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The pitfalls of buying a balloon-framed house

Ray Wilson's picture
ballon-framed house

Many people do not realize negative things that are typical for certain homes based on the original year of construction. Homes built in the 1920's through the early 1940's are usually balloon framed, and these homes, although are good homes if maintained, have certain drawbacks

Meticulous Home Inspection has,inspected many of these homes, but rarely are they insulated. Exterior walls as you likely know must be insulated, and older homes that are balloon framed are not. This is normal for this type of home.

No drywall exists in these homes unless renovated, and original plaster walls can develop cracks due to settlement. These homes typically have lead based paint as well, and repairing surfaces with lead paint can be hazardous unless you really known what you are doing.

Many of these homes have inefficient single paned windows, and inspectors typically recommended updating them. Staircases are usually narrow, and staircases 24 inches in width is hazardous during a fire if many people are panicking to leave when a fire breaks out - especially in the middle of the night.

Windows are not allowed along the side of a staircase, or at a landing. But we often see staircases with large windows at the base of the stairs, and people have been cut up due to damaged glass, and, although rarely, others have fallen out windows.

Basement stairwells are also too narrow, too steep, and headroom is too low, but again its normal for an old house.

If you are purchasing a balloon framed house, call Meticulous Home Inspection Corp as we are experts in old homes, and can inform you on whats a big deal, whats not, and what needs updating.

Ray Wilson, president of Meticulous Home Inspection Corporation, covers Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the 5 boroughs of NYC, and would be happy to answer any of your questions related to this blog, or home inspection in general. Please call 631-902-6761 or go to

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