Age Counts

by Keith Tripp, 2020

This is the oldest house in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. It is the Osterhout log cabin located on the grounds of Guild Inn, surrounded by interesting architectural fragments saved from demolition by the Clark family in the 1960s and 1970s.

Age is everything when it comes to home inspection. Often the age of older renovated houses is disguised in advertising material, and even MPAC may not indicate the true age of the oldest parts of the house, such as original foundations that were left in place.guildcom1 guildcom2 guildcom3

Old foundations may be left in place intentionally so a significant rework of a house is classed as a renovation rather than a new build, and the builder may avoid requirements for Tarion warranty coverage.

When I inspect heavily renovated houses, or houses with multiple additions built in older areas, I am on a mission to find the oldest components because these represent the highest risk to the buyer. That could be foundation and structure, HVAC ductwork, and old electrical and plumbing components.

Some indicators of house or component age are: dates printed in thermopane windows, “street date” as found on sewer drain caps, date on insulation installation tag, dates on HVAC and gas line tags, dates printed on electrical wiring, dates printed on plywood and other wood panel materials, construction materials and techniques.

It is critical to determine house age. Otherwise the only thing you will know for certain is that the house is newer than the Osterhout log cabin.