How old is too old?

3 Replies

No, I'm not talking about people. I'm talking about wood frame houses. I am new to all this and have been looking at various turnkey wood frame SFR's built in the 1950s and 1960s (before that scares me). I have never lived in a house that old. I know it's case-by-case and depends on the construction, but in general, at what age does your typical wood frame house in a climate like, say, Indianapolis start giving significantly more trouble than it did, say, 10 years prior?

actually wood frame structures never go bad as long as they have stayed dry. Wood is an amazing product. Even wood that has some weathering, it is only skin deep. Cut the board and the wood is basically virgin on the inside. The key is no water damage. 

I own a bunch of houses built from the 1920's to the 50's

@Logan Allec   I bought a house in July built in 1920.  It is almost 100 years old.  The wood is in better shape than the cement.  The basement is looking pretty rough, but if it has lasted 100 years I am thinking I can get another 20 out of it.  I also strongly agree with @Arlan Potter water is the enemy of landlords.  Tenants are always to call me if they discover water.  Ceiling damage, floor damage, insulation damaged, you name it, find it wet and fix it and you are ok, let it sit and serious dollars must be spent.

As long as the building envelope (roof, walls, windows, doors) have been relatively water tight since the house was built and not allowed any mold or rot to set in, the wood will last for centuries.  A good inspector will have a moisture detector and can point out any water trapped in behind walls, which could indicate potential mold or rot issues.  Of course the other enemy of wood is termites which can severely diminish the structural integrity of wood in no time.  

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