Buying bulding materials" HD\Lowes vs. Builders Suppliers

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In spring I am starting building big addition. I wonder how HD\Lowes stand in building materials (lumber, house wrap, subfloor plywood, OSB sheathing, roofing shingles, insulation, drywall and other) vs. independent custom specialized builders suppliers. I mean in price, availability of relatively large quantities needed to build big addition. I guess both HD and Lowes deliver.
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ls02 wrote:

Where I live, there are HD, Rona and independent lumber yard building supply house. Price is comparable, independent house has best service. We'll see Lowe coming to our city in the new year.
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It depends entirely on where you live & who the store managers are of each store. I have several HDs & several Lowe's to chose from and each is a different store on every count.[price, availability & service]

All lumberyards deliver, as far as I've seen. If I were building an addition, I would get my plans & materials list together and go visit the few private yards that are left in our area- and *maybe* make a separate list without dimension lumber to show HD & Lowe's. Unless I need one or 2 pieces, have loads of time to pick the piles, and am going there anyway, I never buy dimension lumber from the big box stores.
Do it now! Sit down with the guy and discuss what you're doing and get a feel for who wants your business most.
Jim
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To my knowledge, no reasonable sized contractors use HD or Lowes.
Many around here obviously get better deals (in volume) by dealing with REAL lumber yards such as Foxworth- Galbraith http://foxgal.com / and Johnson-Manley. When I was contracting out my homes, I used the real "where the builders buy" places in my towns VS HD/ Lowes type big box stores. They gave me better prices than the big boxes anyway. You can often get the 'trades price' by going in and speaking to the head guy in the office and setting up an account. Names in your state may vary.
This is the place to get your drywall supplies: http://www.winroc.com /
HD sells 1/2" sheets in 8's 10's and 12's. Winroc sells 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8"..regular board, (exterior) brown board, green board, cement board, ceiling (stiffer) board & firerock and in 7's 8's 9's 10's 12's 14's and 16's. The "pro's have a far better variety of everything at what I find are competitive or better prices.
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I think you left out one factor: Quality (at least for lumber)
I personally have never built anything where I need a lot of lumber, so I can deal with sifting through the piles at HD to find a few good pieces, but most of what they have looks like crap to me. (Or maybe I'm too picky.)
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Larry Fishel wrote:

No, you're not. But you can't blame the big-boxes completely. On the north american continent, at least here in the lower 48, we have done used up most of the easy-to-harvest good wood, other than what is in protected lands. Commonly known as old growth, what mother nature planted. You want good wood, it has to come from way far north, now. I compare the wood in this 1960 house from where I have changed a few things, to the stack of 'white wood' 2x4s I bought at Lowes, for a project where I didn't use them after all, and there is no comparision. The 1960 stuff is close grained, and with age, is hard as a rock. You have to drill pilot holes to nail into it. The new stuff has real wide rings, and is very soft. I had to go through half a pile to find 8 semi-straight ones without gaping knots.
If russia ever gets their act together and starts lumbering Siberia and selling it in container-ship lots, they will have a good steady cash flow. Some of the country there has never been logged, and other parts have lain fallow for 50 years at a time.
-- aem sends...
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On 12/13/2009 13:55, aemeijers wrote:

Why not? When they order lumber they specify what quality they want. A lumberyard knows folks who buy there know what it is all about and aren't going to insult them by ordering big box quality lumber making them sift through piles to find a few good pieces.
On the

You can get good lumber at a real lumberyard. I will give you an example I mentioned before. I was building a deck so I sent the bill of materials to a local real lumberyard. They called back and told me the amount and I told them where to find the check.
They delivered my order and every piece was good. My neighbor is totally trained by home depot that they are his friend and even though it is 15 miles away he has to run to "the depot" for everything. He saw the quality of the lumber that was delivered and remarked "you must have been at the depot all day picking this out". You would think that I told him a carrot was growing out of his nose when I told him I had it delivered sight unseen and it cost less than "the depot".

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On Sun, 13 Dec 2009 10:20:36 -0800 (PST), Larry Fishel

No you're not. You owe it to yourself to go to a real lumberyard one day. Ask the guy out in the yard to show you what select lumber really looks like. Check out a pile of 12' long 1x6 pressure treated with 2-3 tight knots in the length- and nary a twist or warp.
Look at a pile of cedar 4x4s that stays together even after the banding is released.
Show up for a dozen 2x4x8s 7 just throw them in your truck without having to sight down each one and discard most of them. . . .
Ah, the pleasures of seeing *real* select lumber. And because they really care- sometimes it is even cheaper than the big box crap.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

I always figured buying wood in HD or Lowes was like buying steak at the Acme - you'd get choice but not prime ;)
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ls02 wrote:

We have orange and blue and red big boxers here. The local red started as a local hardware/lumber store, however, and this being PNW, carries high quality lumber from local mills. Orange and blue both ship in crap from down south and God only knows where.
Prices are pretty much a wash, some items are higher, some items are lower.
I shop a lot at orange cuz they're a lot closer, but if I've got any lumber to buy, I go red.
I avoid blue like the plague.
Jon
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Depends on your local stores.
I know of one instance where a fellow built a two story commercial building. He priced the material as HD and a local store. The local store was $800 more but he figures he saved money. The difference was service.
HD wanted to make one big delivery. The local guy made a delivery every few days so there was less handling of material. He figures the quality was better so less waste and less time culling. The local place was 1/4 mile away the big store was 20 miles so if you needed an item quick, big time savings.
There is much more to value than price alone. Shop wisely.
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I do not have time to sift through every stud. I need apprximately 200 2 X 4, 40 sheets of subfloor plywood, yet to count # of sheathing, rools of insulation, etc. So I would like to order what I need in bulk and have it delivered to my house. How do I evaluate quality of materials in bulk? I bought in past a lot of lumber at HD. They have both good studs and bad (twisted, broken, etc.) in a bunch and I always sifted through to select good ones. But I never neeeded realy a lot of materials. And I always rented a HD trcuk to deliver it. HD is less then 2 miles from my house, Lowes is 4 miles. I am trying to find most practical and economical way to get building stuff I need. Aslo what's is very important I can always return to HD/Lowes extra stuff left.
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I do not have time to sift through every stud. I need apprximately 200 2 X 4, 40 sheets of subfloor plywood, yet to count # of sheathing, rools of insulation, etc. So I would like to order what I need in bulk and have it delivered to my house. How do I evaluate quality of materials in bulk? I bought in past a lot of lumber at HD. They have both good studs and bad (twisted, broken, etc.) in a bunch and I always sifted through to select good ones. But I never neeeded realy a lot of materials. And I always rented a HD trcuk to deliver it. HD is less then 2 miles from my house, Lowes is 4 miles. I am trying to find most practical and economical way to get building stuff I need. Aslo what's is very important I can always return to HD/Lowes extra stuff left.
***********************************************************************
I think you'll be very happy doing what you do best, making trips to HD/Lowes rather than deal with a real lumber yard that appreciates your business and give personalized service.
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ls02 wrote:

If there is any new construction in your area, drive by and see whose trucks are delivering, or whose brand name is on the house wrap. That will tell you who the real contractors are buying from. In the current big-box era, there are likely no more than 1 or 2 independent lumberyards withing plausible distance to you anyway. (The only people that can afford to haul material from nearest Big City to get volume discount, are the ones putting up multiple houses at once.) Take your plans and/or materials takeoff list in, go to the contractor desk, and ask for a package price, with the bundles delivered as needed, in the right order. If you can show a bank letter of credit, they may even be willing to open an account for you, to simplify any 'oops, forgot this' items. And as long as the material is clean and uncut, and not damaged, most yards will take back any full-pack leftovers. A traditional yard will expect to have a place to drop banded bundles of material, so expect to have a non-flooding spot the truck can back up to ready, with skids to put under it, and a tarp to cover if needed. Breaking the bundles and stacking inside out of the weather is your problem. If drywall is involved, they can crane it off the truck to a first or second story window opening, if you have the bodies there to catch it. For shingles, pay for roof delivery.
-- aem sends...
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..
Thank you for the info. I will try to talk to a couple of lumber yards. A couple of them are within 5 miles radius from my house. I have a fundamental question though. I do I know if building stuff I get from lumberyard is btter then what I can get from HD? I am not a pro but I saw houses build built/additionas put with the same GP plywood, the same Tyvek, the same JM insulation. I cannot speak about lumber but I guess if it is straight does it really mater what supplier it came from? I am just saying that uless I do not see something, fundamental building stuff is the same, regardless if it came from HD or local lumberyard.
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ls02 wrote:

I've had challenges simply finding straight dimensional lumber at my local HD for small projects (I'm guessing that they don't ever cull the crappy warped boards, so over time that ends up being all that's set out) if I were buying large quantities I wouldn't even try. Hopefully things are better in your neck of the woods. The lumberyards that sell to contractors should know better though and not send warped boards to a job site, they will just get sent back if the contractor cares at all about quality.
nate
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I think your mind is made up already.
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Thank you for the info. I will try to talk to a couple of lumber yards. A couple of them are within 5 miles radius from my house. I have a fundamental question though. I do I know if building stuff I get from lumberyard is btter then what I can get from HD? I am not a pro but I saw houses build built/additionas put with the same GP plywood, the same Tyvek, the same JM insulation. I cannot speak about lumber but I guess if it is straight does it really mater what supplier it came from? I am just saying that uless I do not see something, fundamental building stuff is the same, regardless if it came from HD or local lumberyard.
What I have found is using BOTH is the best....I agree to a certain point about contractor yards having somewhat better lumber...Well not really better , The wood all comes from Canada , they just toss aside the crap and Homedepot lets it sit around...For lumber and drywall or other things to bulky to haul it is usually bettter to use the contractor yards even if it's a little more...Delivery makes it worth it...BUT for joint compound , insulation , ect. I go to the Homedepot to save money....2.00 a pail on joint compound for example...So it isn't an either or situation...Use both...HTH....
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You sound like the typical "big box" warrior. Do your buying at the big box and be happy. Fellas that make their living doing this stuff have already suggested making a good relationship with a real lumber yard would probably be more beneficial in the long run. If you're worried about taking back 2 extra 2x4's, don't shop at the real lumber yard.
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.
I am not sure what ytou mean by "be more beneficial in the long run". I am not going to build anything big in next probably 30 years. What I worry about is now. If I call local lumber yard and quote them for a XYZ 2 X 4. Besides price how do I compare them to HD/Lowes?
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