Author Topic: Where/How to buy building material  (Read 3682 times)

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Offline Kiwi55

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Where/How to buy building material
« on: January 28, 2010, 11:58:20 AM »
This question is a little late, I've already completed the framing and sheathing.

So far I have bought material from the big box stores as I need it. I'm sure I paid more than if I had bought all the
framing at once.

Now I'm starting to look at windows. I'd like a better quality than the off the floor stuff at Lowes or HD (American Crafsman etc).

HD does have some Andersen 400 series window on the shelf but I'd have to order most of waht I need (and by the way I have not settled on Andersen at this point)

So where is the best place (in general, I'm not asking for a specific store) to buy material such as windows?

Do you get a better price at the local hardware/lumber stores?
Is it better to order direct?
Can you even do this if your a DIY'er?
Are there other options I'm not thinking of?

Note, this question is not just related to windows, there is lots of other material I still need. Some will still be best from the big box store as I can buy smaller quantities as I need/can afford.


Offline John_M

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Re: Where/How to buy building material
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 12:12:45 PM »
You need to be persistent...but I would check Craigslist! is short...enjoy the ride!!

Offline rocking23nf

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Re: Where/How to buy building material
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2010, 12:24:37 PM »
I got my windows at homedepot, they order from the manufactures and can order any kind that you want.

Big box stores arent necessarly overpriced. They tend to give 10% off on large orders, and free delivery, and beat the price of any competiter.

I would look at the flyers for 2-3 building companies every week, then find items on sale, and get home depot to beat it.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: Where/How to buy building material
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2010, 01:54:39 PM »
We compared window availability, as far as type of frame, glass, u-factor and colors (frame) at HD, Lowe's and two local building material suppliers, plus a door/window specialty company.  When the dust settled we bought from Lowe's as for us it was the best combination of features and cost.

We bought the basic materials for the shell from the local Ace hardware / lumber dealer. Delivered on site for $50. It was a much better deal than buying piecemeal.

I have also bought a lot of finish materials as I needed it though, mainly because of no place to store it for lengths of time.

I was also fortunate at one point, in that we had a brand new Lowe's open up. They had the most wonderful assortment of fine straight lumber in their new stock.  :D
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline poppy

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Re: Where/How to buy building material
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2010, 02:03:09 PM »
I second the motion on craigslist; that's where I got most of my windows so far.

Building supply auctions is another source.  Check

If you are leaning towards white vinyl clad it really opens up the options.

Offline bayview

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Re: Where/How to buy building material
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2010, 03:35:50 PM »

   I purchased my windows and doors at Lowes.  I found the low-e vinyl windows were just what I needed.  I used what they had in stock . . . Hoping that the parts would be easier to obtain later if I had a problem.  Like a broken window pane . . .

   Lumber at Lowes was better quality and actually less expensive than my home town lumber yard.  I prefer to "hand pick" my lumber. 

   I had previously ordered 24' trusses from Lowes.  They were made well - I did have a little excitement bringing them home on a 16' trailer . . .

    . . . said the focus was safety, not filling town coffers with permit money . . .

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Where/How to buy building material
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2010, 10:09:34 PM »
Big box stores are not always cheaper than the local lumberyard either.
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Offline Choosingapath

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Re: Where/How to buy building material
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2010, 10:52:30 PM »
HI all I am a NEWBIE on this site but I own a dollar type value store in Victoria BC Canada. The one thing I do know is how to buy things but I am still learning every day.
I just built a 2 1/2 story post and beam outside Victoria using my "dollar store" experience. I couldn't afford the "normal way" of construction and the bank said I couldn't do it but I did ( I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE TELL ME I CAN"T DO SOMETHING !!)  I will post pictures when I am no longer a "Newbie" lol
My 2 cents worth,
Choose a plan that is modifiable, buy a building a local building code book(AND LEARN IT OR AT LEAST REFER TO IT) Scrounge, always watch and buy bulk.
I chose post and beam because for me it was LESS EXPENSIVE. Look at the big picture. A post and beam frame is the frame and you can change window and door sizes etc relatively easy. I bought an 8' x 36" x2 or double out swing, wood, metal clad, insulated all coatings, french doors that were custom ordered but never delivered from a local lumber yard for $350.00 WITH FRAMES and 2 other matching oddball size doors. These would retail here for at least 3k ... and I could never afford that!! I had to keep asking the manager every few times I was in over a period of 6 months when were they going to sell those doors. They had probably been there for over a year before they finally sold them to me and they wanted them gone that day. This same lumber yard got to know me because I went in and noticed they had a bunch of Iko Polyiso 4'x8' x 3.3" faced rigid insulation(R20) including some "marginal"  or edge damaged totaling over 3000 square feet. I talked to a contractor sales rep and said I wanted EVERYTHING, the good and the bad. He told me the computer said they didn't have any so they must not have any. I went and found a manger(who I later got to know) and walked him to the pallets then pointed out the insulation hiding 30' up at the top of the pallet racking. I said I wanted his best deal and I would take everything. I ended up buying over 9000sq feet of pre-ordered not picked up Hardi plank and board that had been primed, over 3000 sq feet of polyiso insulation plus a bunch of miscellaneous for under 10k a savings of 50-75% of retail here at the time. I paid the same amount for the Hardi plank/sheets as if I had gone to Home Depot but I had enough for 2 or 3 houses and I traded/sold some of the extra. The secret is to make it easy for the store to get rid of there excess or unwanted inventory. I NEVER complain or go back with any broken stuff and they know it. They APPRECIATE what I am doing because I make it as easy for them as possible to get rid of extra inventory. Of course I make sure I buy EVERYTHING and pay what I am willing to pay to cover my breakage. I always look at it backwards, if it cost 5k for something that is my budget and if I can get twice as much for that amount I am still ahead. Does that make sense?
I also frequented the usual places like the local Restore and bought stuff online.
I picked up a 42" whirlpool tub for free but had my guys remove it, $30 labor and me taking a truck over.
I bought Milgard wood clad, fiberglass, insulated windows with all the coatings localy after I found the best price online. The building supply place didn't even blink when they matched prices and my cost was under 20k instead of over 30k. THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY!!
I made a list of the big ticket items because it talkes the same ammount of time to save a nickel or save 5k if that makes sense. ie kitchen cabinets, siding, roofing ( I bought 8000sq feet of fiberglass from a shipping company for less than half price) flooring, lights etc
Get to know the manager(s) if possible. I got to know a local Home Depot Contractor sales manager and even they offered me pallets of lights from there clearance section for another huge discount.
I should also mention that I have an acreage.... PEOPLE like me should not have an acreage : )
Sorry for the long winded first post but I LOVE TO BUY DEALS and could almost write a book on it !!!

Offline twize

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Re: Where/How to buy building material
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2010, 06:08:26 AM »
I'm a newbie too here too but I've been scrounging for materials for the past year or so.  I make my weekly stop at HD looking for clearance items and check Lowes only occasionally because they don't seem to discount as much.  Last fall I scooped up on a lot of plumbing/electrical fixtures by checking the end of aisle racks.  Seems like once the building season is over they try to liquidate for the coming year's new stuff.  I also check Craig's list daily, usually twice. Here in Alaska choices are limited but I find that for buying general framing supplies I prefer HD and for finish materials I like Lowes.  The prices between the two are almost identical on 90% of everything.  Occasionally the smaller company's customer service and knowledge is more important than big box prices.  I've estimated windows from HD, Lowes, SBS and a local company in Fairbanks and the first three don't come close to the small local company for quality or price.  Up here, windows engineered for the lower 48 just won't cut it when you're going for energy efficiency.  Hope this helps.


Offline MikeOnBike

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Re: Where/How to buy building material
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 07:02:20 PM »
I just finished renovating a flooded house.  When I started I went to a local building supply and told them what I would be shopping for and asked them what they could do for me on pricing.  They gave me their contractor price (I'm not a contractor) which saved me 15%-20% on most items.  I still picked up some things at a big box when they were on sale.  If your shopping for 5, 10 or 15K of materials you should be able to get a good volume discount.

When we start the cabin project this spring I'm going back to the local building supply to get bids on materials.  I'll compare it to the big box but I suspect it will be a better price.


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