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Homes through the ages - The Roaring 20s

Every era of home is a new kettle of fish! And there are specific things you should look for, depending on when the home you're looking to purchase was built. So we're starting a new blog series called - "Homes Through the Ages" and we're starting with The Roaring '20s! Homes in the Roaring '20s showcased the era's optimism and innovation, blending classic architectural styles with the emerging comforts of modern living. But these days, they aren't always up to the grandeur they may once have had.

1920s homes require a careful eye for both its unique historical features and the potential challenges that come with its age. Here’s a checklist of critical things to look for:

Structural Integrity

  • Foundation Issues: Check for signs of settling or shifting, such as cracks in the foundation, uneven floors, or doors and windows that don't close properly.

  • Roof and Chimney: Look for missing, broken, or worn shingles/tiles, signs of leaks, and the condition of the chimney, particularly if it’s masonry, as it may have deteriorated over time.

Electrical System

  • Outdated Wiring: Many 1920s homes may still have knob-and-tube wiring, which is considered outdated and could be a fire hazard. Also, check for an outdated or undersized electrical panel that may not meet modern needs.

  • Light Fixtures: Original or older light fixtures might not be up to current electrical standards.


  • Galvanised Pipes: These are common in older homes and can corrode or clog over time, affecting water pressure and quality. Check for leaks or water damage.

  • Sewer Line: The condition of the sewer line is crucial, as many original lines may have deteriorated or could be clogged with tree roots.

Heating and Cooling Systems

  • Old Heating Systems: Many older homes have outdated heating systems, such as oil furnaces or old boilers, which can be inefficient and costly to replace or repair.

  • Lack of Insulation: Insulation standards have changed; older homes might not be well insulated, leading to higher heating and cooling costs.

Hazardous Materials

  • Lead Paint: Common in older homes, lead paint is a health hazard, especially if it’s peeling or chipping.

  • Asbestos: Often found in insulation, tiles, roofing, and around pipes in older homes, asbestos removal requires professional handling.

Windows and Doors

  • Efficiency: Original single-pane windows and older doors might not be energy efficient, leading to higher energy costs.

  • Condition: Check for wood rot, deterioration, or damage.

Historical Accuracy

  • Architectural Integrity: Look for modifications that have preserved or altered the original architectural details and character.

  • Preservation Restrictions: Be aware of local historic preservation laws that might affect renovations or repairs.

Ventilation and Moisture

  • Basement and Attic: Check these areas for adequate ventilation and signs of moisture or water damage, which can lead to mold and structural issues.

Pest Infestations

  • Termites and Rodents: Look for signs of infestation, which can cause significant damage to wood structures.

General Condition and Maintenance

  • Cosmetic Updates: Consider the cost and effort of updating cosmetic aspects to your taste or modern standards.

  • Landscaping and Exterior: Check for proper drainage around the home and the condition of any outbuildings or fences.

  • Scrim: Any scrim still in the walls? This is an important issue for insurance. It's a huge fire risk, and so insurance companies will want to know it has been removed.

Utilities and Amenities

  • Modern Comforts: Consider the cost and feasibility of adding or updating amenities like air conditioning, modern appliances, and internet wiring.

When inspecting a 1920s home, it’s wise to enlist the help of professionals, such as a structural engineer, a plumber, an electrician, and a general home inspector, who can provide expert evaluations and advice on any issues discovered during the inspection! Here at QSPlus, we're here to give you peace of mind, so we can help you out with your home inspection, no matter the age of the home or the condition!

Creator: Photographer: KEVIN CLARKE ANZI : Steve Allsopp Photography


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