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Does Your Old Home Have A Finished Attic?

BY Steve Rodriguez
Steve Rodriguez
BY Steve Rodriguez
Steve Rodriguez

Say what you want about old homes, but I think they’re amazing.

I mean, they’re literally time capsules.

time capsule
tea anyone?

Step inside and you’re right back where pride and craftsmanship were part of an honest day’s work – and it’s everywhere.

In the wood framing that came from slow-growth trees harvested from ancient groves and built with 2×4’s that were actually 2 inches by 4 inches that I’m pretty sure get stronger with age.

In the stacking of the brick and stone foundations and the wavy windows that were carefully cut and flattened by groups of men who made things their family and friends would be happy to use.

old home molding
that’s some serious trim

And in the tin ceilings and unmistakable baseboard trim and decorative moulding that were twice and tall and twice as thick as they are today.

I could go on and on.

It was a simpler time that felt like new discoveries were being made every day and the worst thing kids were doing in school was cutting in line. 😲

But they were built for a certain lifestyle during a more formal era and when major changes are made without first making sure they’re up for it, things can go wrong.

Like turning the attic into a living space.

When someone adds excessive weight to the tallest point in the home, the weight gets transferred to the exterior walls, which puts more downward force on the foundation than it was designed to endure.

This can make the floors drop and break all over the house.

It can also crack plaster, crush the foundation, and damage exterior siding.

It’s not pretty.

sloping floor
Sloping floors

And unless you know what to look for, you might chalk them up as normal old home issues and ignore the flags that tie them all together. 👎🏽

Especially if the home is vacant and recently remodeled.

But this checklist will help.

water is heavy
Water is heavy

So if you tour an older home (60+ years) and hear talk about…

  1. Finishing the attic
  2. Adding attic bedrooms
  3. Adding an attic master suite (a bathroom is very heavy)

…ask about any work they did to shore up the extra weight.

Then ask for the structural engineering report they would have needed to ensure the work is done right the first time.


  1. Take a critical look at the siding and foundation outside the home
  2. Check for sloping floors inside each room
  3. Look for cracking and buckling in the basement floor 18″-24″ from the foundation wall
cracked basement floor
Cracked basement floor

Remember, the decisions you make about your home aren’t always about you; sometimes they’re about your next buyers.

So if you have doubts or concerns or questions now, don’t ignore them or leave them unanswered because you might have to deal with them again when you sell.

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Steve Rodriguez is a Certified Master Inspector® and the owner of Bulldog Professional Inspection Services. He will perform your home inspection and has personally uncovered tens-of-thousands of defects in 14,000+ Kansas City properties since 2003.
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