Funny...I spent the day ripping out rotten wood - I'm talking rotten framing, which was beneath rotten sheathing, which was beneath rotten siding, which was beneath the dumbest quantity of caulk anybody has ever used to do anything - no more than 27 years old, and then tonight I was given an entirely intact transom that dates back to 1882. The 1882 thing is whole, not counting some minor damage from it being knocked over by a GIANT piece of equipment (but the glass didn't even break!), and the stuff built in 1989 is absolute garbage.
The stuff we've been dealing with - the thing built in 1989 - couldn't have been done more improperly. Anytime you see caulk (and duct tape, no BS) used by the gallon, odds are good it's hiding some janky workmanship. In this particular case, the framing was way, WAY wrong structurally, there was zero air/water barrier on the outside of the wall sheathing, the flashing was all a complete joke, and not a lot of things were actually held in place by anything more than hopes and prayers. We're getting paid to replace that giant bunch of nonsense.
After work I swung by the 1882 house being demo'd - the owner alerted me to another lumber stash - and bumped into the owner. She didn't want to see the door jamb from one of the entry doors get buried in the debris, so she gave it to me. For free. Like I said before, not counting the minor stuff caused by a giant machine knocking it to the ground, the entire door jam was largely intact, including glass (it's all kindsa wavy and has traces of 27 different layers of paint on it) that is either original, or...original. Has to be. Anyways, that was pretty nice of the owner.
It never ceases to amaze me: the people that built stuff generations ago took so much pride in their work (or really appreciated the fact that they had a job, or both) that the stuff, even with the most minimal of maintenance, is borderline bulletproof. This exterior door jamb survived for 134 years because it wasn't held together with tape and caulk; every joint is such a good fit that nobody needed to use that stuff.
And the crap we're tearing out on the current project, that was built in 1989, it's absolute garbage. The entire rear wall of a 2-story house, including the 2-story deck, all of it...complete trash.
Hopefully it'll be 134 years before somebody has to replace the stuff we're replacing the 1989 construction with.