The Future of Housing

by | Dec 27, 2018

Housing construction sure has changed a lot over the last, oh, say, hundred years!

(Yes, we know the blog is titled the future of housing. Just hang with us for a minute or two here.)

If you’ve ever been house hunting anywhere with both older and newer neighborhoods, you’ve probably been able to see some of these changes up close! Even in a home that’s been updated and remodeled many times, you can usually tell the rough age of a home just by how it’s laid out:

  • Boxy four square, two stories with a big front porch, common areas on the ground level, hard wood floors, bedrooms upstairs? You’re probably in something built before WWII, maybe the 20s or 30s.
  • Sprawling one-story ranches with attached garages, relatively open common areas, and bedrooms all on one side? Those were ubiquitous in the 50s and 60s—almost nine out of ten new homes were constructed in the style in these decades.
  • Have a home built with the last decade or two? There’s a good chance it’s an open concept with no significant separation between common spaces (including the kitchen), large windows, flexible rooms, finished basement, etc.

Insulation—a topic near and dear to our hearts—has also changed a lot. A hundred years ago, if homes were insulated at all, they might have used simple wood shavings, mineral wool, or even crumpled-up newspaper!

Asbestos was a common material used in insulation for mid-century homes—until the health risks associated with it became public knowledge in the 1970s.

And it wasn’t really until this century when building and construction codes starting to get serious about making sure homes were properly insulated to what we consider “modern” standards.

Worker with construction tools

So, what does the future look like?

While we see most of today’s housing construction trends lasting for a while yet, a lot of interesting changes might not be too far down the road—spurred on by changing lifestyle preferences, technological advances, affordable housing shortages, and all kinds of other factors.

For example, we’re already starting to see the “Tiny House” movement finding a small but passionate (and growing) audience. More and more current homeowners are looking into building accessory dwelling units on their property to house adult children, aging parents, or even renters for some extra income.

And how about rapidly developing 3D printing technology and modular construction techniques? These approaches may make it possible to build and “assemble” full size homes much faster and cheaper than ever before, with reduced waste and environmental impact.

One thing we don’t see changing anytime soon? The need to keep your living space cool in summer, warm in winter, without paying an arm and a leg for the privilege!

And we’re here to help you with that—whether you’re building the home of your dreams or purchasing an older home. At RetroFoam of Southwest MI, we carry a wide variety of foam insulation products ideal for both new construction and for retrofitting existing structures.

Foam insulation offers huge advantages over traditional fiberglass batting and other insulation materials, for a variety of reasons—not just its superior performance at blocking heat transfer, but also its role in reducing air infiltration, resisting pets and mold, and even dampening irritating sounds.

One other advantage of foam that’s especially relevant to this discussion? It lasts. Unlike fiberglass, which sags, compresses, and loses its effectiveness over time, foam will retain its shape and maintain near installation-level performance for decades. That makes it a smart and safe investment even as housing trends and construction technology change!

(It’ll also save you a lot of money, especially if you’re planning to stay in your current home a long time.)

So if your current home is drafty and costing you lots of money to heat and cool—or you’re building a new house and want to make sure it has high quality, highly affordable insulation—makes sure you give RetroFoam of Southwest Michigan a call today for a free estimate!