ARRGH! While the new house is in good shape, it was generally put together with really CRAPPY materials. This, to me, is what is wrong with most new home construction in the U.S. Cheap-ass drywall, crappy roll-down vinyl kitchen “tile,” bad quality doors whose PLASTIC CHEAP moulding turns yellow in the sunlight after just a couple of years, poorly installed, poorly made closet doors, and chintzy wiring are just a FEW of my complaints.
I grew up in Chicago and New Orleans in predominantly old construction. While it’s clearly a pain to drive a nail into a plaster wall, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. In fact, they soundproof naturally, hold in heat/cool better than bare drywall/stud construction, and don’t crumble when you run into them with your bike. While I like the open spaces you can achieve with modern building materials, there is no excuse for shoddy installation work or saving a few pennies by getting the cheaper gypsum boards available.
Home Depot seems to be the king of this problem. They continually push their cheapest stuff, and make it difficult or impossible to find good quality materials (either because they don’t sell them, or because they’re special order.) Even worse, they’re squashing their competition so roundly that it’s REALLY hard to find anywhere else to shop! I am lucky enough to still live near an HQ, one of probably about 15 left in the nation — and overall, they are nicer people, have nicer quality lumber and materials, and have a MUCH better selection in some areas. Home Depot’s exclusive deals with certain manufacturers means you can’t get some brands there…and they’re getting harder to find without buying directly from the manufacturer.