During a home remodel, it can be tempting to order your own materials rather than letting your builder do the work. After all, why pay somebody to buy your cabinets, appliances, or paint for you when you can just do it yourself?
Lamont Bros. is a full-service remodeling company based in the Portland Metro Area. We guide our clients through the full process of remodeling, from the first drawings to the final nail. Homeowners often ask us during this process how much of the remodel materials they can order on their own.
The answer to this question tends to differ on a case-by-case basis. Although situations may vary, it can be helpful to understand when and why it may be appropriate for you to order your own materials. In this article, we’ll discuss
- the process we use to specify, incorporate, and acquire materials for a remodel’s design
- the risks of purchasing your own materials
- reasons some people choose to order their own materials
Lamont Bros.’ materials ordering process
As the saying goes, you have to know the rules before you can break them. So, to understand what constitutes a good reason to order your own remodel supplies, it is important to first know the process Lamont Bros. uses to acquire materials.
Lamont Bros. uses a product purchasing process designed so that you get exactly what you want for your remodel. Not only that, but we take several precautions to ensure that the products will actually work with the remodel design.
For this example, we’ll use a process for purchasing a microwave.
The first step in getting the products you want for your remodel is to figure out what you want. This conversation will take place early on in the design process.
In this phase, homeowners can be as specific or nondescript as they want. If they have an exact product in mind, like a brand-name light fixture or kitchen appliance, we can usually find it. If their preferences are more in the vein of a “general aesthetic,” we can work with that, too.
So, say, the homeowners are considering microwave options. They know that they want to save space by purchasing an over-the-range microwave but aren’t sure what exact brand. They do, however, prefer stainless steel. The designer will take note of their preferences and move on to the next step.
Once the design team has more or less of an understanding of what the homeowner wants in their home, the designer must then specify the product. This means finding a vendor and confirming that the item is, in fact, available for purchase.
On the hunt for an over-the-range microwave, the designer will look at several options. Hypothetically, after weighing the options, the designer in this scenario chooses a Viking RMVH stainless steel microwave oven.
Specifying the product also involves finding out the product’s specifications. The designer will add the product’s dimensions, fabrication materials, colors, and utility hookup needs to our project management software for the client’s approval.
In this case, the designer would likely download a PDF of the product’s specifications from Viking’s website. Upon inspecting the specifications sheet, the designer discovers the following important information:
- Dimensions: 30” wide x 16 ½” high x 15 ½” deep
- 120 Volts A/C power (dedicated electrical circuit)
- Must be 30” or more from the cooktop
Once the designer has the specifications of the product they plan to use in the remodel, they must then incorporate it into the design. In many cases, product manufacturers will have a downloadable file that we send directly to the design software.
In the design software, the designer can visualize how the product will look in both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional views. This phase allows the designer to iron out any bugs and make sure that the product will fit into the space and have the necessary utilities.
Viking appliances offer file downloads for designing software, so our microwave can be easily added to the remodel design. Once imported to the software, the designer will make sure that the microwave fits into the cabinet design and adjust the height and width of the cabinetry to match.
The designer will then incorporate the microwave into the final construction plans. Now the homeowner, subcontractors, and our construction teams have a design with the product integrated to prevent issues on the jobsite.
Once the homeowner approves the products for the remodel, we add it to the ordering schedule. We do not order the product until the homeowner signs the construction contract.
The product is then added to our purchase tracking system, where our team can view the status of the order. We use this system to help plan our construction schedule and make sure the items are installed on time.
The products we order are all shipped to our warehouse. Here, they are cataloged, sorted, and delivered directly to the home for installation.
Risks of purchasing your own materials
So, to answer the question “Can I order my own remodel materials?” In short, we don’t usually recommend it, but you can. Ordering your own materials for a remodel always carries some inherent risks. What it ultimately comes down to is how much risk you’re willing to take.
When you order your own products rather than letting our team handle the purchasing process, you bypass a system designed to help you. It’s important to recognize that this will create more hurdles for you to jump over.
Self-ordered products might not fit into the design
When it comes to remodeling, specifications are important. If you decided to order an extra-wide range oven that measures 36 inches across while your designer was expecting 30 inches, now you don’t have a space big enough to fit your range.
As another example, say you ordered a 30″ built-in microwave, but your designer put an outlet on the left, and this microwave needs the outlet on the right, instead. Better yet, the microwave sticks out from the wall further than you expected, and the microwave door gets in the way of opening cabinets.
Making sure that your products and materials will work with your design is important to your remodel’s success. This is a large part of the reason our process includes testing individual products’ dimensions within the build’s design. By ordering your own materials, you skip this step and run the risk of poorly-fitting remodel products.
Anything you order will not be covered by Lamont’s warranty
One of the promises we make to our clients is that we will stand behind our work. As part of this promise, we offer a 2-year limited warranty on our workmanship and assist you in servicing the warranty for products that we supply. (The warranty applies to installation and construction, not maintenance or repairs. You can read the full warranty terms in the construction contract.)
However, this only applies to products and services that we provide ourselves. So, if you decide to order your own refrigerator from Amazon, Lamont Bros won’t replace it if it stops working.
Our carpenters might not install items we haven’t ordered
As much as we would like to be able to install everything furnished by the homeowner, we might not be able to. From an insurance standpoint, there is too much liability involved for us to install anything we haven’t vetted through our process.
The main reason for this is that people often choose to order items themselves to try and save money. Unfortunately, the products they purchase often end up being much more poorly made or not up to code.
For example, if a homeowner orders plumbing fixtures for their kitchen remodel, they must be safety certified for us to install them. One requirement is that they have the UL Safety Mark. This mark, which indicates when a fixture is approved for US and Canadian safety standards, is required for all fixtures we install. If the fixtures don’t have it, we won’t install it.
So, if you decided you want to order your own kitchen sink or faucet, make sure it’s rated for use in the US. Otherwise, you may also end up installing it yourself, too.
You’re probably not going to save as much as you think
Most of the time, builders like Lamont Bros. get vendor pricing from product manufacturers. So, sometimes we pay 15-20% less than the consumer price on Amazon or Home Depot. With our markup, the final price ends up being about the same – sometimes a little more, sometimes less.
Now, factor in the cost of your own time, the additional risks discussed above, and the nominal price difference. Circumventing our purchasing process isn’t against any rules, but in most circumstances, you won’t be doing yourself any favors.
When should I order my own remodel materials?
Now, there are a few circumstances in which we do recommend you purchase your own supplies. Though few and far between, we have encountered situations where it simply made more sense for the homeowner to get certain products themselves.
You have a connection or skill that gives you access to supplies
If you’re a licensed plumber or are best friends with a countertop manufacturer, then you probably have a few connections that can save you money on a remodel. Or maybe you run a lumber mill out of your backyard and want to supply some lumber for framing.
In cases like these, it often makes sense for you to provide materials you already have access to rather than having us purchase them.
One of our clients was friends with the owner of an international cabinet manufacturer who offered to gift them cabinets. That offer is pretty hard to pass up, and in that case, it made sense for the homeowner to order their cabinets through their friend.
Keep in mind that our carpenters might not install items that haven’t been specified by our design team.
Limited availability or long lead times
If you’ve found the perfect light fixture, but it’s the last available one on Lumens.com, you should buy it yourself rather than wait for it to go through our purchasing process.
Some appliance manufacturers also currently have very long lead times. In this case, the appliances often won’t arrive until long after the project is complete if we wait to order them until after the contract is signed.
In cases like this, we sometimes run a specific appliance contract so we can place that order early. However, it may also make sense to order your own appliances so they get here on time for the remodel or if they are the last showroom models on the floor of the appliance supplier.
The same can also sometimes be said for custom personalized items. If you plan to get a hand-made light fixture that you want a high degree of customization to, it may make sense for you to work directly with the glass artist with the assistance of our designer.
Is Lamont Bros the right remodeler for you?
When asking how much materials you can order for your own remodel, it ultimately comes down to whether or not Lamont Bros. is the right company for you.
We recognize that what we offer is not for everyone. As a remodeler that specializes in full-process remodeling, our service is designed to be convenient for you as a homeowner. We take care of the full process so you can focus on living your life.
Some people would rather give up the convenience factor to take a more active role in purchasing materials for their remodel. If that describes you, then you may want to consider hiring a handyman or general contractor instead.
However, if you’re looking for a remodeler who will guide you through the entire process of remodeling your home, listen to your input, do all of the product ordering, and build you a remodel that will add real value to your home, then we’d be glad to work with you.
To learn more about the design/build process, check out this page on our website, which describes it in detail.
If you’d like to speak with one of our design consultants about finding the perfect products for your upcoming remodel, click the link below to schedule a video call.