House Inspection Checklist-Canada

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  • Check for any sign of water damage/infiltration.
  • If you see a dehumidifier or sump pump, find out why.
  • If you have bedrooms in the basement, there needs to be an escape route other than the stairs. How big are the windows?
  • From the outside, about a foot of the basement will be visible. Cracks in the basement or signs of patching should act as a warning flag.


  • Average roof has a life expectancy of about 15 years.
  • If the shingles are curling, you need to replace them.
  • Look in the attic for any signs of water.
  • The roofing nails may be visible. Check them for rust.


  • "Popcorn" ceilings are common. This material is a type of spray-on stucco. It's cheap and quick to install.
  • Difficult to clean.
  • Can be removed easily by wetting and scraping.

Boiler or furnace

  • Check on them for dates of manufacture and service records.

Water heater

  • Usually found in the basement
  • Lasts about ten years.
  • Check for rust.
  • A hole the size of a pin can cost thousands.


  • There is usually a date stamp on the frame between the panes.
  • They have a lifespan of about 15 years.
  • In most of Canada, double glazing is the minimum standard for windows.


  • If the place has urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, run.
  • If the place has asbestos insulation, run.


  • Many places built in the late 1960s have aluminium wiring (aluminum, as Canadians say).
  • Copper was very expensive at the time.
  • Aluminium is perfectly OK as a conductor, but it's hard to work with. Best avoided.
  • See Electrical Wiring FAQs : Aluminum Wiring.
  • Old houses have knob and tube wiring. Avoid a house that still has knob and tube wiring, as it is extremely expensive to replace.

Gutters (eavestroughs)

  • Look at the undersides.
  • If they are spotted/dirty, odds are that they are blocked and water has overflowed.
  • Some of that water may have found its way into the walls. Not good.

Signs of DIY

  • Canadians are big on DIY.
  • Many are not very good at it.
  • When you look at things, like plumbing and electrics, ask yourself if it looks like the work has been done by someone who knows what they are doing.

Related information

You also may want to consult Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Home Inspection Checklist.

It also would be prudent to read the other BE Wiki articles in the series on Housing in Canada.