As any retired grandfather with a toolbox knows, living in an older home can often mean substituting Sunday football for weekend fix-ups. Seldom will the seasons change without a new issue springing up – a new floorboard creak here, a leaky faucet there; the house can be a handyman’s paradise.

An 1859 classic we inspected in Westville, IN.

For that reason, Certified Home Inspections takes extra precautions when inspecting homes twenty years old or older. Since our inception in 2003, we’ve inspected hundreds of historic homes and building in the Northwest Indiana. Though more time is allotted for an “older home inspection”, the extra steps are absolutely crucial to ensure your historic home is a comfortable dream-house, and not a weekend construction hobby.

An oldy but a beauty in Valparaiso, IN

Here are some of the areas our team of professionals carefully spends extra time reviewing during an older home inspection:

  1. Knob & Tube Wiring – commonly used in homes until the 1930’s, this wiring system is still safe to use as long as it has been unaltered and properly maintained throughout the years.
  2. Asbestos – once a leading construction material due to it’s fire-resistant qualities and long-lasting nature, asbestos is now known to be quite harmful when the particles are inhaled, and can be found in a variety of materials including: floor tiles, attic vermiculite insulation, exterior siding, and HVAC duct wrap.
  3. Lead – this dense and heavy metal was used in both paint and piping, and exposure to dust or chips from lead can cause serious health problems.
  4. Alternative Foundations – although modern concrete-poured foundations are undoubtedly more reliable, older homes that have brick or even field stone foundations may still be safely livable (as long as the floors aren’t sloping and the walls aren’t run with cracks).
  5. Drainage – most non-updated older homes lack sump pumps, and have little in the way of eradicating water from the foundation, which can lead to major structural problems.
  6. Code – decades of updated code, alongside generations of handiwork from untrained handymen have certainly increased the odds that your older home is not up to code, particularly regarding: handrails/balusters, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, GFCI outlets, adequate wiring, dated cast iron plumbing, galvanized water pipes, and more.
  7. Ventilation – unlike ridge and soffit vents of the modern home, old gable vents were common in years past for attic insulation, and were also much more likely to clog and cause problems.
  8. Framing – our inspectors look specifically for ‘balloon’ framing: one of three types of framing, standing as the most common until the 1930’s, as well as the one that poses the greatest risk for catastrophic fires.

The way our owner Jim Ullom puts it:

“Inspectors should be extra careful when inspecting older homes. They can be tricky and very different in many ways. They will always take more time to complete due to the number of photos and amount of documenting required.”

A beautiful brick home located on Hwy 2, South of Valparaiso, IN.

An older home in Gary, IN., known as The Demon House, we inspected for Ghost Adventures of Travel Channel a few years back


In this case, the extra time our team of professionals takes to properly inspect your older home is sure to save money in the long-run, and prevent any unchecked age-related disasters from wreaking havoc on your family and home.