Originally Posted by johnapril
Yeah. Well. A lot of changes in construction techniques have taken place between 1888 and 2006. If you argue at the extremes, go play with yourself. A well built home in 2006 will combine sound techiques and materials from the past and the present. The crap being built out of OSB, Tyvek, and inferior slabs is a waste. Period. You might think it is a nice place to live, a nice family settlement, but in fact the people who buy those homes are being ripped off. They are getting into a big place (in square feet), and it seems like they have hit the jackpot, but if they were to buy something more modest and decently built, they would fare better in the long run. I have seen homes five years old falling to pieces in the wind. I have seen homes five years old molding. Saran wrapped and all.
I was hardly playing to extremes when I was speaking of essentially balloon-framed (now evolved to platform- or stick-framed) construction, the most common in the U.S. throughout time by far, and further, speaking of my direct experience. Ignoring even that, I had no idea of the compass of your thoughts in the matter, so how could I be accused of going to extremes short of caves?
A cause for surprise might be the extent to which I agree with you, apart from the animosity; as I mentioned, we are being invaded out here with developments of sadly-built cookie-cutter 3000 sq.ft. houses running 340k. The owners buy them and put up little brick posts at either end of the drive, like some manor house or something. I also appreciate the work of the past; most of my possesions are either antique, the work of craftsmen, or like the cherry desk (replete with handcut dovetails) I am sitting behind, the work of my hand.
Probably we shan't come to terms on materials, and though I can't really say anything in favor of PVC, as a nearly-minted engineer and a guy who just loves trees, I won't fault OSB. Tyvek isn't so bad, either, unless as a cover for poor workmanship, an item I appreciate with 40mph winds gusting to 55 all day. In any event, materials alone do not a poor house make, and lots of GCs out there are happy to pull any shortcut they can to get a bigger margin while roping in more people -- surely a contributor in all those wrecked fresh houses.
A parting gift for you -- a photograph of mine, that as with all my photographs, was named before I shot it. This one is called "Progress??"