143 Year old house

Does anyone have any tips or ideas of “out of the ordinary” things to look for during my inspection on this century home?

The client stated that it is forced air heating, no central air no basement but does have a cellar, he also said his main concern was the roofing.

Mr. Hensel this is in your old stomping grounds if you have any info it would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Don’t expect to see CMU piers…and that’s not a defect unless the pier/foundation is crumbling.

Floor joists often are not supported by ledgers (or hangers). That is a defect.

You’ll probably see galvanized piping (which I call out), cast iron drains, and may see knob and tube. Don’t assume that all K&T has been d-energized (I warn them about the possibility of the original wiring being in concealed spaces (walls, etc.).

I let them know the likelihood of poor or missing wall insulation. Missing sub-floor insulation is not a defect to me, but I certainly let them know it. Sub-standard ceiling insulation I do call out, recommending an upgrade.

Expect to see electrical and plumbing horror stories.

Don’t forget about PPB. See some kind of damage in almost every older (80-100+yr) house I inspect.

Some more links:


In all probability you will find asbestos tape on ductwork between the different floors. Possible lead water service pipe.

This article may help.


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