Reasons Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Buy the Materials for Your Home Remodel Yourself

José R. Mendoza
Written by José R. Mendoza
Updated November 17, 2021
white and grey house in the neighborhood
Carlos Miguel -

Buying your own construction materials may seem like a bargain, but it comes with its own risks

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Remodeling your house is not only exciting, but it’s an effective way to increase the value of your home, especially if you are renovating your kitchen or bathroom. But these projects can be pricey upfront, and if money is on your mind, you’re probably looking for ways to cut costs, including sourcing home renovation materials yourself. 

However, buying your own construction materials for your home remodel has its pros and cons. Sometimes, the best option is to let your home remodel contractor take care of everything, including the materials. Other times, taking on the job of buying the construction materials yourself will be the best fit. We’ll help you make the call.

Pros of Buying Your Construction Materials Yourself

There are many benefits to buying your own construction materials, like having a greater selection to choose from, access to potential sales, and the flexibility to purchase second-hand materials.

You Can Shop Around for the Best Discounts

When you buy your construction materials, you can shop around at big box stores and local hardware stores that can offer you great prices, especially when shopping in big bundles. 

You can also take advantage of big sales, especially during summer holidays specials. Remember that delivery times may be delayed given the influx of orders retailers get, so you need to factor that around your home project. 

Researching online and in-person is a key factor when finding the right kind of materials and price for your project. If you enjoy these two activities, this could be a great option for you.

You Can Select From a Wider Variety of Product Options

father and son shopping for wood

You may open yourself up to a broader range of options that your local general contractor may not be able to offer since they may only work with specific brands or products. Therefore, you have more products to compare. Plus, if you want to focus on shopping green, you can choose to buy second-hand materials and products that can save you money.  

Of course, if you want to use a particular type of material or focus on sustainability, these are all things you can discuss with your pro before hiring if you’re not set on buying materials yourself.

You Can Do Comparison Shopping

Since you are in charge of buying the materials in this scenario, you can get multiple prices from different stores and request multiple estimates from local pros. Then, you can compare apples to apples and find the best materials deal and most qualified contractor for the work. Note that not every contractor will be willing to work with you if you buy your own materials, so make sure you are upfront with them.

You Can Reuse or Return Unused Materials

If you realize that you ended up buying more than what you needed at the end of your project, you can use the leftover materials for a different project or return them to your local store when applicable.

Cons of Buying Your Own Construction Materials

You should also be aware of some downsides, including that you are responsible for anything that potentially goes wrong with your materials by default. If you run out of supplies, it is your job to get the supplies promptly so you don’t delay the project.

Not All Contractors May Work With You

Many contractors may decide not to get involved with homeowners who choose to buy their own materials since they want to back both the labor and materials. This factor can limit who you can hire.

You Are on the Hook if Anything Goes Wrong

Once you buy your own construction materials, you are solely responsible for any damage, missing, or incomplete materials, which can lead to delays in your home remodel project. Your contractor will only be accountable for their labor.

You’ll Spend Time Shopping

It takes time and knowledge to know what kind of supplies you need and how many materials to buy. Be prepared to spend several hours doing research and even more time visiting stores in person. A pro, on the other hand, knows what they need and where to find it.

You Lose Out on the Pro’s Expertise

There is a reason you hire a professional contractor: their expertise. When you buy your own supplies, you may not easily realize you are buying defective materials or the wrong sizes until it is too late, which can add to the price tag instead of saving you money. Plus, you may waste some valuable time.

You Can’t Take Advantage of Special Deals for Contractors

Some contractors get special discounts from their preferred home improvement stores, which normally get carried over to you. However, some contractors may charge you for the labor and time involved in researching and placing the order of the construction materials, which can result in a break-even in regards to cost.

How to Buy Construction Materials Yourself

If you have decided to pursue this option and not let your general contractor buy the materials for you, you will need to:

  • Hire a local general contractor who agrees to you buying the construction materials

  • Measure the work area multiple times

  • Account for any defective materials

  • Cross-reference your materials list with your general contractor

  • Let your local pro buy special materials like wood, tiles, plumbing needs, and electrical supplies

  • Focus on buying appliances and light fixtures, which most contractors prefer since they are standard products and won’t affect the building process

  • Get and compare at least three estimates for materials and labor and labor only from the contractors you are considering working with

  • Ask your contractor if they can price match the same materials and quality you have found elsewhere

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