Standards Around the House

I bought a window shade yesterday. I measured the window. I went to the store (yes that store). I pulled a 23″ shade off the shelf and brought it home. It fits perfectly.

Last year, we bought a new dishwasher. We pulled the old one out and ordered a new one. When the new model arrived, it fit — perfectly.

NOTE: I promise this site will not turn into HomeImprovementBits.

I’m merely making a point here. That home improvement is made easier by standards. Someone like myself can walk into a store, buy a garbage disposal hose, and more than likely it’ll fit just right. I can also purchase a new doorknob and nine times out of ten it’ll fit the door without any major adjustments.

Predetermined, standard measurements make life easy for people who build and maintain houses. When a new owner needs to update or maintain their home, standards make it easier to fix or improve it.

This wasn’t always the case, of course. Not all houses built prior to the twentieth century utilized standards. This didn’t mean that houses built without standards were bad houses — it just meant that updating, fixing or maintaining these houses required extra work.

Oftentimes, people buy old houses and renovate them. Once the hard work in renovating a house is complete, the owner can take advantage of standard sizes and measurements to make maintaining the house easier.

There is a list a mile long of improvements that my wife and I would like to make to our old house. But making those improvements takes time — and money. We’re just trying to check off one item at a time knowing that, once the work is done, things will get easier.