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How To Help Determine The Age of a House

Posted by Sherry Rioux on May 23, 2008

Like most towns, the housing stock in Collingwood and area ranges in age from brand new to well over 100 years old.  For buyers looking for a home to buy, the age is often a factor in identifying what original components have been replaced and which ones may need to be replaced.  The age of the house and the area may also be a clue as to the presence of things such as asbestos tiles, aluminum wiring, UFFI insulation and galvanized plumbing that all may cause some concerns today with insurers or otherwise.

Generally speaking, a search in registry records and a conversation with the planning department will reveal documents that can date a house built in the last 30 years or so.  Chatting with long time neighbours may also shed light on the answer.  There are other ways that may also provide clues more readily and while none are fool-proof, they are all part of evidence in determining the age of the house:

  • often the building materials themselves will date the house and, an inspector familiar with changing building methods will extract clues from this
  • the type of wiring can also tell a tale.  For example, aluminum wiring was generally only used from 1960 to 1978 and, 2 prong outlets were generally only used before 1960
  • galvanized steel plumbing was generally used before 1950
  • UFFI insulation was banned in December, 1980
  • Often the gas furnace or hot water heater will have a sticker on it if it was built 20-25 years ago with the old Ontario Warranty (HUDAC) number on it or, there may be a tag showing the date of installation and testing if the components are newer
  • Check for a sticker on the electrical panel
  • Most thermal pane windows have a metal bar in between the panes with a CMHC number and date stamp indicating when the windows were made.
  • Take the lid off the toilet tank and often the date the toilet was made is stamped in the rear right hand corner

If several of these factors point to the same year, it’s a pretty good bet that it reflects the year the house was built.  Cool, huh?

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When it’s time to buy or sell real estate in the Collingwood, Blue Mountain or Georgian Triangle area, contact Marg, an experienced and competent Broker who’s ready whenever you are!

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