inspector look at all the major systems so that you can protect yourself from unexpected costs. To have our team highly experienced and trusted home inspectors help you gain a more clear picture of your home, book online here You can also find a complete list of what we expect on our website.


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