Housing in China

I guess because I spend so much of my workday looking at and thinking about housing materials and construction, I tend to notice these sorts of things wherever I go. So when I went to China earlier this year to visit my son and grandson, the following things stand out.

Most people in cities big and small live in apartment buildings. Individual residence homes are pretty rare.

Clay tiles are pretty much the standard roofing material used on most buildings.

While you can find central heating in the halls and the larger stores, you will not find it in the residences. At home, people have individual AC / Heater units in as many rooms as they can afford.

In the northeast, it's common to see radiators instead of these freestanding units, but the radiators are not self-regulated. The whole building is turned up, down, on or off together.

They do not have hot water heaters that store hot water for use. They have gas heaters that heat water on demand.

In the big cities, most people have washing machines, but few have dryers. They hang their clothes out their apartment windows to dry, often on bamboo poles. You can walk around almost anywhere and anytime and see clothes hanging everywhere … even from the newest apartment buildings.

Carpet is very rare, and even rugs are not used much. In residences the floor is generally wood. In schools, it's usually just concrete.

If you buy a new apartment / house in China, it's usually unfinished. You buy a space with concrete floors, walls and ceilings, with holes in the concrete where toilets and sinks should go. The rest is your responsibility.