Ugly truth about home renovation

Replacing items is often more costly than fixing them

The word "renovation" implies that you're replacing something old and worn out with something new and better. Yet too many so-called renovations simply involve replacing things that are old and substantial with ones that are cheap and flimsy but just happen to be new. That seems less like renovation and more like ruinovation. If every modern building product were better than its counterpart of 50 years ago, meaningful renovation would be easy. But they're not, and so it isn't. While some things really have improved -- modern heating systems, for example, are vastly superior to those of years past -- the sad fact is that many building products are mere wisps of their former selves. The euphemistic "economic pressures" we've all heard about -- put plainly, "greed for fatter profit margins" -- are the real culprit behind the declining quality of so many building items. The practice of outsourcing to cheap labor overseas means many name-brand pro...