Guidelines for Sourcing Construction Materials

Construction materials may sound like a rather brainless aspect of building anything to most people. All you have to do is go to the hardware store and pick up whatever you need, right? Unfortunately, life is almost never that simple, and there are many considerations a contractor or homeowner doing repair work needs to be aware of. Fortunately, a lot of mistakes can be avoided with ease by simply not doing some foolish rookie things. The following are some guidelines for avoiding ineffective materials through sourcing them properly. With properly sourced materials, the job will tend to go more smoothly and less problems will likely pop up down the line.

Where to Go

Believe it or not, not all hardware stores are created equal. A lot of neighborhood places are very bad, and not just because they lack many of the materials you may want. Aside from potentially not having what you actually need, in most cases they are costlier and feature lower quality than their larger or more specialized counterparts. Naturally, whether a given store will have what you need ultimately comes down to its role where it is. For example, a suburban hardware store is more likely to have the materials homeowners need to finish a basement than it is to have the exotic woods a furniture designer needs to craft exquisite functional art.

Safety Considerations

Safety is of paramount importance on any kind of work site. Aside from picking up stray nails and other basic concerns, you also need to be concerned with the safety of the materials you employ. For example, many of the less expensive types of drywall and other materials manufactured in countries without rigid quality controls and safety standards contain higher than acceptable levels of mercury and other dangerous chemicals. Making sure that you are getting something safe is worth a few extra dollars in the long run.

Cost and Estimation

When estimating costs, the standard rule is to make your best guess, round up and then tack an additional 20% onto the total. In many cases, this is still insufficient, especially if you are doing a job you are not particularly experienced with. Many times, you actually want to stagger your material acquisition when you buy large amounts of something. Pay for the entire amount you believe you need and get a discount if possible, then pick up 1/5 or 1/4 of it at a time. This way, you can ensure that you are not holding an overabundance of materials that could be stolen or clutter the work site, and you will still have enough to do much of the work that needs doing at the time.



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