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Old 02-24-2017, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Round Rock, Texas
12,012 posts, read 11,825,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Quality and especially craftsmanship have decayed since about the 1950s. Craftsmen were replaced with production line type workers. No more carpenters, now we have nail gun operators. However technological advances have made up for a lot of deficiencies in materials, methods and cost cutting.

Which is the worst decade depends on what you want to look at. Worst for foundations, water control and the like? Probably around the 1880 or 1890s when they were building houses fast and furious but lacked technology related to drainage we have today.

Worst decade for surviving a tornado or hurricane? Take your pick from 1970 - today.

Worst decade for houses that will last past the typical mortgage? again you get to pick, late 1980s through the early 2000s.

Lumber for example has gotten weaker and less reliable since the 1930s. I was told compared to an old growth yellow pine true sized 2x4, many modern forced grown pine of fir 2x4s have less than 1/100s the strength. But they are propped up by advances in engineering, truss construction, panels, and other things.

Fire protection has made major advances, yet lightweight construction (trusses) often used in smaller hotels and similar buildings are so dangerous in a fire some fire protection agencies have special rules for entry (which mostly translate to "don't enter").

Old balloon framed homes that do not have fire stops or fire retardant insulation added, can have fire jump between floors in a second or two. Plaster is stronger, and more fire resistant than drywall, especially the new 3/8" drywall used in cheaply built homes.

Newer homes built with steel studs and framing are very durable and resistant to fire, wind, pretty much anything. Concrete panel construction is great in all situations except maybe earthquakes.

On the other hand, Balloon framing is stronger against certain types of loads (like wind). Log cabins are extremely durable but dangerous in an earthquake and require regular maintenance.

New homes are sealed up tight and leave you re-breathing the same air, collect moisture, enhance mold growth. Older homes allow more air infiltration, breathe, but they are harder to heat and cool.

One difference is that the existing older homes are mostly the ones that have survived catastrophes. The poorly build ones are gone. While not universally true, it tends to be generally true. Newer homes are mostly poorly built and are intentionally designed to last no more than 30 years before they need replacing, but there are some exemplary custom homes, high tech materials and nethods etc that will last 100 years.

There really is no way to answer the question, except to say "it depends" .
Uh, our home and the homes built in our neighborhood are either 30 or pushing 30 (constructed in the late 80s, early 90s) and obviously, have lasted (and continue to last) beyond a 30 year mortgage. The wood used for the framing in our house is basically flawless even after 28 years and I don't see that changing anytime soon unless we don't keep up our end of the maintenance bargain. The houses weren't cheaply contructed then and it shows. As for catastrophies, we live in Texas, catastrophe central and again the home has held up with fine colors. It'd be nice if you wouldn't make such a blanket statement.
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
392 posts, read 1,385,821 times
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In FL, and much of the south, I would say the houses built during the go-go 2000 years are ones to avoid. In particular, watch out for the drywall. There was a big scandal during that time where imported drywall contained toxic chemicals that would leech out and eventually destroy plumbing and cause health problems. Drywall inspection closing cost fees now exist.

Some houses built during the early to mid 80's used some questionable materials, such as polybutylene plumbing. Most houses have had that replaced by now, although I think you still find it.

I would imagine the houses built after the crash are of better quality. The trend shifted towards more expensive luxury.
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Old 02-25-2017, 06:03 AM
 
12,966 posts, read 10,114,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePRU View Post
I would agree with your agent. Homes built in MA in the 80's were generally of poor quality. Many houses into the 90's were not much better.
Gets my vote, too. They were slinging them up right and left, often using construction debris for fill under the slab which is such a no-no. The companies that inject stabilizing, hardening foam under slabs must be making the bulk of their fortune on homes built in the 80's.
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Old 02-25-2017, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
15,296 posts, read 14,706,525 times
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The newer a house is the better it is. There were a lot of really poor building practices in the last century. Clay or concrete tile drain lines were one of the worst choices, followed by cast iron with leaded joints. ADS plastic drains last forever and never clog. Galvanized pipe gave way to copper, which gave way to PEX, which is essentially immortal. Building codes mandated things like hurricane clips to keep the roof from flying away, ventilation in attics and crawl spaces, adequate insulation and rebar and UFER grounds in the foundation.

If you find a house that is 50 years old in great shape, it's because somebody spent a small fortune on upgrades and repairs. My house was built 45 years ago. I bought it 22 years ago. The bozo who built it never nailed off the siding. Large areas of the attic had no insulation at all. The windows were single pane aluminum frame sliders. All the floors squeaked because they used nails instead of screws to hold the subfloor down. All those deficiencies and more have been fixed, to the tune of about $70,000. When I am dead and gone, somebody will walk in and spout, "They don't build them like they used to."
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Old 02-25-2017, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
36,933 posts, read 64,282,078 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
The newer a house is the better it is. There were a lot of really poor building practices in the last century. Clay or concrete tile drain lines were one of the worst choices, followed by cast iron with leaded joints. ADS plastic drains last forever and never clog. Galvanized pipe gave way to copper, which gave way to PEX, which is essentially immortal. Building codes mandated things like hurricane clips to keep the roof from flying away, ventilation in attics and crawl spaces, adequate insulation and rebar and UFER grounds in the foundation.

If you find a house that is 50 years old in great shape, it's because somebody spent a small fortune on upgrades and repairs. My house was built 45 years ago. I bought it 22 years ago. The bozo who built it never nailed off the siding. Large areas of the attic had no insulation at all. The windows were single pane aluminum frame sliders. All the floors squeaked because they used nails instead of screws to hold the subfloor down. All those deficiencies and more have been fixed, to the tune of about $70,000. When I am dead and gone, somebody will walk in and spout, "They don't build them like they used to."
"Immortal" is a big word... Check PEX for Zurn QPEX fittings and corrosion.

4O1A4106 by Mike Jaquish, on Flickr

4O1A4112 by Mike Jaquish, on Flickr
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Old 02-25-2017, 07:50 AM
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Location: Ontario
7,473 posts, read 5,532,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePRU View Post
I would agree with your agent. Homes built in MA in the 80's were generally of poor quality. Many houses into the 90's were not much better.
Here in Toronto area, I would say 80s were the worst.

The last half of the 80s was a housing boom ....builders could not get enough qualified trades,
quality went downhill, crooked walls, etc....

1990s a bit better, housing boom over for most of that decade.
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Old 02-25-2017, 07:52 AM
 
2,890 posts, read 3,749,893 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FalconheadWest View Post
In Dallas, the 2000's are the worst construction. The 80's were built very well. The early 90's have some 80's influence, and the rest of the 90's is ok, but once 2000 hit and the boom was going on, those houses are glued together and much worse construction than earlier.
It is similar here. Prior to 2000, houses were well constructed for the most part. The 80's were very well built. Then the early 2000's came along with large scale homebuilders and illegal immigrants with little knowledge or experience. The goal became to pass inspection as cheaply as possible. Passing inspections does not remotely mean the house is well built or constructed of quality materials. The houses being built now are basically site built mobile homes.

If you want a well built house these days, you have to hire a local custom homebuilder and it will cost you probably at least 20% more compared to buying a tract home.
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Old 02-25-2017, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Williamsburg, VA
3,551 posts, read 2,164,016 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riaelise View Post
Uh, our home and the homes built in our neighborhood are either 30 or pushing 30 (constructed in the late 80s, early 90s) and obviously, have lasted (and continue to last) beyond a 30 year mortgage. The wood used for the framing in our house is basically flawless even after 28 years and I don't see that changing anytime soon unless we don't keep up our end of the maintenance bargain. The houses weren't cheaply contructed then and it shows. As for catastrophies, we live in Texas, catastrophe central and again the home has held up with fine colors. It'd be nice if you wouldn't make such a blanket statement.
LOL, I remember having conversations like that back in the 60s. We would sit around in our rundown student housing, judging the homes being built down the street, and making snide remarks like "Planned obsolescence, man! In ten years all those homes will be falling apart, man! And the man will be coming by and tearing 'em down and something new will have to be built. Because NOTHING being built these days is any good, man. It's all developers making money, man!"

Fifty years later, google maps show me the homes are still there and as far as I can tell, still look in good shape. Man.
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Old 02-25-2017, 12:10 PM
 
609 posts, read 1,590,524 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrewsburried View Post
It's all relative.

I'm in MA and build quality varies within every decade. The 1980's seems to have a lower quality because more homes were built, no different than the post war capes/ranches ... they built them fast and cheap to satisfy middle class demand. This said, there are plenty of 1970's/80's/90's homes in MA that were built to a very high standard, but they are a minority.

Also, tread carefully. My parents late 50's home was built to an incredibly high standard and is, from a construction standpoint, superior to my 1980's home. 12" spacing on joists, solid old growth subfloors, plaster walls, beautiful masonry work, 16" foundation, etc. It's a beautiful home. This said, they likely spend 40% more energy costs for home a 800sqft less space than I do for my home, which has cathedral ceilings and tons massive casements with failed seals.

Can you explain why this is so? Is it because of technical advances in materials? And why are the casements leaking, and why doesn't that run up your energy bill?
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Old 02-25-2017, 12:31 PM
 
Location: North West Arkansas (zone 6b)
2,778 posts, read 2,452,822 times
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While there hasn't been that much progress in the materials in constructing a home, there have been advances in computer design for the homes. home builders are forced to use new growth because all the old growth has been basically cut down and or no longer available.

In the past, a home had to be overbuilt to ensure it didn't fall down but today, the framing can be as strong or stronger with less parts.

Engineered lumber, different fasteners also add to increased strength and easier builds.

my current home built in 2013 is so much better built and much more engery efficient than my last home built in 1962
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