You need to read less and think more!

This blog is about getting stoked and getting worthwhile things done. There is a sea of useless information bombarding you, and this is a desert island where you beach your boat and build a hut. There are also some clever little construction tricks to be presented.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Over-build it.

An old carpenter in Llano, Texas once told me "You'll never know if you build it too strong."  I couldn't agree more.  

We all know that not everything has to wear out or go out of style in 5 years.  I mean, is there anyone who hasn't see a cool old car?  Better yet, ever seen a 200 year old building that looks great?  Having seen that, why do we settle for cheap, temporary or trendy?  

Yesterday, an architect in Georgetown, TX referred a friend to me who called because he had just bought a house that had some real funky carpeting that had to come out.  He figured staining the concrete would be cheaper than anything else and was trying to find someone to do cheaply.  I could totally relate.  In fact as I write this, I am wearing a shirt I found at a thrift store for $1 and shoes I found online for $11.  I consider coming up with efficient ways to deliver things to market on the border of spiritual work.  However, I just couldn't roll with his idea of cleaning it up a bit and throwing some translucent paint product over the slab.

The difference is the end-game.  If I engineer a way to stain, chemically harden, seal and diamond polish a floor for $4/sf (We used to have to charge twice this amount, as polishing can be slow and diamond tooling can be expensive), everyone wins.  If someone sells or installs a "concrete stain" that is actually a semi-transparent paint that eventually will flake off at any price, everybody loses.  The difference is that decades later the element7concrete floor is either still looking good or easy to snap back into shape while the painted floor will likely need to be re-done after a couple of years.  Unless the owner waxes their floor regularly, lives in their socks, and is very lucky, a painted floor will chip and scratch in some spots and be very hard to make new again.  Conversely, an element7concrete floor will not wear out nor go out of style. 

Now I'm a little concerned that this sounds like a sales pitch.  I am clearly partial, but it's more an effect of the principles that drive us in business rather than an attempt to use this as a platform to sell more floors.  I assume that you are more interested in ideas than building a home or having your floors re-done.  This mindset has driven my consumption just as it has driven our work.  Our family car is a VW because the old ones still look cool to me.  I have worn the same Levi's (505's bought raw) for 15 years.  I like Apple computers because though the styles have changed, I could see myself happily cranking away on my MacBook 10 years from now.  

So, for goodness sake, when you make something, make it as long lasting as you can.  When you buy something, buy something as long lasting as you can.  Thank you for reading.