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Top 5 Questions To Ask When Shopping for Building Materials

When a project requires a certain building material, you need the right information to choose the right products. If you are working on a deadline and/or a budget, you also need to identify the best value quickly so you can get back to your construction job. That is why coming to the store armed with the right questions is key. Here are 5 of the most useful questions to ask when you go building materials shopping. 

What is the building product made of?

The materials that make up any building product can tell you quite a bit about its longevity, price, aesthetic, and overall suitability for your project. That is why you should be clear on an item’s makeup before you buy it.

For example, if you want to purchase insulation, you or your customer may want to avoid the inhalation hazards of fiberglass. If you are buying drywall for a bathroom, you may want to make sure the product you purchase is mold resistant. 

Here are additional considerations that may make it important to know what materials go into your construction supplies:

  • Aesthetic – Your clients may want a certain look.
  • Consistency – Your clients may want to match their new product with an existing look (e.g. roof shingles). 
  • Sustainability – If eco-friendliness is a priority, sustainable products may be important to source. 
  • Longevity – You may need a certain material to ensure your product lasts a certain period of time.
  • Cost – You may need to invest in materials that give you value for your dollar. 
  • Climate – The climate in South Texas, with hot and humid summers and mild winters, may also guide our materials choice. You’ll need something that withstand the heat and humidity, but will have fewer concerns about a material’s ability to withstand the cold. 

How long will the material last?

Longevity Is, rightfully, a major concern when buying building materials. Customers want their investment in a roof, room, or home to pay them back with many years of beauty and functionality. In addition, they may not want to invest time or money into ongoing maintenance in order to keep a substandard product in good condition. 

That means finding materials that will last, even when exposed to the elements (Like the humidity of a South Texas summer), moisture (Such as is often present in bathrooms), or other challenges (Such as direct sunlight) that could potentially shorten the life of lower-quality materials. 

There are a couple of considerations when judging a building product’s longevity. One is the material from which the product is made. High-quality materials lead to a longer-lasting product. 

The second is the warranty offered on the building materials. Roofing shingles, for example, usually have warranties of at least 25 years. Anything shorter may force you to reconsider purchasing that particular item. The longer the warranty, the more confidence you and your client will have that the building materials you buy will last. 

How easy is the material to install?

Installation of the building materials you purchase may also be a consideration in your purchasing decisions. Some products are more complicated to add to your construction project than others. For example, spray foam insulation requires more time, expertise, and precautions than installation of blown insulation. 

When going building materials shopping, you should make sure that the products you buy fit your installation needs. Whether you are comfortable undertaking a complex installation project or prefer something less complex, the right materials will meet your comfort level so that adding them to your project does not delay your deadlines or detract from the overall quality of your work. 

How much does the material cost?

Cost is always an important consideration when buying building materials. You or your client may be operating on a budget that requires careful consideration of price before you invest in any shingles, lumber, insulation, or other item. 

However tight your budget, however, the cheapest materials are rarely the ones that will best fit your project. Instead, you should consider cost alongside other aspects of your project, such as the following: 

  • Aesthetic – Does it fit the look you need? 
  • Longevity – Will it last as long as you need it to? 
  • Quality – Is it a high-quality and reliable product? 
  • Installation – Will it fit your installation needs? 
  • Functionality – Will it work the way you need it to? 
  • Availability – Is it readily available so you do not miss project deadlines waiting for it to arrive? 

Often, choosing building materials requires you to balance all of the aspects of your project with the price. The best purchases are those which allow you to obtain high-quality, long-lasting items at an affordable price. 

Another consideration regarding the cost of the supplies you purchase is whether you can access financing options to make paying for your materials easier over time. Reasonable payment plans, particularly those that are interest-free, can make the right products more financially feasible. 

What are the shipping and handling costs?

One often overlooked consideration that is often overlooked when building materials shopping is the added shipping and handling costs. Paying for shipping and handling can significantly increase the overall cost of the building materials you purchase. 

Before you buy, make sure that you understand the total cost of your product, including having it delivered. A full picture of your costs will help you determine which products fit within your budget and which do not. 

Purchasing building materials is a simpler process when you ask the right questions, and when you purchase from a friendly, professional, and efficient supplier like Elephant Building Materials. Our materials are always in stock. Our staff are always ready to answer your questions, and our pay, load, and go approach simplifies the process and keeps your projects running on time. Call, text, or stop in today to learn more!


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