The sponsor of our floors in our New Backyard Cottage, Slaughterbeck floors wrote this great guest post about floors.
Remodeling Gone Wrong
Why Online Bargains can Hurt Homeowners
As a homeowner hiring a contractor for a remodeling project, you may find yourself doing research into materials and/or suppliers beyond the materials that the contractor has found and offered or is partnered with.
On one hand, homeowners want to make sure that they are getting the absolute best price they can. Contractors and remodelers, however, prioritize a consistent, reliable job with a standardized cost.
When these two viewpoints clash, sometimes customers will take matters into their own hands to mitigate costs. This usually amounts to customers buying fixtures and materials for the contractors to use, instead of paying the contractors to obtain the materials.
This seemingly insignificant decision can lead to large difficulties during the home remodeling or construction process — but most homeowners would never know that!
At a glance, some issues that can arise from homeowners buying their own materials are:
Poor quality product with weak durability or harmful chemicals
Improper type of product for the project
Poor business practices / reputation of the materials manufacturer
Improper quantities purchased (based on owner’s measurements)
Products ordered online might arrive late, damaged, or it may not even be the same exact product mentioned in the product description
No Accounting for Experience
Hiring an Expert to Purchase your Flooring can Save you Headaches
With any kind of in-home remodeling work, a customer buying their own materials can be problematic, but this is particularly an issue when it comes to flooring (our expertise).
Flooring can be a very finicky type of product. Often, a specialist’s inside knowledge is required to decide which products are reliable and worth the investment, something customers can overlook or are unaware of.
Knowing details, such as which manufacturers produce reliable products or what type of information should be listed in the fine print to indicate a trustworthy product, are tools of the trade that make a contractor with years of experience invaluable.
The Quality Conundrum: How Online Shopping Complicates Quality…and Costs
Misunderstandings are prone to happen especially in large-scale jobs, such as a full home remodel that may entail gutting a floor down to the foundation to completely redo it.
From a customer’s perspective, it might seem like a matter of simply ripping out the existing floors and swapping it out with another floor covering, say, switching carpet to hardwood. But a contractor knows that this is a layered process–not only will costs be incurred to provide the top-level flooring, but likely, there will be changes needed on the lower levels as well.
It might take foundational changes to support the new hardwood because the old subfloor may not be level or needs repairs to support the new install. Certain types of flooring may not work for the type of subfloor found in the particular room being redone.
The level of moisture found in the room in question may also require a certain type of floor that is more suitable for higher levels of moisture.
The needs and complexities of the remodeling job can be compounded when an owner attempts to shoulder part of the process. The customer finding flooring that cuts down the cost might sound like a good idea, especially in a situation like online shopping.
It should be perfect, right? It’s actually quite difficult to verify quality online, much less to confirm that the product is builder-certified. Quality comes at a price, so if a supposedly high quality product is sold at a cheap price, it might be too good to be true. This has been seen in recent years with a larger, big-box retailer and high formaldehyde levels found in their cheap laminate flooring.
If the price is too low, the flooring product is most likely composed of cheap and low quality alternatives. An unreliable product provided to the remodelers will likely result in more headache for the laborers as well as the homeowner, as shoddy performance adds up to issues in the construction process.
As Advertised – Or Not?
Shopping online can pose problems in more ways than the quality conundrum. Sometimes, the issue isn’t that the quality of the material itself is bad, but rather, that there are issues with the distributor. This can manifest in a few ways.
The first possible issue that can arise with third-party distributors is that they may or may not be knowledgeable in the proper ways to ship the material. Contractors and remodelers of all types are familiar with this scenario: the customer has ordered materials online to save time or money, but when it arrives, it is packaged improperly, resulting in damage to the product. The time that is lost waiting for the distributor to send the materials without damaging them can completely derail the schedule of a remodel process, inconveniencing customers and contractors alike. This is assuming that the materials shipped on time to begin with, because late-arriving materials are much more common with online distributors than with industry-certified distributors.
More simply, sometimes the materials shipped simply do not match the description that the product had online. This seemingly insignificant issue can cause massive problems depending on the scale of the remodeling process. A floor that is off-color might disagree with furniture purchased for a remodel, causing a minor detail to snowball into a series of problems that add up to a giant headache. Working directly with contractors to agree on the materials used can spare a lot of strain in the long run, eliminating problems such as inaccurate products or broken goods.
Material Measurements & Misconceptions Lead to Imperfect Projects:
How you can Fall SHORT by Buying your own Remodeling Materials
In addition to the misconceptions that can occur between the contractor’s and the customer’s expectations in quality and cost, another issue is the amount of material to be purchased.
This is something of a contentious subject in the contracting world. A common situation would be a customer who has pre-measured the space that they’ll be renovating, and has calculated their costs based on those exact measurements.
However, flooring materials are shipped in bulk amounts, not exact quantities. The extra material goes toward cutting/resizing, as well as materials for future maintenance, so it isn’t an empty cost. But to customers who don’t know that side of the story, these extra costs can seem sneaky and backhanded.
Trusting Contractors & Flooring Stores
Of course, the differences in customer and laborer mindsets exist in most industries. It could happen in any situation; there’s a quintessential gap in the customer’s expertise and that of the contractors. That’s part of the basis for their business interaction in the first place, after all!
Customers are within their rights to believe that some companies overcharge, and some certainly do. That means that it’s more important than anything to make sure that the businesses you are dealing with have proper licensing, a deep level of expertise and good reviews.
The most constructive projects will always be those with a strong degree of communication and understanding, or the types of issues outlined in the opening of this article can start to crop up. Customers and contractors alike are far better off with an agreed-upon set of rules that dictate how the remodeling process goes. And more than anything, it’s important that customers choose businesses that have good reputations, businesses which can be trusted to do their job without any nickle and diming. Without trust, the remodeling and installation process is going to be a strain on everybody involved.
Many contractors and remodelers are moving towards a “no customer-provided materials” model of business to lessen the problems that can occur from this type of misunderstanding.
For both owners and workers alike, it is very important to establish this clarity. Trust in your contractor is a must, and that means trusting their cost, labor, and the choice of materials they use. After all, you wouldn’t tell a doctor which materials to use! The same should be true for any kind of specialist.
Slaughterbeck Floors is a Choice You Can Trust
Slaughterbeck Floors has been providing trustworthy flooring and remodeling services to the Santa Clara Valley for over 30 years. Expertise and reliability is what we specialize in.
We sport a 5-star rating on Houzz and a 4.5 star rating on Yelp, a testament to our longtime relationship of success and collaboration with our customers.
Unlike amateur contractors who may make errors in judgement or cut corners themselves, our services come with over 30 years of experience in the business and our team is composed of experts who are prepared to provide premium service at a reasonable cost.
Customers may sometimes take the matter of cost into their own hands, but it’s better to get in contact with a business that brings this level of value without making the homeowner sweat. If you are in need of floor remodeling, there’s no need to fret; Slaughterbeck Floors provides professional services with a guarantee of quality – that’s “quality you can stand on!”