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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

5 Biggest Mistakes Made When Buying Home Enhancement Supplies

Spring has arrived and its time to start repair and enhancement projects around the house. Unfortunately, without much forethought and planning, many homeowners will make their first stop at the local building material yard or big-box retailing home center to start their projects. Due to the lack of planning and impatience, many will leave the store disappointed and with less money in their wallets. Planning and patience is everything, and there are 5 big mistakes you should avoid when shopping at your local building supply yard.

First, know what you are doing and how to do it. With the labor crunch these days many of the employees in these supply houses have less experience than you do. Their knowledge comes from a smartphone and YouTube video. When seeking advice from an employee of a supplier, ask if they have ever done a project like the one you are attempting. Then, if you determine they have little experience, go find a friend, or acquaintance, or do research online before you buy anything. Know what you are doing and how to do it before you purchase supplies.

Next, many homeowners refuse to hire a professional because they want to save money. Know your limitations. If you are not physically able or do not have a basic knowledge of tools and construction projects- don’t do it. Ignorance is costly when you are attempting any home project. A trip to a doctor, emergency room, or chiropractor can be expensive, and it could even result in you losing time from work. Lying in the emergency room is the wrong time to discover you should have hired your project out to a professional.

Don’t buy it; rent it. Let’s say you want to install a new tile floor in your home, and you’ve done your research and you are capable of doing the work, but you realize you lack the tools. Many homeowners will go to their home center big-box stores and buy some non-professional tools they believe will get the job done. Non-professional tools typically do not perform like the professional tools, and they can be very costly. After your project is completed, you will be stuck with tools in your shed that will never be used again. Instead, a good idea is to rent the right tools from a tool rental center. The employees can typically give you instructions on how to operate the tools as well as the bits, blades, and accessories you need. Renting is a lot cheaper, plus you get a better tool.

Due to poor planning, trying to save money, or impatience, many homeowners will try to haul the products they buy in their personal car or small SUV. This is one of the costliest mistakes that is made at every building supply store in America. Daily, thousands of dollars in damage is being done by homeowners to their own vehicles because they are overloading them with merchandise that is hanging out of windows or the rear of the vehicle. Understand, a deep scratch or ding on a new car could cost $750 to $1,000 to repair, which is probably more than what it would have cost for a professional to do your home improvement job. Take a look at the vehicles of many contractors- they are beaten and battered from hauling around material. Do you want your car to look like that?

Finally, please don’t ask your building supplier or home center to precut anything to a specific size because you lack the skills or tools. Once something is cut, it can’t be extended. Every day there are items cut in building supply yards that are 1/4 inch short and the item is wasted. Precise measurements normally are best done during installation, and don’t forget the old carpenter rule - measure twice and cut once.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from working around their home, but homeowners, sometimes you just need to admit the job is too much for you. After a project is complete, don’t be that person that says, “I could have saved money by hiring a professional to do it.”

Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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