Finishing Basement - Question

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Posted by: from Georgetown
1/6/2012 at 6:07:45 AM


When finishing a basement, is it generally cheaper to have the contractor buy all the materials, or is it a good idea for me to keep an eye out for flooring, lighting, etc. on sale at a retail store (like Home Depot) and buy it myself? If i bought my own flooring, would a contractor install it for me as part of a job where they finished my basement, or would contractors have a problem with this?

I understand that contractors can sometimes get discounts on materials, but I also see lots of sales on at Home Depot, etc. I'm looking at medium-grade materials for my job, (particularly laminate flooring) - would this be something a contrator would get a better deal on than a good sale at Home Depot? How much of a discount do they generally get?

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Date/Time1/6/2012 at 10:40:56 AM

Hello Gegg,

Good questions and a difficult one to answer because it will depend on the type of contractor you have.

In most cases a contractor recives better pricing from suppliers because they deal with them on a regular basis. Now this will depend on how much your contract is marking up the material but generally the price to you is still cheaper then what you would be able to get it for.

Also if you purchase material such as flooring you will be responsible for the material warranty so if you have any problems you will have to workout if it is a material warranty issue or an installations issue.

If you are doing any part of your project on a time and material type contract I reccomend that you negotiate a mark-up % on material and have them give you a photocopy of the receipts.

I hope this will help.


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Date/Time1/7/2012 at 7:03:15 AM

Hi Greg,

A lot of my clients supply their own materials to a certain degree. I dont waste my time choosing light fixtures or bath fixtures, I don't know their tastes, so I point them in the right direction as to what products will work best for them. When it comes to rough in materials I choose- I once had a client supply all framing material, which were all economy studs. I informed him that he had a decent load of kindling but that I would not frame with the garbage he supplied. He was okay with it- he just didn't know.

Also, if the contractor supplies material you can be sure they will use the best products suited to the job, and not because it was "on sale". The contractor will have better control over delivery times also; you dont need the flooring in the way if you are boarding the walls/ceilings.

Also you want to make sure you put a fairly good quality laminate in the basement as basements tend to have moisture issues.

Good luck.

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Mark from CMJ Renovations in Oakville
Date/Time1/8/2012 at 10:07:49 AM

Hi Gregg,

The days of the contractors getting hugh discounts are gone, with the likes of Home Depot many people are getting fixtures for the same price as the contractor as these companies drive the prices lower.

As Bill stated when you are finishing your basement you should hire the contractor that allows you to pick out your fixture. The contractor should give you a price based on lumber drywall, eltrical, rough plumbing finishing etc. You should supply your contactor with a list of the vanity, faucet, toilet etc as opposed to you walking into your bathroom one evening and finding terrible fixtures.

The reason you need to supply the contractor with the items you are buying is to ensure they are good quality, often customers may bring you an item that you will not install as you may have had a previous bad experince with quality etc.

If a contractor gives you a price saying it is this much and he will take care of it for you I suggest you ask for a list of the items he is installing to ensure it is what you wish for

Good Luck

Mark McCormack.. CMJ Renovations

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Herbert from Bert'll Do It in Mississauga
Date/Time1/10/2012 at 2:24:26 PM

Mark is right. There really are no significant price differences for contractors. When hiring a contractor to build or renovate YOUR home he should provide the quality workmanship to the installation of your chosen materials and give you advise as to the materials you want.

It is a service industry and we contractors have to provide the best service possible.

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Robert from ElecTriLight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time1/20/2012 at 11:57:30 AM

Oh the amount of times I have had to return lighting fixtures.... Funny how even door bells seemed to have joined that category as well.


Electrilight Ltd

Electrical services.

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Shawn from Arrow Contracting in Vaughan
Date/Time2/1/2012 at 10:52:32 AM

Most Contractors pay the same price as our customers with a few exceptions. Walk in to any Home Depot, Rona or Lowes Mon - Fri during business hours and you will see what I mean. From our suppliers we are often able to get some type of a Contractor discount which allows us to pass off some savings to our clients but for the most part the suppliers are as much or more than the big box stores. Buying Power.

I can't speak for everyone but we have no issues with our clients purchasing their own fixtures and or flooring. Often they have purchased the items prior to hiring. We have found that these customers tend to know what they want which is fantastic, or they are extremely price aware and have slowly purchased items required during sales to ease to cost of the renovation.

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