|The hell I can't...|
“Butter is BAAAD for you!” they would chide with a certain tone of superiority. "It has too much cholesterol!"
|Does this look like wood to you?|
As you might’ve guessed by now, there’s an architectural connection here. Like margarine, there are a whole host of building materials that claim to be “just like” something else. Some are good substitutes; many are not. The simple reason for this is that any product basing its appeal on a resemblance to something else is, by definition, inferior. So if you like the look of the products for themselves, great. But if you’re hoping to fool someone, forget it. Let’s take a look at some of the margarine materials:
|Ahem—not that believable as shakes.|
If easy maintenance is of prime concern, vinyl or aluminum siding are fine choices. But if you’re serious about your siding looking like wood, buy wood.
|"The Look of True Divided Lites"?|
Come on, who are these guys fooling?
|Not all imitations are as bad as those above.|
Take this stone urn, for example.
(It's fiber glass).
To end on a positive note, however, there are a lot of substitute materials that work just great. Many stone and brick veneers, for example, are just about indistinguishable from the real thing when properly installed. I’ve even seen some “stone” urns mounted high on a building that fooled me for years: they were actually fiber glass, and hence were infinitely more earthquake-safe than the genuine product.
Likewise, lots of plastic laminates look so much like granite or marble that I’ve had to touch them (they’re warmer than the real thing) to be sure they're not the real deal. So there really are good reasons to use a “fake” product on occasion. But as the cola ad used to say, “Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.”