I think that over the past 25-30 yrs, the quality of materials and products
has gone down - not just a little bit either. Anybody else seeing this?
I was musing that it seems like industrial engineers have found yet another
way to save us some time -- sell us products that we can buy, bring home,
unwrap and throw away. We no longer have to wear out the stuff we buy -
it's worthless right from the package! :-)
My observations as a homeowner AND part-time handyman....
Yes, "contractor grade" materials are worse than ever. Any crap that the
contractor can get away with is fine (with the contractor). If a contrator
can save 25 cents one something that will cost the homeowner $100 down the
line, it's better to save the 25 cents. "Contractor grade" tools are better
than average, though. Now that Home Depot and similar are almost the ONLY
place for consumers to get building materials, the "discount" is gone and
those stores have become merchandising centers rather than
do-it-yourself/discount centers. Some materials don't HAVE to be very good,
though, because the results are due more to craftsmanship, so you have to
learn what quality of what is sufficient.
I disagree. First there are some new products that are far better than
anything available 30 years ago. Next high quality products are available
today if you want to pay the price. After inflation the price for those
high quality products are no more than they were 30 years ago.
If you look around at thirty year old stuff, you will generally find
more quality than you will see in today's homes. I suggest two reasons for
that. First there is the choice made by builders and buyers for price over
quality. We all make that choice. Second is the survival of the fittest.
The cheapest built homes from 30 years ago are less likely to still be
around and those that are will have had much of the really cheap stuff
upgraded. Few people tear out quality materials to replace it with junk.
However many of us tear out cheap stuff to replace it with something better.
You must like all man made synthetic plastics with no life in it as a
building material. I live in a 10 year old custom built house. When I
go to today's show homes, it just turns me off. I don't want to have
another house built at any cost. Also not only material, the quality of
trades people are not upto par either. My house was built by an old
German carpenter. He hammered every single nail with his own hands. Never
even thinking about pneumatic nailers for an example. He is now retired.
Poor quality material plus bad attitude of most trades people, results in
poorly built structure with just good looking. I feel sorry for young
first time buyers who does not know much about house construction.
Old houses over 100 years still standing, do you think new houses they
build now will last even 50 years from now?
P.S. Wonder why the brand new terminal roof cracked in Paris airport(?)
I'll bet he prefers LVL beams that can span further than steel, take
up less space, need less support and can be shaped to fit more
dramatic spaces. I'll bet he prefers the marbles, slates, granites
and other stones that can be had economically now that computer-guided
cutting tools can work them efficiently, when in the past they were
too difficult to accurately shape to be affordable. I'll bet he
prefers the halogen lighting, low voltage fixtures and
computer-controlled zones unavailable even a decade ago.
He built one tenth the quantity of homes possible with pneumatic
tools, and those nails he so lovingly hammered are more susceptible to
loosening and nail pops than pneumatically driven ones. As his wood
dries, it's far more likely to twist, check and crack, and squeaks
will be far more prevealent in his creation than most new homes today.
The phallacy is believeing that 100 year old homes are better simply
because they're still here. They are far less energy efficient, lack
most modern conveniences, and will cost far more in upkeep. Most
housing, no matter how poor, will last 50 years with normal
maintenance, or even a century or so. And of those homes built 100
years ago, nearly 90% are no longer standing or have been so remodeled
or updated as to no longer qualify as older homes.
Bad engineering, same as that silly tower in Pisa that almost fell
But please feel free to stay in your ten year old home for the rest of
your life. Everyone has different preferences, and the fredom to
My last house was build in 1892. Yeah, you read that right - 112 years old.
I personally removed all the asbestos, rewired the place, replumbed. I
know the difference between the stuff built today and yesterday. The
low-to-medium price stuff of yesteryear compares favorably with the stuff
halfway to 7 figures (and up) today.
A few materials or materials processing (ferro-cement, et al) may be
superior today but in general - the materials of today have been a
disappointment to me.
BTW, your attitude sucks.
After 10 years, R2000 spec. house I am living in has no squeaks, no
nothing wrong with structure. Engineering? Computer simulation? I have a
family full of all kinds of engineers here including myself. Phoo-ee.
I still love old ways. Wish young people know to appreciate and learn
P.S. I just finished my cabin, hand hewn Swedish log home.
Sure. Take framing lumber...
I remember watching carpenter's frame houses before the war...nice straight,
clear stuff. They would have burned what's used today.
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old-growth stuff, and what little that is left (usually way up in Canada)
that isn't in protected areas is like gold. I understand there is still a
lot of old-growth left in the isolated areas of former USSR. If somebody
comes up with a cheap way to move that halfway around world, it'll be a gold
I could cry when I think of all the clear-grain I threw on the burn pile as
a kid- 1x8 non-jointed redwood etc, 'only' 2 feet long, etc. Who knew?
You get what you pay for.
Since most people want it cheap cheap cheap, they get low low low
quality. If you have inferior (read cheap) contractors, then you'll
get a bad job. Simple as that.
Quality = money and a lot of people don't see that.
On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 19:23:14 -0400, Greg Hunter
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