Designing a Retirement House – Part 4 – Durability

Our retirement age clients usually want the same thing: a low-maintenance and durable house. Who wants to spend time on the roof or on a ladder doing maintenance or repairs? Designing a house that our clients’ can continue to age in means a durable shell and easy to clean materials and finishes that require little labor or cost to maintain. We look at the aspects of a house that we don’t intend to replace in the next 40 or so years and invest in them as high quality, efficient and durable components.
Controlling moisture is the first crucial step in building a durable home and it beginswith thoughtful site drainage techniques to keep surface and ground water away from the foundation. Durable roofing, large overhangs and quality windows and doors also protect the house while rot resistant siding and trim installed over a drainage plane provide a durableexterior shell that still allows the house to breath. Flashing details at roofs, windows and doors aren’t sexy, but are critical in achieving long term durability.
Decks can be high maintenance so using durable materials and protecting them with roofs help extend their lifespan. Alternatively, concrete or stone terraces require only minor maintenance and have a longerlifespan. Concrete, tile and hardwood floors are very durable and easy to clean interior materials. High-use components such as door and window hardware and plumbing fixtures also need to be durable. This palette of materials and design techniques provide a durable, low-maintenance and easy-to-clean home that can age gracefully with its owners.