5 Tricks To Tell How Old Your House Is

Whether you’re planning to sell the property or you’re just curious how old is your house, the real age of your house is important for various reasons.

And even if you know the year in which the house was built, the real age of your home can be totally different. We’ve had projects on homes built almost a century ago and they were looking just as good as a home built in 2020. And we’ve also worked on homes built in 2022 that were functioning and looking like they were made in the ’90s.

Besides the architectural style, the public records, the house’s history, census records, and previous owners, let’s see 5 tricks to tell how old your house is!

How old is your house vs a new house with wood floors

1. Check The Electrical Installation

Back in the day, houses were built with much less electrical equipment and installations. So, if your home is older than 50 years, there’s a good chance that the electrical installation is also old. And even if your home is newer than that, it’s still worth checking the installation because it might be old and outdated.

Many things can go wrong with an old electrical installation, such as faulty wiring, short circuits, or even fires. So, if you’re planning to sell your house or just want to know how old it actually is, make sure to have a look at the electrical installation and see if it needs any updating.

While most contractors nowadays are following the electrical building codes by heart, there are still a few out there that cut corners and choose the easy way.

Right now, homes are using armored cable aka “BX” wire or “Greenfield”, “Romex”, and some more wire types that ensure safety.

An electrical system and a professional fixing it

2. Check The Plumbing Installation

Just like with the electrical installation, homes built before the 1950s were usually not equipped with modern plumbing installations. So, if your home is older than that, there’s a good chance that the plumbing installation is also old.

As a matter of fact, even if your home is newer than that, it’s still worth checking the installation because it might be old, outdated, or damaged. Many things can go wrong with an old plumbing installation, such as leaks, bursts, or even floods.

You can imagine why a bad plumbing installation is not ideal for potential buyers. Possible accidents can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to fix. For you, selling a home with outdated plumbing means you’ll sell it for much less than what it’s worth.

A plumbing installation

3. Check The Dry Walls And The Framing

Dry walls and framing are two of the most important features of a house. If they’re old and damaged, it’s a real problem.

Damaged dry walls can let moisture in and damage the insulation, ceilings, and even the electrical installation. Moisture can also cause the growth of mold, which is not only a health hazard but can also be very expensive to get rid of.

Damaged framing can cause the roof to sag, which can lead to a lot of other problems. It can also make your home less energy-efficient, which will increase your monthly energy bills.

Drywall and insulation installation

4. Check The Home's Floor And Subfloor

The subfloor is the sturdy base under your flooring material, such as carpet, hardwood, laminate or tile. It’s usually made of plywood or OSB panels and it’s connected to your home’s floor joists.

In areas that are below ground level, such as a basement, the concrete foundation is frequently considered the subfloor. Ground-level floor joists known as sleepers can be used to cover concrete using plywood and OSB panels.

You can tell the subfloor and floor are old if:

A home subfloor with a ladder

5. Check The Home's Roof

An old home’s roof is unlikely to be in the best condition. Age and weather can take their toll on a roof, so it’s important to check for any damage before selling the property. The roof is also a good age-indicator.

Leaks are the most common problem with roofs and they can cause a lot of damage to your home if not fixed quickly. Not only will you have to repair the roof, but you might also have to repair the ceilings and walls below it.

Another problem that often occurs with old roofs is water damage. This can cause the wood in your roof to rot, which can lead to even more leaks. Water damage can also cause mold to grow, which is not only dangerous but can also be very expensive to get rid of.

If your home has an old roof, it’s a good idea to get it inspected by a professional before putting it on the market. You might need to replace the roof altogether, and that can be a costly project.

Roof installation on a brick home


While it’s fairly difficult to tell how old your home actually is, these factors will give you a good hint as to whether your house needs some work. A professional contractor can help you out and determine the real scope of work that needs to be done on your home so you can enjoy a fully functional estate.

Note: To fix most of the issues we talked about, you’ll need building permits and local building inspector visits.

We recommend you prioritize what’s the most important project, and start from there. For example, if the roof is falling apart, get a roofing contractor. If the drywalls are in dire need of a repair, hire a home repair contractor.

Here at Mortise & Miter we specialize in bathroom and kitchen remodels, but we have no problem taking on other remodeling jobs as well. We’re dedicated to our craft and our goal is ultimately the same: give you a fully functional and aesthetic space you can enjoy.

Call us today at (913) 214-6211 or request your free quote now!