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Dating Houses – How old do you think it is?

As home inspectors, we need to approximate the age of the homes we inspect.  We have a variety of techniques that can assist us in attempting to make this determination. For example, in newer subdivisions dates from manhole covers are stamped with the year the infrastructure was installed.  Sometimes the year is also stamped onto sidewalks, and curbs.

Another method is to look at the windows of the home.  Thermal pane windows usually have a metal strip which separates the two panes of glass. On that metal strip you will often find the date of manufacture.  It will tell you the age of the window but not necessarily the age of the house.

On homes built within the last 25 years, you will often find a sticker on the outside of the electrical panel indicating the possession date of the house.  Alternatively, if you as certain that the furnace or the water heater is original, the gas inspection sticker on either of these appliances is a good indication of the age of the house.

Some plumbing fixtures also have a manufacture date stamped into them.  For example if you remove the lid from the tank, the date will often be stamped on the underside of the lid and also inside the tank near the water line. The date is usually on the right hand side of the rear portion of the tank when you are facing the toilet. The date inside the tank is more reliable than the date on the lid because sometimes lids get broken and replaced. Again, you must look for other clues to convince yourself that the toilet is an original one.

Virtually all houses in the GTA with stone foundation walls were built before 1930.

Most houses built with concrete block foundations are pre 1970. Most subdivision houses built in the 70’s or newer have poured concrete foundations. Most brick houses in Ontario were solid masonry construction up until the late 1960’s. Most brick houses built after 1970 were brick veneer construction.

These are just a sample of the type of clues we home inspectors look for in attempting to determ in the age of a home.  With time and experience, this task because easier and provides a reasonable approximation of the homes true age.