Time for a RENO? Tips on how to shop for that Reno…

When it come to reno’s we often see half the cost of the project going to materials so it’s important to look out for what can hold you up on the project. If you’re into DIY then avoiding some minor and or major hiccups can help you make the most of your investment. As an experienced DYI professional you know the importance of buying materials that have been tested and are top quality. It’s also important that you’re comfortable with your vendors so you know what you’re getting. Here are some additional tips we’ve found that can help you pick out the best materials and products for your home.

1. Know the good and bad to buying off the shelf.
  • First be sure to check the box, does it look like it has been opened or returned? If yes then don’t buy it. Returned items may have damage and missing parts.
  • You can get some great deals on good products at your local home store, but you have to know what you’re looking for. For instance, plumbing fixtures should be made of brass, not metallic-looking plastic. And cheaper paint often requires more coats and fades more quickly.
2. Get recommendations.
  • A good store owner should have established relationships with reps, so use the recommended suppliers if you can. If DYI is your thing then I’m sure you know that asking around for suggestions is key to your project.
  • To be on the safe side consider add 30 percent to any delivery time frame as well as building a healthy contingency fund into your budget, just in case.
3. Just because it looks like a duck …
  • A lot of houses are still piped with copper, so repairs and remodeling will generally be done in copper as well. Half-inch copper pipe is 5/8 inch in diameter, but the thickness of the copper depends on the type. Consider your options and do your homework as saving money in materials now could mean re-opening walls later to deal with problems that have come up.
  • Whether you are paying someone else or doing work yourself labour is expensive; buying quality materials is essential to making sure you’re not doing twice thew work.
4. Sometimes you don’t get what you thought you were paying for.
  • From what we have been told some brands spend more on advertising than on making quality products. Do your research and make sure the product you’re buying is current.
  • Material costs will fluctuate and can effect the product that’s being produced. As products change you could go from quality to a dud.
5. Let someone else be the guinea pig.
  • If you feel comfortable testing materials & products on your own home that’s definitely up to you. However you definitely can benefit from the research out there on the products you’re looking for.
  • Speaking to those in the industry, your in store professionals as well as product research online to see what you’ll be working with.
  • Even if you are trying to remodel your home using environmentally friendly materials it’s important to ask questions.
6. Buy local.
  • There are many reasons to buy local and support your local economy, but there are two big reasons that are both related to shipping.
  •  Make sure to factor in the cost of shipping when pricing out materials. A local vendor will usually not charge extra for shipping, and you can schedule the delivery.
  • Shipments of online purchases can result in headaches if no one is around when a big, heavy delivery shows up.
  • If you are concerned about the environment, the distance a product ships should always be a concern. Bamboo flooring is made from grasses that are rapidly renewable, but if it’s coming to you from across the world, a flooring product made close to home might be a greener choice.
7. Buy salvaged.
  • It is found that you can often get better quality building materials with more character for less money by buying from a salvage shop or auction.
  • There are positives & negatives to this; you may have to pay more in labour, but  this is an opportunity to support your community.
  • Sinks and tubs are good if the finish isn’t damaged, how it’s suggested to avoid faucets unless the seller can show you they work without leaks.
  • Doors, hardware and masonry along with stone, wood and glass are all great materials to buy salvaged. With light fixtures be sure to keep in mind that they may need to be rewired, however this is a way to keep a vintage piece out of the garbage.
8. Buy extra.
  • Waste is the term that is used for extra materials that have been ordered; this because the cutoffs usually end up as waste unless they are recycled.  The best way to figure out how much ‘waste’ to order is by following a manufacturer’s or installer’s recommendations.
  • In the absence of those, use these tips.
    • If confident about your measurements and the method of installation, you could get away with ordering 10 percent more of items like flooring or wall coverings, but 15 percent waste is a safer bet.
    • If the item is special order, 15 percent is the minimum, and 20 percent may make sense depending on the situation.
  • Store your leftovers such as tile and grout  in labeled containers in a clean and dry storage area in case repairs are required.
9. Have someone else double check your work.
  • Before you approve a special order, especially for windows and doors have someone else familiar with the job look over the order for you.
  • One will not be able to send a custom door or windows back because it didn’t fit or swung/opened the wrong way.

10. Buy materials in advance.

  • Stopping work to wait for materials to arrive can be costly.
  • If you double the lead time you were told, you’ll usually be safe. Delays happen all the time. If the materials are onsite as needed then the contractor can check measurements and answer questions that the spec sheet doesn’t address.
  • If you don’t want to expose times to theft, store the materials offsite where your general contractor can get to them; however don’t try to time material deliveries for the moment they are needed.

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