How do I choose products & materials for my home?

Learn why quality is the most important factor in choosing products for your home.
Product selection is one of the biggest factors in staying within your budget. The products you choose will determine the final cost of the job. But cost is not the most important factor in choosing products — quality is.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the number of choices you face when you start collecting pictures of appliances, materials, fixtures, windows, etc. How can you tell if the product is reliable and if it will last?

It can be difficult having to choose just one item that will not only fit within your budget and the style of the room, but also work with your other product choices. This is when the advice of a professional can be invaluable.

Below are some of the many considerations to keep in mind when choosing materials for your project:
  • Price is not always an indication of quality. Judge each product individually and do not use price as a factor in determining quality.

  • If you have a question about the life of the product or its effectiveness, talk to your remodeler. If he or she cannot help you, seek advice from professional showrooms or from the manufacturer of the product.

  • Don't make uninformed decisions about a product -- find out what it has to offer over other choices available.

  • Divide the cost of an item by its anticipated longevity to figure the annual cost. An expensive product that will last for 20 years may be a better choice than an inexpensive product that will only last five years. Product life should be a factor in your selection process.

  • Ask about manufacturer guarantees and service options available on each product choice. Some offers are definitely better than others. Written copies of manufacturer warranties should be available from your contractor.

  • Talk to your contractor about which product will best suit your needs. Some materials wear better than others in given circumstances. For example, painted surfaces might chip and peel more in a humid environment like the bathroom. Your contractor will be able to guide you toward the best choice for your lifestyle and environment.

  • Some products have internal parts which may or may not be replaceable. Ask your contractor about the maintenance and repair costs for each of your product choices. You don't want to spend a lot of money on a fixture that can't be repaired down the road.
Some products are better investments than others in adding to the resale value of your home. Your contractor should be able to offer an opinion on whether a specific product is a good choice for particular situation.

Source: National Association for the Remodeling Industry (NARI)

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