Old Construction Versus New Construction A comparison of old construction techniques versus new construction techniques.

Old Construction Versus New Construction

They Sure Don’t Build Them Like They Used To

You hear people say that and sometimes long for the good old days when things were made by hand and they were just better.  And often times they are right – a lot of things just aren’t made as well today as they used to be.  But with houses and every other building, it’s a darn good thing they don’t build them like they used to, because today’s construction practices and materials are simply better than they used to be.

Every time I tell someone that they picture the hardwood floors, ornate trim, crown molding and built-in cabinets that you find in old houses and compare that image to plain white sheetrock walls, linoleum flooring and wall-to-wall carpeting, look at me like I’m crazy and ask “What do you mean?”  My response is always the same: “Yes, you don’t find that artisan craftsmanship very often today, but putting rebar in concrete, plywood on the roof and walls and connectors that hold everything together is just better than not doing any of that.  Just those things alone make structures safer.”

If you take a close look at an average house built before about 1955 that has a full-height basement, you will more than likely discover a concrete wall without any rebar in it and probably has no footing; there is no connection from the top of the concrete wall to the floor system; there won’t be any plywood on the walls or roof; and the roof will be constructed of framing system with undersized members and inadequate connections when scrutinized to the standards of modern building codes.  But they still perform quite well and are good homes.  My house was built in 1940 and has every issue problem I just described, yet it’s still a great house for my family and me.

That’s not to say that an old house is going to fall down any time soon – it was just built to a lower standard than what houses and other buildings are built to today.  Modern building codes, building materials and construction practices are far superior to older materials and techniques.