Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 22 seconds
While researching an article on how long things should last, it dawned on me that remodeling and building science as well as the industry as a whole has really evolved in my lifetime. I am regularly asking my prospects “how long they expect your remodeling project to last”? They typically had never given it any thought.
Expectations have decreased
Turns out, expectations have decreased precipitously as we have become a throw away culture. There are still plenty of the old unique stock houses and buildings around. Those are the ones we love to update. What I am worried about are the ones built in a mass production way with materials that were not meant to last more than two decades at the most.
I call a vintage home that has not been carved up, as one with “good bones”, there are always exceptions but this is the norm. I will be the first to admit that there have been advances in building materials and building science that are fantastic upgrades that we recommend wholeheartedly, they must be incorporated in a loving way.
Construction is evolving
Somewhere along the line our culture seriously confused installation with craftsmanship. Carpenters like my dad, built homes and knew everything about them. This is the legacy that was handed down from generation to generation, father to son and so on. There were no big box stores to go to buy a door. They were made for the home by real carpenters on the job site. My cabinets were made like that in the 50’s, built in place, board by board in the home. No one does that any more, it would take too long. We have all become specialists for better or worse.
“How long do you want “it” to last?”
In my Levco world “Price often still denotes value”. My point is that with things getting cheaper and in many cases (decreasing quality along the way). We collectively no longer care that much. Things didn’t need to last too long because we have the ability to “Chuck it” easily get another one with a few clicks of a mouse, or heaven forbid, a trip to the local big box store.
You can still buy high-end items, that is a personal choice we must all make. Those relatively more expensive items however, often look quite similar to the cheap knock offs which makes it hard to justify the extra expense.
- The plumbing and automotive industries realized that they can make plastic look just like metal. By doing so, knockoffs are created that have few serviceable parts. They are cheap but you have to/get to replace them rather than fix them.
- Replacing windows, adding insulation, and updating the floor plan are all great investments.
You have to ask yourself these questions when you have your home remodeled.
How hard on your house are you going to be? Perhaps solid wood items are better for you. Press-board looks the same but does not respond the same when tortured.
At Levco, we are spring loaded to build to last a really long time. Let’s face it we work on 100+year old homes, we know what it takes to do the same thing. We leave the finish material selections up to you but make it clear that you get what you pay for when it comes to the selections you make.
We remodel for the long term
We build for many decades. Naturally we have no way to know if it will actually be that long because we have only been around in business for a little over a decade, but you get the point. In our experience, we would rather invest wisely to do it right, the good old fashion way.
A prospect called to say they were ready to get rid of an original builder grade one piece shower tub combo. It had cracked and failed two times before and he wanted a new tub and tile surround installed. Naturally he booked a visit because the duct tape repair would only last for so long. Before I could go to see him, he called back to cancel citing that he was going to go after the fellow that fixed it most recently to fix it again for free.
Seriously? In who’s best interest is it to use lousy materials? Things that look real but are cheap replicas are exactly what makes both of our business flourish. Prolonging the agony of repairing crappy components is futile and a silly waste of time. “Rip it out and start over”, you will save time and money in the long run!
Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261
If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor please contact me, you’ll be glad you did.