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Should I Buy My Own Materials For Renovations?



Renovations are often a big investment, which is why it's important to do your homework.


You might be tempted to purchase all of your own materials for the job in order to save money. However, this can backfire and actually end up costing you more money in the long run because contractors know what they're doing when it comes to renovation projects.


Here are some reasons why you should let the contractor purchase materials for your renovation.


1 - A good contractor will stay up to date on the most current advancements, as well as which products are falling out of favor.


2 - They will purchase the materials from a known supplier, which guarantees a level of security. The product will be new, not refurbished.


3 - The product will be backed by a manufacturer warranty when purchased through official channels. Have you ever tried to call in a warranty claim for something you bought on Craigslist or worse, out of someone's trunk at Home Depot? It's a nightmare.


I Know My Way Around The Store


On the surface, it might seem easy to source materials on your own. If you go on a big box store's website, you can pull up literally THOUSANDS of options in less than a second. That is a lot of options.


The contractor will know the right product to use, which are compatible or counter-indicated. They have relationships with suppliers that help them with warranty claims. Most contractors won't stand behind a product that was supplied by the client, as they don't know where it came from, how it was treated (was it refurbished?), if it's genuine piece or not - you get the idea! Clients who want their renovations done correctly should let their contractor purchase all materials needed for the job directly through official channels.


What's The Difference?


What's the real difference between two faucets? It might seem like a Moen is overpriced for it's basic design, but the no-name you find at a bathroom supply store is about the same price and looks twice as slick.


Great! Right? Well, sometimes, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, no.



If we stick with the Moen example, there are a few benefits. The installation will be easier, which means less time that the plumber spends installing it. This leads to savings. And if there's ever an issue, it will likely be with the cartridge. Think of the cartridge as the engine in your car. It's the complex piece of machinery that keeps the faucet running. If there's an issue with it, Moen will replace your cartridge for free--for life. That's a heck of an insurance policy. The finish on the faucet will also assuredly outlast the no-name competitor from Wish or AliExpress.

The contractor knows what they're doing and will likely do a better job, faster. They have experience with this type of project and know where to look if there's an issue after they leave your home that needs troubleshooting. It could be something minor like adjusting water pressure or something more complicated such as replacing cartridges, springs or seats on older pieces.


When you buy materials yourself it can cause confusion about which parts should go where and who takes responsibility when something goes wrong later down the line. The contractor has relationships with suppliers who stand behind their product by offering warranty claims--which we'll talk about in just a second!


A Warranty Is Worth It's Weight In Gold


If you order a faucet on Amazon, how do you know if it will fit your sink? Is it 4" center-set? Will the rosettes fit behind the sink under the counter? Will the spout be high enough for you to comfortably fit your hands under with the sink you chose? Will the water come out an angle that reduces splashing?


What about the quality of the finish? Is it plated? Can the plating come off? Is it a brass body? Or alloy?


If you buy an eye-catching faucet on Amazon, then hire a contractor to install it, what makes you think that contractor is going to stand behind his work? He's not obligated.


What if something goes wrong with the faucet after he leaves (and I've seen many situations like this happen), who fixes it--you or him?! If the plumber doesn't offer a warranty on the piece you provided, and you hired someone else for repairs, there's no guarantee of service from whoever installed them originally. Purchasing materials yourself also puts your contractor in an awkward position: warranty claims are made against suppliers, not contractors.


What contractor is going to take on that financial liability? Not many, I can tell you! Don't buy your own materials for renovations; it's one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when trying to save money. Let your contractor do what they were hired to do: provide a high-quality product and ensure the warranty claims are taken care of. This way everyone wins--you get peace of mind knowing you're protected if something goes wrong with your renovation (and let's face it, things can always go wrong), and your contractor gets another happy client!


The Contractor Recommends Something More Expensive


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There are several ways that people try to cut corners or save some cash without realizing how much more expensive this shortcut will be down the line. One popular example is buying your own shower base.


You've measured it, and made sure it's available for pick up in store. The drain is on the correct side, it's the right color, what else could you possibly need to know?




Oops! Turns out it's flanged for corner installation! You needed it flanged for alcove installation. Or, worse, it's a "universal" model that requires you to install your own flange. By screwing metal into the base. I'm sure you can see the issue of putting screws into the most crucial area of waterproofing in your shower. I don't know any professional contractors who would stand behind this product. I wouldn't!


If you ever find yourself in a position where you feel like buying your own materials, think again. It's just not worth the risk when there are so many other options available to building professionals. Let us know if this has happened before or what your experience was with this situation. You might be surprised at how often people have made these mistakes without realizing it!

Montreal Contractors is a qualified company, holding an active bonded license as a General Contractor and Specialized Contractor with the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec (RBQ License: 5767-5480-01), ASP Health & Safety Certification and a $2M liability policy. Our employees have all passed background checks, are registered with CNESST and have their ASP Health and Safety certification.

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