What Counts As an Older Home?
First, just what is an older home? That’s hard to define. I would say anything 30 years or older definitely qualifies as an older home, in which some of the following problems may materialize, but clearly there is no magic number.
Homes age slowly, and most of the potential problems noted in this story gradually accrue. Continuous maintenance can greatly impact a home’s life, as can the original quality of construction, but the older a home is, the more likely you are to find issues impacting its livability and even safety.
Photo: Ryan Linnegar Photography, original photo on Houzz
If the floor is uneven to an extent you can easily see and feel while walking the home, the foundation certainly requires a thorough inspection by a structural engineer. But there are less obvious signs that commonly manifest themselves inside a home too.
Doors and windows that stick or do not latch properly can be caused by foundation issues, as can drywall cracks, especially over doors and windows. By executing a quick exterior inspection, you can check for bulges in foundation walls, or any section that does not appear plumb.
You can inspect the foundation for chipping and flaking, and if you see any, use a screwdriver to confirm the hardness of the concrete.
Hairline cracks in concrete are not usually indicative of a major problem, but an inspection by a certified structural engineer is the only way to know for sure whether something is an issue. Costs to repair a foundation can be as low as $1,000, but can also run substantially more, and in some cases foundations cannot be reasonably repaired.
Photo: Selectaglaze, original photo on Houzz