What does this really mean?
One of the best-kept secrets (that many contractors don’t want you to know) is that our professional trade associations have figured out what actually works. It’s often called “Best Practices.” Like electrical or plumbing, our trade has evolved to high-performing, low-risk designs which, if properly installed, will protect your home against brutal storms and withstand the test of time.
As a boy, I grew up in the family trade and was taught how to build and install products that were High Performance because they had to pass the scrutiny of professional inspectors on important projects who required everything to be done right. When I started my own restoration company, I quickly realized that most of my competitors were selling something very different…what has come to be known as “Cosmetic.” That is, it looks good on the surface but is deficient in the hidden parts that make it work, that make it watertight and durable.
Selling “Cosmetic” is based on the marketing theory that since this is a blind purchase to the uneducated homeowner, where they can’t truly evaluate “Value,” most folks will be attracted to a low price. After all, who wants to spend one more dollar on their home’s exterior than they absolutely need to? The low-price companies try to convince you that all roofs, gutters, windows and chimneys are alike, that it’s a commodity item, ones as good as the next.
But unlike most consumer purchases, exteriors systems come unassembled. This means the contractor can cheat on the design, the materials and installation and you’ll never know the difference. If any one of these critical elements is deficient, then it is doomed to fail. Like the Challenger Rocket, all that it takes is just one thing to cause a complete system failure.
The good news is the appropriate design, material and trained craftsmen are available to you today. You too can demand and buy High Performance just like the professional buyers of restoration projects.
As John Ruskin said over a century ago, “When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was meant to do…There is hardly anything in the world that someone can’t make a little worse and sell a little cheaper…and people who consider price alone are this man’s lawful prey.”