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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Reflections on Home Construction From Visiting Italy

Rita and I just returned from 3 weeks vacationing in Italy, and of course I couldn’t help but to look at homes and how they are built. I came away with the following observations:

They don’t build wood frame homes in Italy (or elsewhere in Europe that I know of). The concept of building walls with 2x4 wood studs and covering them with half-inch drywall, as best I could tell, would probably seem a bit strange to an Italian (or perhaps any European). They build homes to last, using concrete or tile blocks, which are then covered by stucco. As for roofs, I suspect an Italian home builder would scoff at the idea of composition shingle roofs with 30 to 50 year lifetimes, easily destroyed by a hail storm. In Italy, virtually every roof is tile, and many of them look as if they are hundreds of years old.  I imagine they’d find it curious that we replace roofs that don’t leak but have merely lost some of their surface granules after a storm.

Perhaps there are readers who are familiar with European construction methods who could provide me with additional information that I can then share in a future column, because I find the concept of building more durable homes highly attractive. 

The way we build homes in America strikes me as “penny wise and pound foolish,” but I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject and would like to know more.  Call or write me so I can learn more and share more!

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