The Century Home Specialists

For a quarter of a century, Safe Homes Canada has been climbing over and crawling under century homes. That level of experience facilitates ‘knowing’ what might be in the home; things such as knob and tube wiring, galvanized water supply pipes, bat guano, four or five types of asbestos, rotted structural wood, enormous bee’s nests, crumbling foundations, live, exposed power feeds, charred rafters from a fire. The list is extensive.

Imagine having to assess the charred and augmented structure shown here on your first day as a home inspector!!

Many people who are selling their homes tell us all the knob and tube wiring has been removed; but we often find live wiring remains. You simply need to know where to look.


Andy Christie personally inspects about 250 century homes per year, from Kingston to Windsor, Niagara on the Lake to Muskoka.

The simple goal is to prevent surprises for our buyers. They must know everything within the building that will cost them money. Most people that own older homes do not even know they have asbestos on their ducts or pipes, or in their attic.

We know where to look. t is sometimes necessary to move furniture, boxes and/or floor boards in old attics to find hidden vermiculite. Unfortunately, many inspectors do not feel it is their job to ‘move things’ or remove covers to facilitate a thorough investigation.

Andy has gone through a few knives over the years. Many inspectors and others think cameras tell the whole story, but it takes poking and prodding to assess wood members, especially at basement and crawlspace floor assemblies.

Sometimes it is necessary to crawl over rubble, over animal droppings, through tunnels.

Experience has taught us about the sources of odours in homes. Leaving rotted wood in place, for example, can produce a noxious odour. It is very difficult to assess health concerns relating to various odours in old buildings, but executing a thorough inspection process will reveal all possible sources of odour, and a set of strategies to promote healthy indoor air.

Our civil engineering technology background/education is a huge benefit, as we can recommend basic structural remediation and improvement work ‘on the fly’, and we tend not to panic over the things we find. Recommendations relating to work that will help preserve structures well into the future are an integral part of the century home inspection process.

Structural Integrity

Most older homes include damaged wood and/or informal structural configurations.

One of the most common misconceptions about older homes is that water entry is normal. The truth is, once you eliminate the water entry points, and transport surface water effectively away from the building, water entry is usually eliminated.

Do not ask the guy who owns a backhoe if your need to dig around your home and do weeping tile work!!

Hold Your Breath!

When buyers are interviewing potential inspectors, they should ask if the inspector is going to move all the way through the attic, or just look from the top of a ladder, which is not acceptable in our opinion. Many problems will be missed from the top of a ladder.