Wellington has such a mix of homes. We have put a list of the eras plus a few things to look out for and get checked when buying. Alternatively when selling great to have these things checked and if required fixed prior to coming to the market.
Villas were the most popular new home design in New Zealand from the 1860s through to World War 1.
The first Victorian villas were built completely with native timber, NZ villas were generally single storey detached buildings, although two-storey villas were common in affluent suburbs and parts of Wellington where land was scarce. With decorated verandas, high ceilings, small windows and wide hallways, they have been a part of Kiwi life for generations. It can be said though that the villa was built for appearances, meaning that there was more thought put into how it looked from the outside instead of how it functioned inside for the occupants themselves.
The Bungalow (1910s - 1930s)
By the early 1920s, the bungalow was the predominant style of house being built in New Zealand. Bungalows are common in most parts of Auckland and similar to villas, they can require a lot of hard work and love to restore them to their former glory.
With solid bones and a classic style, they're a popular choice and are unlikely to go out of fashion.
- Foundations - piles, surface water and borer
- Cladding + Windows - timber and paint condition
- Services - re-plumbing, rewiring - very important for insurance
- Interior - any scrim still in the walls - very important for insurance
- Roof - Condition of it and if it has been replaced
The Art Deco (1930s & 1940s)
Art deco or moderne houses first appeared towards the end of the depression in the early 1930s and lasted until after World War 2. The style signalled a move away from the ornate villas of the early 20th Century and the casual bungalows of the 1920s.
Art deco houses are recognised for their unique character and heritage. Because of their age, renovated art deco homes are common.
- Flat roofs and parapets - moisture and watertightness issues
- Stucco cladding - cracks are extremely common and there are now suitable products for repairing and sealing
The State House (1940 - 1960s)
In the late 1930’s, the Labour government embarked on a building programme to address the critical housing shortage in New Zealand. The aim was to provide good quality housing for workers, built to a high standard. The first state house built under the new Labour Government was ready in 1937. The following war years and shortages of materials and labour severely restricted the government’s ability to continue to build state houses. The same restrictions influenced private housing construction in the 1940’s, so the majority of private houses built during this time looked very similar to those built under the government scheme.
Houses built during this period were heavily influenced by a range of economic and political factors, and by the 1960s, a 'New Zealand style' had started to emerge. This legacy remains a distinctive feature of the New Zealand housing scene today.
- Rubber wiring
- Galvanised plumbing can start rusting from the inside seen often with brown water coming through taps
The Seventies House (1970s)
The 1970s saw a variety of different housing styles emerge, such as 'colonial', 'ranch', 'Mediterranean' and 'contemporary'. Regulatory changes around insulation, a reduction in the availability of flat sites and new construction methods also influenced the types of houses that were built during this period.
Many 1970s houses have been renovated and expanded over time to accommodate bigger families. Structurally, they are often said to have 'good bones' and are a popular choice for families and those looking for open plan, multi-use, adaptable spaces
Insulation in ceilings, walls and floor became mandatory for new builds and additions in 1978. Glass fibre, polyester, polystyrene, wool and paper are all used for insulation in New Zealand. Home insulation in New Zealand can be heavily subsidised by the government.
- Dux quest - plumbing
- Aluminium windows
- Asbestos - textured ceilings
- Asbestos claddings
- Asbestos stopped 1985
Typical features of the 1980s house include:
- hipped or gabled roofs – typically roof slope less than 20o
- a wide variety of roofing and wall cladding materials
- narrow eaves
- large aluminium-framed windows
- typically a concrete floor slab, particleboard to upper floors
- some insulation when built – insulation was required from 1978
- stud height was typically 2.4 metres
- mechanical ventilation sometimes provided in bathrooms or kitchens
- plasterboard internal linings
- concrete floor slabs or particleboard suspended floors.
Regular maintenance required on 1980s houses includes:
- cleaning and checking the external cladding, and recoating if necessary. See the guide for external wall maintenance
- cleaning and checking the roof cladding, and recoating if necessary. See the guide for roof maintenance
- ensuring gutters and downpipes are kept clear of leaves and other debris. If necessary, prune back any tree branches that grow over the house.
- hipped or gabled roofs – roof slope typically 15–30o
- a wide variety of roofing and wall cladding materials and styles – monolithic cladding became common
- often no eaves
- larger aluminium-framed windows
- waterproof decks
- typically a concrete floor slab, particleboard to upper floors
- insulated (walls and roof)
- stud height was typically 2.4–2.7 metres
- mechanical ventilation provided in bathrooms and kitchens
- plasterboard internal linings.
Regular maintenance required on 1990s houses includes:
- clean and check the external cladding, and recoat if necessary. See the guide for external wall maintenance
- clean and check the roof cladding, and recoat if necessary. See the guide for roof maintenance
- ensure gutters and downpipes are kept clear of leaves and other debris. If necessary, prune back any tree branches that grow over the house
Depending on construction methods and materials, maintenance may also include:
- ensuring that wall cavity ventilation holes remain clear
- checking visible sealant joints and face seal coatings, cleaning and repairing/recoating as necessary
- checking flashings, such as the head flashings above windows, to ensure that water is not getting behind the cladding
- inspecting roof flashings and membranes.
Some homes built in this period had materials, construction methods and design elements that did not prove to be weathertight. There are cases where the leaks and subsequent damage did not become visible until years after the construction was complete.
More details: https://www.maintainingmyhome.org.nz/maintenance-guides