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Building Homes: Then and Now

You always hear people say that homes aren’t built the way they use to be. So All My Sons of San Antonio, with the help of MSN.com, investigates that notion. According to an article found on MSN.com, homes use to be built by small, jack-of-all-trades types of builders, but today large corporations have taken up the business. Materials and techniques are also different these days. Big timbers made of wood use to be the popular standard and made homes strong. Durable native stones, slate and brick were also used. Virgin forests produced these hundreds of years old trees that created strong and dense word. Today, the engineering principles are what makes up the strength’s of the house. Plus, the wood is farmed just like corn or wheat and is harvested in about 25 years. These young trees pass building codes but they’re not nearly as strong as the 100-year olds ones. Lumber made from these young trees hold up more moisture which can be problematic, once they heat is turned on, floor joists and wall studs can shrink or even warp as they dry, causing the drywall and floor tiles to crack. Another difference between the old homes and the newer ones, is that in the older ones heat as well as cold air escaped or penetrated from the windows, doors and cracks. The newer ones have weather-tight systems.

The craftsmanship is not the same either. Even though craftsmen weren’t perfect in the past and definitely made mistakes, it seems like about 40%of newer homes have problems. According to MSN, a Consumer Reports study in this decade found serious defects in 15% of new homes. There use to be much more apprenticeship programs and vocational schools dedicated to learning the art of building houses. Today, with all the new engineered components, a jack-of-all-trades couldn’t afford to build a house.

Houses today are more affordable, even though old houses weren’t surpassed the building codes. Today, the average American can buy a house. In 1900, less than one-third of Americans owned a home, today two-thirds are homeowners.

The use of fiberglass is an advantage for today’s home building practices. It’s strong and doesn’t dent, rust or scratch like steel. It’s rugged and durable, can be painted and overall more stable than wood. It can actually even be manipulated to be made like wood by staining it. Windows are also better than in the past. More energy efficient too. There’s also a new class of super energy efficient ones that can cut costs on heating and cooling by up to 50%.

It seems like there are pros and cons to both the building practices of the past as well as the newer ones. The next time you buy or rent a home, ask when the property was built. That’ll help you make your decision of whether or not it’s right for you. And of course, if you move in the San Antonio area or in Seguin, New Braunfels, Converse or Boerne, give the local San Antonio movers a call for easy moving.