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How Long Do You Want Your New House To Last?

A house will fail many years before you will likely be able to tell that it does. Many people think that their house will last longer than it actually serves its primary role: as a shelter that creates a healthy indoor environment and protects them from the hazards outside. Are you one of those people?

If you're only several years or so away from an empty nest, it's a good time to think about what your house will be like 30-40 years from now. It's understandable for anyone in the Vancouver area, Lower Mainland, or even up on BC's Sunshine Coast where health and energy efficiency are high priorities with most of the population, to hope that designing a brand new house is an investment whose return will pay off for decades. Well, yes you get 20-30 years before a typical house starts to fail noticeably. Little more than that. Although a typical 30-year-old house has not fallen to pieces or crumbled to the ground, the whistling or howling on a windy day or the cold draft blowing on our neck tells you that the lower-quality doors and windows are leaking more air now.

illustration of an eclectic old house precariously stacked and showing signs of deterioration

The house is likely already to have started leaking condensation into the structure and fostered the growth of mold and the rotting of the structural elements. In your eighties, you and your deck chair have got more important things to do than constantly fixing little things that are starting to fall apart or phoning around again for quotes on your third roof replacement since that big hailstorm last winter. Those power bills to run the AC keeping you going through the heatwaves are getting crazy, and how bad will the damage to your house be after a wildfire tears through your neighbourhood? If you want to leave something valuable behind for the kids when you're gone, you need to consider an ultra high- performance house - the UltraHome™.

One of the key characteristics of an UltraHome™ is DURABILITY. Do you want a house that is basically a teardown at 30-40 years old, or do you want a house that's still solid and tight as a drum and ready for another 40-50 years without needing a total renovation?

illustration of a wooden giant heroically standing between dilapidated, abandoned wooden houses

In addition to highly-detailed technical documentation that my Deep Blue Design process creates, these three factors are the biggest contributors to durability of a house's construction:

  1. Airtightness: Air moving through the walls and roof of a house carry moisture and lead to mold and rot that attack the structure and endanger the people inside.

  2. Continuous Thermal Insulation: This protects the building structure from impacts of outdoor temperature swings and avoids condensation in the walls and roof.

  3. High-strength Weathering Exterior Materials: Stone, cement board products, and certain metals make excellent siding and roofing because they withstand harsh weather without suffering noticeable deterioration.

How can you achieve airtightness and continuous insulation in your house? Exactly what materials are good for high strength and weather resistance? When you book a free Diagnostic Session with me using the button below, I will explain how my SAPPHR Strategy™ design process includes these three factors in a renovation or the design of your new house and matches them - and others - to your needs and priorities.

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