I must say that I do find some of the answers interesting. It’s always interesting to see those outside the building trades are thinking.
Fact of the matter is that many people won’t have to worry about their modern-built homes in 20–30 years because they’re going to be completely shot and in need of total overhaul or tear-down anyway. Thanks to a combination of utterly stupid Government mandated “Codes” written by people with little to no experience in the building trades and certainly by people seriously lacking common sense, as well as the shoddy workmanship and materials.
All the time I see houses that are “built to Code” and falling apart at less than ten years old! OSB roof decking and wall sheathing that got wet one or two times while the house was being built and has been rotting ever since from the retained moisture. Tile shower and tub walls installed with no plywood backer under the cement board and no second-layer moisture/water protection causing massive rot and mold issues from the minor grout cracks that often go unnoticed by the home owner. Which brings me to the next point of Code-mandated utility nonsense like anti-scald and anti-siphon valves which have a definite lifespan yet they’re buried inside walls and floors where they will leak for months or years before the damage is seen and at that point it’s going to be extremely extensive. Second part of the utilities is Code mandating “just enough” and “do it the same way” electric without considering the future and contingencies. Every single home I enter the electric panel is maxed out and to add just one more circuit requires a lot of labor and expense installing a sub-panel; typically $2000+ purely for the lack of installing a larger panel or additional panels from the start which would cost less than $400 if done at the build stage. Plumbing planning is just as horrid as electrical since there’s never any thought applied to necessary repairs and replacements, let alone future changes.
Of course all of that is pretty much inconsequential when the lack of proper footers and foundations is going to make the house worthless anyway … and then when we move up in concrete block walls it gets even worse as there’s no use of soft-joints anymore so when the improperly constructed but “built to Code” slab, footer and foundation crack, the cracks propagate through the walls creating serious structural integrity losses as well as gaping holes for bugs and water to enter that are extremely costly to properly repair. Here’s a great example of an “engineered” concrete block house being “built to Code” yet being built so absolutely WRONG!
Take note of the V-shape footer that is not only the most wrong shape one can use but it’s also not deep enough. Also note the complete lack of proper steel reinforcement which means the slab and insufficient footers are going to crack and move, they’re going to take the concrete block walls with them because the walls are foolishly set on the slab rather than directly on their own footing. Another primary issue is the lack of tie-beam footers under the slab that will also help mitigate cracking and movement. I can assure you that before this house is done, cracking of the concrete will have already started. Furthermore, when it’s done, you will find that there was no consideration given to installing the proper HVAC ductwork, it will be cheap flex-duct with massive airflow and energy losses that also impossible to properly clean. There will be no consideration given to proper air handler location for ease of maintenance, and definitely no consideration given to allowing addition room for future changes when the system needs to be replaced in 5–10 years. No conduits or raceways will be installed to allow for electrical changes that will be necessary as time goes on. As you can see the majority of the plumbing is poured into the slab so when it cracks and moves enough, the pipes will be sheared causing severe leaks and massive damage, most importantly erosion damage which will require repair operations costing half as much of what the house cost to build. Most certainly the rest of the ticking plumbing time bomb will be buried inside the walls and behind cabinets so by the time the inevitable leaks are discovered, the mass of destruction and mold will likely result in gutting of the entire house … at which point the rest of the improper construction will be realized and the house will be torn down because it’s pointless to repair. No doubt the roof will be decked with OSB, covered with plastic and either shingled or metal put down over lath which will not be properly treated for the inevitable condensation exposure, nor will there be a secondary layer of insulating material applied to the decking to reduce both condensation events and attic space heating. Certainly the roof will also lack sufficient ventilation and if metal is used, I can guarantee it will lack ventilated bug-blocking material at the eaves and ridges. The bathrooms will lack planning for future changes such as installing a walk-in tub or grab bars. All of this happens because “Code” doesn’t require it and the “modern builders” and “modern architects” aren’t going to expend an ounce of effort to do the job correctly, they only do what is minimally necessary.
Yes, this is the tyrannical Government building Codes at work creating unsustainable temporary housing that will likely result in you becoming the next termite, ant, toxic mold or bankruptcy victim. So don’t be worried about what will be in or out of style in 20–30 years because more than likely your house won’t be there anyway.