Historic houses have so much character, but these homes were built before homebuilders were able to utilize the concepts of building science. Since builders did not utilize the modern techniques required to properly circulate air, it is important to have a thorough inspection of all visible building materials. The most important things first-time homebuyers need to carefully examine to confirm moisture in under control are listed below.
- Moisture intrusion of any type needs to be eradicated. This is naturally done by plugging water leaks, but it also requires plugging air leaks that can allow for condensation to occur when cold air meets warm air.
- The overall condition of supports in the basement and attic need to be carefully examined. Supports need to be sound, cannot have pest or water damage and should register low to moderate moisture readings.
- Make sure that the house is heated and cooled properly so that the home’s interior is protected from the temperature extremes that can wreak havoc on interior building components that were not designed to handle such conditions.
- Plumbing and electrical are also very important parts of a historical home inspection but those things can be replaced and/or updated.
There are so many other things to look for when determining if a historic home is right for you. While a home inspection can help to identify visual defects, a good home inspector can utilize tools like moisture meters and infrared cameras to isolate problem areas. While infrared technology does not “see through walls”, it does indicate the temperature anomalies that can suggest moisture intrusion. Moisture intrusion will not only damage building supports members but will also weaken the lignans in the wood while allowing mold to grow and attract pests like termites that can further damage the building structure.