Common Problems With Newcastle’s Terrace Houses

Common Problems With Newcastle's Terrace Houses image

Suburbs bordering Newcastle CBD like Newcastle East, The Hill and Cooks Hill are home to a fine collection of Victorian terrace houses. These three and two-storey terrace houses are a powerful reminder of Newcastle’s rich history and much work has gone into maintaining their integrity.

There are common problems found in Victorian terrace houses and using an experienced inspector that knows the area is incredibly important.  Only the buyer can weigh up whether these issues outshine the incredibly rewarding feeling that goes into owning a part of Newcastle’s history. In order to make that decision, a Building and Pest Inspection is vital.

Structural Problems

If you’ve decided to purchase a terrace house, you must be aware that you’ll also be sharing a wall or two. It’s important to be aware of any structural problems with your neighbouring terraces as their problem may affect you over time.


Damp is a common problem with many older homes but due to the lack of ventilation and heat circulation in terraces, the problem is often amplified. Damp can enter from the ground up or from the roof down and can cause mould to flourish, mortar to crumble, render to fall off and structural timbers to rot. These rotting timbers often attract pests so a Building and Pest inspection are necessary before buying a terrace house.


A cast-iron verandah is a lovely accompaniment to any terrace, however, they tend to be on the heavy side and after many years of putting pressure on load-bearing structures, they can become unusable.

Roofing Issues

Crumbling chimneys and soot build up in fireplaces and roofs becomes more of an issue in terrace houses as they are often more difficult to maintain than a detached house. The older galvanised iron roofs found on terrace houses can also prove a problem as they rust and cause leakages.

Foundation Issues

Terrace houses are typically built low to the ground which can cause quite a few problems, allowing access to the subfloor is just one of them. Pests like termites and wood borers are often attracted to the areas below terrace houses as ventilation is poor down there. It’s important to know what you’re dealing with by having a Pest and Building Inspection as you’ll need to be aware of any damage that has occurred.

Building Materials

Homes were built back in 1890 using much different products and methods than our houses today. The Victorians often used lead paints and arsenic was used for wood stains. You can also imagine that your old home has had many faces so it is good to be aware of any newer introduced building materials like asbestos.

These historic homes are now over 120 years old so it is incredibly important to be aware of past damage and also gain an understanding of how the building has been looked after overtime. If you want a period home with all the charming trimmings a Building and Pest Inspection is a must.

Photo by Michael Coghlan

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