Originally Posted by babigyrl5
wow, why did you prefer an older house?
For the most part, I would only consider an older house. One of the primary reasons is that is it unique, you do not find clusters of cookie cutter homes that look exactly alike in older neighborhoods. Almost all construction was custom. Older houses are more than just a home, they are a part of history. Our house was occupied by the first postmaster in our community. People lived in our house when the battle of the alamo was fought. Indians used to sit on our parlor floor and trade Maple syrup for sugar (and probably whisky). Part of our house was the temporary office for one of the first women doctors in our area. Lots of local drama occurred in our house. Hundreds, or maybe thousands of people have visited the house, walked though the house, and/or lived part of their lives there. To people who like history, it is awesome to live in such a place.
The construction in older houses is unique. You encounter some really neat things that you can find nowhere else. How many new houses come with a back stairway for servants (or children) to use? How common are dutch doors these days? Where can you find an old style fireplace that actually throws enough heat to heat the home? Laundry Chutes? Dumbwaiters? 18 inch molded baseboards? 6 inch molded natural wood door casings? Hardwood five or six panel doors? A large usable porch? A carriage house? 6 inch thick plaster walls? Hot water or steam radiators? Cross lighting in every room?
Older houses are stronger and last longer. Construciton and materials were much higher quality prior to the late 1960s when they began to mass produce homes like assembly line automobiles. Quality has continued to diminish. Modern lumber is pure garbage. They can no longer cut down older trees, to they use young trees that are forced to grow quickly. The have no strength. Drywall has been shaved so thin to cut costs that you can litereally walk right through the walls of a new house. Noise also passes right thourgh this stuff. Flake board which is ofetn used on place of plywood has very limited strength and does nto last very long, expecially if it gets wet. In tests, flying objects (like a board in a tornado) will go right through flakeboard and bounce off of plywood.
Modern houses are designed and built to last 30 years. Design and construciotn focusses on getting the most square footage for the cheapest dollar. No consideration is given to quality, durability or utility. They just want houses to look nice and last long ehough to sell them. Defects in construction are extremely common.
Older houses are unique and the architectural elements serve a purpose. Newer houses almost always have fake architectural elements and a mish mash of architectural styles. I do not like fake. If my house is partially sotne, it should be real stone and go all around the house, not just some hokey fake stone tacked on only tot he front of the house.
Some systems in modern houses are better some are worse. Insulation is generally better. Electrical wiring is consistently better. Plumbing piping is considerably better. Basement waterproofing techniques are considerably better. Airconditioning did nto exist in older homes so it has to be added.
Heating systems in older homes are better. Forced air is unhealthy and comparatively uncomfortable. It is used becuase it is cheaper than radiated heat. Hardwood floors are cleaner, healthier and prettier than carpeting. Carpeting is another bad idea in modern homes.
I far prefer antique light fixtures (rewired of course) and either antique or reproducton plumbing fixtures. Modern fixtures are generally balnd lack character and can be found in everyone elses house.
the older baloon framing is actually stronger in many ways than modern stick framing. However the old baloon framing allows fire to travel inside the walls between floors so you need either fire resistant insulation, or you should add firestops.
Modern construction is obsessed with safety issues. Some if it makes sense, some of it is absurd. They try to make every element of the house completely idiot proof. If you are not an idiot, you can live in an older house and enjoy more workable features (like firplaces that actually heat the house; pporches without railings where you can have a porch swing, if I had some hours I could think of more). Modern construciton is also geared toward privacy. Except in really high end modern houses, windows tend to be minimized in comparison, especially at the back of the house. I have never lived in a historic house that di dnto have cross lighting in every single room (except maybe some bathrooms and hallways. I prefer natural light over privacy.
So there are lots of reasons.
Old houses are a lot of work though. Generally the wiring and plumbing piping has to be replaced at some time. Maintanence can be more involved. Old houses are not for everyone. You need to be handy and you need to have some money to deal wiht problems from past deferred maintanence. New houses eventaully have even more problems from deferred maintenance, but not usually right away. However with an old house any major defects or problems have usually manifested and been corrected. New houses often have hidden dfects that only appear after several years.