New subject line because the original has gone way OT. :-)
So, I'm in the home of some new friends. Beautiful half-million dollar
home in the affluent Brentwood TN area, outside Nashville. Lots of
"McMansions" in the area, but this home is decidedly more traditional
and sensible, architecturally.
I notice that the drawer front to the trash pull-out cabinet is loose.
Then I see that one cabinet drawer front is missing and many others are
loose or have been repaired with mending plates. I tell the home owner
that I'd love to repair the drawer with the missing front and I take it
home to fix. Here's where it gets fun.
These cabinets are all particle board. Not even MDF. Low density
particle board, like those horrible shelving units you can buy at
Walmart for $29. This is a $500,000 home in an area of the country where
$149,000 gets you a 10 year old, 1700sqft ranch on a half acre. This is
a luxury home for the market.
Upon further inspection, I realize they are not even gluesd together.
The only glue on the drawer is a bead of what I'd describe as "hot glue"
underneath, around the perimeter of the bottom panel. The box was
constructed with (get this) NON-locking rabbet joints, STAPLED together!
The false fronts then screwed to the front panel of the box. EVERY one
of these drawers WILL fail and fall apart from repeated use.
I would be a little more forgiving if these drawers were made of solid
wood, because staples hold pretty well in hardwood. But particle
board!?! You can practically pull a 2" staple out of particle board with
Boggles the mind. Half million dollar, 4-5,000sqft home, with mobile
home qality kitchen cabinets.
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
I'm no expert in these matters, but it seems to me that "luxury" is only
skin deep these days; perhaps for a long time.
Maybe twenty-five years ago a friend of mine was hired to do repairs all
around a *brand new* house. The house had, among other things, a six-car
garage with an office wing above it. Oh, and it had a *name* too:
"Twelve Gables" or some such. So hardly a low-budget place.
In addition to whatever my friend was being paid for the job, the guy
had a bunch of audio gear he didn't know how to use; I went along to
help cart out whatever we thought we could use.
I took a tour. At a quick glance - at "Real Estate Photo Distance" - the
place looked great. Just don't look too close. Here are just a couple of
the things that needed fixing:
The holes in the sheetrock for the outlets and switches were so raggedly
cut that most of them protruded out past the outlet covers, some as much
as a half-inch. The builders just caulked the gaps and painted over them.
Not to be outdone, the electrician miswired several of the switches,
presumably to make them a good match for the holes.
There were several staircases in the house, some of which had bends and
curves. Each step made a different noise.
Thunk-creeeak-CRACK!-wobble-groan-foomp-thud... One of the more
trapezoidal steps in the curve actually rocked back and forth. It was
not only loose, the stringers under it were cut badly.
Those are the ones that stand out in my mind, but there were repairs to
be made everywhere. My friend was there for a couple of weeks, in a
house no one had yet lived in. Worst of all, he was only there to fix
the superficial stuff. I wonder what greater sins were covered in
sheetrock. In fact, I wonder if it's still standing.
This email is free from viruses and malware because avast! Antivirus protection is active.
Unfortunately, something junky can *look* pretty good. Very good AAMOF.
And that's what most consumers go by; they have zero knowledge of materials
As to particle board itself, there are worse things...MDF for one (IMO,
YMMV). Still, both have their place. And both conserve both lumber and
When I had an office I had a number of modular cabinets. Scandinavian type.
They were all walnut veneer over particle board, edged with solid wood.
They looked great and were not cheap; on the expensive side, actually. They
were well constructed and I would buy them again in a heart beat.
yes, the "beaver puke" as a buddy of mine calls partical board, is a
lot better in many many ways than the MDF, or "highly compressed
paper" - and a whole lot lighter. If kept dry, MDF IS a bit more
stable, dimensionally, than partical board - and perhaps is a little
Don't get me started. This is the absolute very reason I started
building the kitchens in the homes I build ten years ago.
Not a month goes by that I don't get a call from someone in my
neighborhood, where the average home price is closer to $1M (a house I
built and sold for $925k three years ago just went back on the market
for $1.2M last week, and it will sell in a week) to repair kitchen and
home office cabinets in million dollar homes that are less than ten to
fifteen years old and built during the last boom that ended in 2008.
Big factors: built-in, instead of shop built cabinets; cheapest possible
material; a work force/culture doing the work that really doesn't give a
shit if the cabinets fall apart after they get paid; and builders who
simply will not put money where it can't be seen.
In short, the price of a home has no bearing WHATSOEVER on the quality
of workmanship of ANY aspect of construction, and hasn't for some time
... it is skin deep cosmetics and location ONLY.
It is what it is ...
On Fri, 08 Nov 2013 16:24:46 -0600, Swingman wrote:
We moved into a new (old) house last year and it has an alcove in the
basement family room that would be just right for a library (we have lots
of books). I went looking and found some in the $100 to $250 range.
They were all particle board or MDF. The only difference was the cheap
ones were covered with a printed paper wood grain and the expensive ones
were covered with very thin veneer. For about $150 each I can build some
using hardwood plywood and solid wood face frames and shelf edges. OK,
it'll be a fair amount of work (I need 7 of them) but at least I won't be
ashamed to show the result.
This message was for rec.woodworking - if it appears in homeownershub
they ripped it off.
On Friday, November 8, 2013 4:24:46 PM UTC-6, Swingman wrote:
That fits it to a "T" here as well. Extra emphasis on location.
And I hate to see some of the buyers get screwed these days, but most buyer
s don't seem to know what to look for in a quality home these days. They a
re like me with my truck; if something goes wrong with it, I don't know wha
t to do. I can build a house, but I can't diagnose a sputter in my truck e
ngine, or know how to fix it when it over-revs. One can't know everything.
Sadly, the location buyers spend many, many thousands more than they should
for the product they get just to be in a certain area. If it makes them h
appy, good for them. I like working on their houses when things go wrong.
But I am sad for those that think they are buying a truly well built home.
Ironically, there are a couple of small tract home builders here that actua
lly build a better home that some of the custom guys. All walls on 16" cen
ters, blocking on all cabinets areas, blocking on all tub enclosures and to
wel/toilet roll holders. They use over sized headers on openings, better g
rade trims, better grade tiles, better grade cabinets, better paint, etc.
A few of the custom builders I have seen lately are slopping through their
project any way they can and rely on excellent layout and decorating design
work done with the latest fad of materials to carry the day. Strip away t
he cosmetics and you don't have much at all.
On 11/9/2013 12:43 PM, email@example.com wrote:
I think location might be a bigger over priced expense than a cheaply
built kitchen. You know the areas, the house is about 4 times more
expensive than a similar sized home located elsewhere. You could take
those expensive homes, put $100,000.00 into the kitchens and they would
still be 2~3 times more expensive and only better built in the kitchen.
Location, location, location!
There are 5~7 houses in Swingmans neighborhood that give you more
quality for your money than the house next door and Swingman built all
of those. :~)
Then there is Kalifornia where $500,000 might get you 1,000 SF in
certain areas and those homes are dumps.
FWIW I live in a new neighborhood where the homes reach half the price of
the one you describe. A neighbor living in a home built by a different
builder than mine was having problems with the kitchen drawers back
breaking out. I repaired it for him but the back were attached with
staples shot in line with the direction that the drawer traveled. There
was no mystery as to what the problem was. Additionally the drawer bottoms
seemed to be of less quality than MDF or particle board. They appeared to
be just over 1/8" thick and made of some type reinforced card board.
I have added 6, half inch Baltic birch drawers under our kitchen island and
replaced the 2 upper kitchen island drawers with the same. I'm hoping the
rest of the cabinets will hold up.
I had heard how great IKEA was so we visited a store in Atlanta. What
absolute junk. OK, I can understand termite vomit furniture; it's
throw-away, but termite vomit and plastic kitchens? The stuff looked
OK but 25 years? What's the average kitchen remodel? 30k? 50K? We
just laughed. I did buy a butcher block slab for my shop, though.
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