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jay_sack

Tips to save some bucks on new home construction

Jay S
June 19, 2019

Hello Guys,


I'm constructing a new house in CT. I'd like to get some wiggle room to absorb the 15% or so unforeseen costs. My aim is to save between 10-15K to get a little breathing room. I'm here to get some tips on what to do and where to look at. I talked to people around me and at work and got some good suggestions.


One quick point is that, the builder is my aunt's friend and due to this personal connection, he will let me buy my own appliances ($7000.00), light ($4000) and plumbing fixtures ($7500), flooring (hardwood, $22000), kitchen cabinets ($180000), vanity sink, etc. I have to deliver the stuff to him and he will install it for me. My local store is also offering countertop installation for free.


So far, below are the points I got to save some money.

  • Do online shopping. There are so many options and great deals available, especially for fixtures
  • Talk to local stores for bargain, discontinued stock, deals, clearing sale, etc
  • Talk to the builder and get builder-discounts at some stores
  • Use basic standard stuff and upgrade later, especially appliances
  • A wild suggestion from a co-worker: Use no -interest-for-2-years credit card to buy some of the stuff instead of charging it to construction loan. Once you finish the project, then you get some time to make the credit card payment. This is not really saving anything for me. Just a suggestion to defer the initial burden.

Please feel free to suggest if you have additional tips to offer.

Comments (45)

  • GreenDesigns

    None of the penny pinching will get you your savings. More efficient and better design is what really saves you money.

  • cpartist

    Did you start building yet because truth is, Green Designs is correct.

    And I would hate to see what a free counter looks like. Why are they giving you a free countertop?

    And for kitchen cabinets did you mean $180k like your wrote or $18k?

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  • D E

    some ideas

    build a carport instead of a garage
    put in an Ikea kitchen
    get affordable appliances
    keep the house shape simple
    use less expensive siding. brick is expensive, lp less so, and vinyl even less so.
    don't go crazy on the amount of windows.
    basic bathroom or can you skip a bathroom?
    minimize wasted space
    can you help with some of the labor? labor is expensive. can you paint? lay down flooring? help with the siding?

    will you use a fireplace? skip the fireplace and the chimney if you will not use it


  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Do you already have the house designed? Have you started construction?

  • Jay S

    First pass of design was done with an architect. I have a minimum size requirement of 2000 sqft and two story from HOA. I'm right at the 2010 sqft. Can't downsize anymore. I'm doing unfinished basement and bonus room, using standard materials and appliances, my architect moved baths and laundry around to reduce plumbing, reduced number of windows, reduced the number of corners from 12 to 8, a simple colonial structure with gable roof, painting and landscaping done by myself, got a good deal with earthwork estimate, etc.

    Architects are expensive. Guy is charging 175/hour for initial plans. So, I cant keep asking him to change plans. I agree that smart design saves, but there is a limit. No matter ow much you optimize, you have to buy materials at the end and I have specifically asked ways to save when you buy materials.

    As I was writing, I got a call from local building store that there is a deal for appliances and hardwood if I take their card and purchase a minimum for $2000. They are offering Samsung medium level appliances (Ref, microwave, DW, washer & Dryer, electric cooktop for $5688 if I buy as a package and 2.49/sqft for solid wood that was 4.99/sqft. That's $6000 savings right there....

    Thanks, D E

    Thats what I am looking for....

    Not a free countertop, if I buy countertop, installation (~$1000) is free...

  • live_wire_oak

    With your described cost reductions, I don’t think you should build at this time if you don’t already have the contingency fee plus needed in reserve. It’s very easy to go over that. $175 an hour is cheap for a good design professional. You just don’t have a handle on what building truly adds up to.

  • B Carey

    Do not open a store card during construction if you are taking out a construction loan or mortgage. If you don’t like this advice, ask your lender.

    I’m sure the $180,000 in cabinets is a typo. But honestly, without changing the plans, finishes is the only area you can really cut.

    Are you doing anything yourself, like painting?

    Take a realistic look at some of your line items. Lighting of $4,000 and plumbing fixtures of $7,500 seems a little high for someone worried about the budget. You can always upgrade some of these items one at a time down the road. My build is 2800 on the main floor with a fully finished basement. I have my lighting at $3500 (can lights are in the electrical portion). My lighting budget will get me what I really want in my living sections and Lowe’s selections for the rest. For $7500 in plumbing fixtures, you are looking at some pretty nice things....scale that back a bit.

    Your countertop installation is not free. It is figured into the price of the stone.

    How are you figuring $22,000 for hardwood? Your $5 before sale price wood flooring at 2,000 sq ft is $10,000.

    15% is a lot to cut when the plan is already designed.

  • cpartist

    build a carport instead of a garage

    In CT you don't build a carport. You build a garage and one that is attached to the house. And if you ever want to resell, you'll need a garage in CT.
    put in an Ikea kitchen

    This is only worth it if the OP does all the installation himself. Otherwise it will cost just as much as low-cost cabinets.
    get affordable appliances

    He already said he's doing that.

    I will add not to do a package but to buy the best appliance of each brand unless you don't cook.
    don't go crazy on the amount of windows.

    Windows are one of the few things I wouldn't skimp on because no one likes living in a dark house and if you ever want to resell, a dark house will turn off most buyers.
    basic bathroom or can you skip a bathroom?

    In a 2 story house I wouldn't go less than 2.5 baths
    minimize wasted space

    This is a biggie. I assume you are working with a LICENSED ARCHITECT and NOT a designer? There is a big difference and it will show in the design of the house most times.

    (Now having said that, once in a while there is a plan posted by a designer that is actually good, but that seems to be the exception not the rule. And conversely some times there are plans posted that are designed by architects that are poor. This too tends to be the exception not the rule, but don't forget, someone had to graduate at the bottom of the class!)

    can you help with some of the labor? labor is expensive. can you paint? lay down flooring? help with the siding?

    Sometimes this will save you. However it won't save you a dime if you are holding gulp the builder's subs that he's scheduled to do a job and you haven't finished your end.

    will you use a fireplace? skip the fireplace and the chimney if you will not use it

    Agree.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    "Talk to the builder and get builder-discounts at some stores"


    I get better than online prices on sinks because I buy so many of them. I do not pass any of those savings onto anyone but me. If you asked, I would tell you to go buy $50.000.00 worth of sinks a year and you'll get them too.


    I've earned those discounts; they are my pay.

  • Jay S

    The builder brought up the discount matter. Again, I''m not dealing with a subdivion multi-home builder. It's a local builder who build custom designed single homes. This is how it works...I go to Lowe's with Builder Joe and buy fixtures worth of $3500. Then while I check out Lowe's give a 15% or whatever the discount to Builder Joe and I get that because I'm paying it to builder Joe's account.

  • Jay S

    Guys, I'll be back after few weeks to update you.

  • just_janni

    Are those allowances fixtures only or do they include labor / installation? I suspect it's a mix. And there is definitely a typo in your cabinet allowance

    Once you get the real allowances for the GOODS (and not the labor - unless you want to take that part on yourself) - we can give a better idea.

    Actually - sweat equity is a great way to save real dollars if you are 1) handy, 2) reliable and 3) able to work on a time schedule that won't hose the rest of your build.

  • shead

    DH and I did all the trim installation, painting, and caulking in our first new build. It saved what seemed like at the time a ton of money and helped with our budget overages but I would NOT want to go through that again. It was brutal but I was in my 20's then and my now 40+ year old body wouldn't last another attempt at that.

    If you're up for it and a quick learner, that may save you some $$$$ but as cpartist mentioned, you have to make sure you're not holding his subs up on their work.

    My advice would be to find a part-time job or work overtime to come up with the 10-15%.

    RE: Lighting

    You can buy basic builder grade quality at Lowe's or Home Depot and save a ton. Then you can upgrade later fairly easily. If you're using a lot of can lots, definitely check online suppliers as I found trim kits far less expensive when ordered in bulk online than through Lowe's or HD.

  • BT

    It is too much work and you need a colossal storage. Build a supply house relationship, I had no issue getting "Joseph Corlett, LLC" discounts. Beating online prices are easy... amazon prices are not the best.


    If you are a builder/GC follow the project order timeline (you can find mspx online)... Buying items 9 month ahead is not good, they could be defective, customer could change their mind (sink, faucets, electrical), colors popular today will not be 9 month from now. So I would stick to the scheduler. If it says order cabinets @ <xxx phase> or xx days that';s when you order. Never order windows, doors ahead of scheduler - they will be warped, damaged or improper size. Never order Steel Beams, Steel Girders until you measure the space. Yes they can be cut it will take amigo entire day to cut it with a "black and decker" grinder. Nothing worse than ordering cabinets that fit in the plan but not in reality.

    Samsung - makes good TVs their appliances have less than the stellar reputation: ice makers that breaks constantly, that awesome "wall of water" dishwasher seems to have issues, and double ovens have a pretty short life. Since you will need a warranty to deal with Samsung - I would buy them right before the closing.


    Savings at the design phase or from finding cheap labor.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    Very carefully evaluate the cost saving you realize now versus the expense you will experience in the future to correct those "cost saving" decisions.

    Jay S thanked Mark Bischak, Architect
  • Mrs Pete

    I'm constructing a new house in CT. I'd like to get some wiggle room to absorb the 15% or so unforeseen costs. My aim is to save between 10-15K to get a little breathing room.

    Two questions:

    - What's your general price range? If you're looking to shave 10-15K off a $500,000 house, you can probably do it. On the other hand, if you're looking to shave that same 10-15K off a $130,000 house, it's going to be harder.

    - Are you trying to save this because you're frugal ... or because your budget needs trimming? If it's the former, good for you; if it's the later, you're in trouble.

    None of the penny pinching will get you your savings. More efficient and better design is what really saves you money.

    Your ideas will save you pennies, but -- yes -- better design will save you dollars.

    build a carport instead of a garage

    Not the best idea ... and, overall, remember that you don't want to come out with a cheap product in the end. A quote I like: The bitterness of low quality is forgotten long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

    For most things ... aim for the middle of the road, and you'll likely come out "just right". Don't push for the cheapest of the cheap (those items are often false economy), but also avoid the tip-top bells and whistles (which typically offer very little over their midpoint counterparts).

    Are you doing anything yourself, like painting?

    I'm 100% sure you're capable of painting, but be SURE you can do it fast enough to keep pace with the rest of the building. Be sure you're prepared with all your materials /can take off a couple days /whatever it takes to maintain the schedule.

    Windows are one of the few things I wouldn't skimp on because no one likes living in a dark house and if you ever want to resell, a dark house will turn off most buyers.

    Yes, windows are a splurge item -- I don't think that's opinion. Quality windows make a big difference in the finished product.

    It is too much work and you need a colossal storage.

    Storage for things like appliances and flooring is a real issue.

    colors popular today will not be 9 month from now.

    Wow, I sure hope that's not true. Maybe I'm more behind the times than I thought.

  • BT

    > to absorb the 15% or so unforeseen costs.

    Leave some rooms unfinished [master bath]. Switch kitchen countertops to laminate with throwaway stainless sink [easy upgrade]. ditch the landscaping, sod, crappy plants. Ditch lighting and go with prewire boxes. Downgrade to wood balusters. Downgrade window trim to three sides drywall. Drop custom built-ins and shelving.

  • jmm1837

    I could understand leaving the master bathroom unfinished if something hugely unexpected occurred during the build which ate up the contingency fund, but if I knew from the getgo I didn't have the money to pay for that bathroom, I'd rethink my plans. The unexpected happens, and I'd never want to deliberately put myself that close to the edge.

  • David Cary

    Watch masonry costs. Brick and stone are very expensive.

    Skip the fireplace - if you are able.

  • emilyam819

    Buy cheap light fixtures - nobody notices the difference between a $700 chandelier and a $100 one. Skip crown molding, chair rail, and upgraded baseboards (again, unless this is a $1 mil + house, nobody is going to notice). Do carpet upstairs (quieter and warmer anyway). Cheap plumbing fixtures - easy to replace later. Cheaper appliances - I’m convinced they are all going to die before you know it anyway. Cheap hardware. Cheaper pedestal sink - they look just as good as the name brand for a fraction of the price. Tub/shower combos instead of tile (easier to clean, no leaks, and really how many people will see your upstairs bathrooms?) No tile backsplash, especially if you plan on replacing counter in a few years. Just make sure anything youbuy now with the intention of replacing is a standard size.

  • PRO
    Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.

    Design a house, both in size and style, that fits your budget. It really is as simple as that.

    As a designer, I have gone through the home-building process from space planning to completion for dozens of clients over the last 15 years. Why do people go over budget? It's the "Might-As-Well Syndrome". They upgrade everything because they think they'll never build another house again, so they "might as well" make sure they're getting everything they think they want or need.

    Buying cheap fixtures will not save you 15% of a home build. And no, it's not easy to replace some fixtures (like a shower valve). Be honest with your expectations. Will those cheap fixtures leave you satisfied when all is said and done or will you think it money wasted because the finished product is not what you wanted?

  • Jay S

    Trying to answer some of the key points from a few comments above:


    Mrs Pete- Our budget is $400K and the estimate came to 390K with all the upgrades we want. We need to put 40K from pocket after bank's construction loan calculation. We have 70K in savings to cover the downpayment and contingency. In addition, we own the land and could get some equity if needed (40K). So, money wise, we are good. The reason for that 10-15K saving is to give room for unavoidable change orders and to make sure that we are finishing it under our budget. Main reason, I'm frugal + I would like to invest in a vacation rental in next 2-3 years and dont want to throw all the money into our house.


    I have a 10K from estimate-budget difference. What I'm trying to do is to save 10-15K extra that I'll have a comfortable 20-25K to cover the "unknowns" of construction. I know that % wise it's small amount, but percent calculations are not always the correct way to do. I'm already doing pretty good with my allowances. My selections are right at the allowance level. One thing we decided is not to change anything once the contract is signed. I have seen that my friends and family fall into the change-orders trap and squander big money. We have adopted a strict no change-order policy unless it's a material on-availability issue.


    Yes, a typo in the cabinet estimate. In fact, the actual amount is 22k, I was wrong in the earlier post.


    Yes, None of these allowances except countertops and cabinets where the installation is already factored-in include labor. All purely material allowance.


    Yes, we are doing our own painting. That will save about $6000 from the estimate.


    No compromise on windows: Money put on windows is always worth.


    Storage: No need for storage. The stores I talked to take orders 6-months ahead and will deliver to the site free with a 10-day notice.


    In fact, I'm pretty close to the 15K savings mark already with painting, discontinued hardwood deal and appliances package (6000+6000+1000).

    Mark Bischak, Architect

    Very carefully evaluate the cost saving you realize now versus the expense you will experience in the future to correct those "cost saving" decisions.


    Mark, you hit it exactly. I'm not a fan of saving now and spending more later. Many here suggested it and it's not that wise idea. Everything is cheaper during construction. When you change it after a few years, you need to pay for the removal of old stuff and that ain't any saving.

  • mainenell

    In the opinion of most on here is that while Samsung has great features for the price on their appliances, they do not hold up well. And the warranty starts from when you buy them. Presuming of course you are able to actually get warranty service in your area. There are large metropolitan cities that there is no warranty service available for Samsung. And the parts are more expensive and take longer to get. Choose another brand.

  • Jay S

    I personally like Samsung. Using their appliances for past 15 years and pretty happy with it. Another option I have in the same price is LG.

  • shead

    Look for holiday appliance sales (4th of July is coming up). Don't commit yourself to a package deal with a brand that has a spotty reputation. Get the best you can afford in each appliance category. Check scratch and dent places as well.

    For instance, Bosch dishwashers have a great track record (both upper end models and lower end models - I've owned one of each) and can be had for very competitive pricing if you do your legwork. For instance, I got a $550 100 series Bosch dishwasher for $300 at Lowe's because it was a return. Still had full warranty and I saved another 5% by using my Lowe's card, which I paid in full the next month. The previous owner just preferred one with a heated drying cycle and returned that one after a week. It's been going strong for a year now.

    I've owned a Samsung refrigerator and had the icemaker issues that people speak of. Took forever to get the parts. It was fine otherwise but I'd probably not do Samsung again on a fridge unless it was very competitively priced.

    Also, before buying appliances from a big box store, double check with smaller dealers. We learned in our last remodel that the smaller stores often had more flexibility on their pricing than Lowe's or HD did. We got a much better deal on our 36" KA gas rangetop with them than we could have at Lowe's or HD.



  • Jay S

    shead, thanks a ton my friend.... This is exactly the type of info I was looking for.


    I tried to convey that to other posts here and everyone just keep on saying change design blah blah blah.... I was specifically looking for hacks and tips to save on materials. Like you said, out of the box items, discontinued wood, store cards, Veteran's day sale, summer sale...these are all big time to save quite a lot.


    I was talking to a co-worker, who just mentioned that Best Buy and Lowe's got very cool out of the box deals. I already got Best Buy card where I can get up to $6000 worth buy with an interest free payment for 24 months. I'm not going to add that to the mortgage where I have to pay for a DW for 30 years that I'll throw after 5-7 years and still pay. Same with flooring. The small family owned appliances shop is giving a deal for Mele and Bosch products. A package for $7000. All premium appliances and still I'm not over the allowance limit.


    People warned me that I'm not going to save much at this point. I respectfully disagree. I already saved close to 15 K from the estimate and that's what I was exactly looking for.

  • Jay S

    This site is offering some cool practical steps to save $$$. I'm just listing a few points here that helps someone else out there who already have a design and would like to save.


    BELIEVE ME, IT'S NOT SAVING JUST PENNIES, IT'S SAVING $$$$.

    • Shop around for appliances, fixtures and construction supplies: Shop around, do your research and get as much of a deal as you can.

    • Take advantage of your builder’s discount: When you’re shopping around for materials or items for your house, don’t forget to check and see if you can buy items using your builder’s discount. Often your builder can get items at a wholesale or discounted price. For example, in our situation with the appliances, by buying with our builder’s discount we could still have saved almost $800-900, instead of the $1000 we saved. We just happened to have found a better deal on our own with stacked discounts.

    • Buy things at a discounter: For some items that we found at high end fixture stores, we were able to find similar or comparable items at a discounter for much less. For example, we found some light fixtures that we loved at a high end lighting store, but when we shopped at a local Menards store, we found similar lights for a fraction of the cost. Don’t fall in love with an exact item when you can sometimes find a similar item for less through a discount store.

    • Take advantage of family and friend connections: If you have family or friends that work in the building trades like we do, it can save you a ton of money. For example, my in-laws are building our house. That is saving us thousands upon thousands of dollars. My brother in law has a home media company. He’s cutting us a deal on a home security system and installation costs. Another friend who works at a large home improvement store bought us some materials using his discount. Another family friend of my wife’s has done some work on the house at a reduced rate as well.

    • Buy closeouts, seconds or remnants: Sometimes stores that carry building materials will have returned items, closeouts and and remnants available that you can buy at a fraction of the cost. For example, we were looking for a certain type of flooring for our home, but when buying it new the floors were beyond our budget. We ended up finding almost the exact floor on closeout – and within our budget – at another home store because they were no longer carrying that brand and had a limited quantity – but enough for our house.

    • Do some of the work yourself: If you’re handy you can sometimes pitch in and do some of the work in the house yourself to save money (if your builder will allow it). For us that means we’ll be installing some of the easy to install fixtures ourselves to save some money on installation costs. Others may feel comfortable doing tile or flooring install. The amount you can save is only limited by your ability and whether your builder will allow you to do some of the work.

    • Find out if you qualify for home improvement or energy efficiency tax credits or rebates: One way we’ve saved money was by finding out if any of the appliances we purchased, or building.

    • Buy discounted gift cards for home improvement stores: When you’re building a house you’re pretty sure to be buying hundreds of dollars worth of goods at home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s. Instead of paying full price for everything you buy, purchase gift cards for those stores at a site like Gift Card Granny, and you’ll save a lot of money on things you were going to be buying anyway. Currently Gift Card Granny has discounts of anywhere from 7-10% on those two stores, for example.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    If you can do Miele and Bosch instead of Samsung and LG, I'd do that.

  • shead

    Let me be clear, though, that I don’t think you’re going to save 10-15% on $400K simply by shopping around for appliances or flooring. I just always shop around because that’s my nature to try to get the best deals I can when possible. You might save $10k but not $40-50k. As long as you understand that and aren’t pushing your financial limits, fine, but don’t expect to work miracles.

    Have you checked about using IKEA cabinets? My kitchen cabinet quotes have been anywhere between $18-26k but IKEA’s will only be about $9k. DH and I will likely do the assembly/installation ourselves (we’re pretty handy) but even if we have to hire someone, it won’t cost $9k in labor where we live.

  • Jay S

    shead, it's not the 10-15% that I'm trying to save, I'm trying to save 10 -15 grant. A huge difference right there. All I need to d is find ways to cut the cost of materials by 10-15 grant using deals, rewards programs, season end sale, builder discount, packages, DIY. etc. And I'm already there. I already "saved" 14K by an appliance package in the rewards program, discontinued hardwood, and DIY painting.

    No, I dont want IKEA cabinets. I designed my kitchen with local kitchen store design center and the package with cabinets and countertop is $18799.00. I'm only 800 bucks above allowance, but getting what I want compared to IKEA.


    Ikea furniture is made of wood pulp with tons of formaldehyde that's released into your breathing air. So, I would like to get wood (I'm getting Maple) instead of IKEA.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    I already "saved" 14K by an appliance package in the rewards program, discontinued hardwood, and DIY painting.

    Save more by buying some extra discontinued hardwood, so it's on hand when you have the inevitable installation glitch or down-the-road repair.

    Jay S thanked beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
  • Jay S

    The store already mentioned that I'll get extra for all future repair.

  • shead

    Sorry, I read the 15% in the first sentence and since most new builds go over by at least 10-15%, I was assuming that was how much you wanted to save :)

    Can you explain how you saved $14K in the awards savings program by using all Samsung appliances? I wouldn't have thought the entire package at retail price would have been even close to $14K. Maybe I'm misunderstanding.

    FWIW, IKEA's kitchen cabinet line are CARB2 compliant so their off-gassing is not a particular issue. And just because you're using maple doesn't mean that a conversion varnish used in finishing won't off-gas as well. You might want to verify with the manufacturer what products they finish with if that is of particular concern to you. Good luck!

  • D E

    "but getting what I want compared to IKEA."


    I guess thats a matter of personal preference as I happen to love IKEA cabinets vs others costing up to 5x more.




  • cpartist

    So what brand are your kitchen cabinets?

    And Ikea kitchen cabinets are better than many other lower end brands.


  • cpartist

    I guess thats a matter of personal preference as I happen to love IKEA cabinets vs others costing up to 5x more.

    OMG! We agree on something.

  • Jay S

    shead, the gas leach-out is not same for all furniture. IKEA furnitures are notorious for dangerous formaldehyde release (well, you dont hear about it much often). So, hands down, no IKEA. They mostly use the rubber wood pulp and strong chemicals to prepare their products.

    So, when you say IKEA is better than other bands, it all depends what you are looking at. They may look better and feel better, but not a healthy choice for a new house. They use Particleboard mostly for cabinets which absorb lot of moisture vs all-Plywood cabinets. I'm not remembering the brand of the cabinets I'm getting, but it's a Maine-made cabinet thats good quality.


    Can you explain how you saved $14K in the awards savings program by using all Samsung appliances? I wouldn't have thought the entire package at retail price would have been even close to $14K. Maybe I'm misunderstanding.



    The way I put savings is based on the estimate, allowance and how much I'm saving compared to estimate by doing various things.


    1. Painting estimate is $11000. I'm doing it myself which cost me only $5000 for premium paints. So, Im saving 6000 from the estimate.

    2. Discontinued hardwood + 15% extra reduction on reward card for more than $5000 in purchase -that saving is coming to $5800

    3. Appliance allowance is $7000. I'm finding good deals here too. Samsung/LG/Some Bosch combination is giving me all the appliances for $6000 with 2 year warranty. Again, this is through a 24-month no interest charge program, 10% discount for over $4000 purchase.


    Thats how I came to a saving close to 14K. That reduces my estimate from 395K to 377K. Well, this is just an estimate and things will change as they start building. My idea is to find as much saving as possible through deals, holiday sales, discounts, bargains and DIY than compromising on material quality.



  • Jay S

    I'm working with RTA and Cliqstudios too. They have premium quality products in the range of 14-16K

  • shead

    I respectfully submit that you have not done your research on IKEA kitchen cabinets (NOT FURNITURE) nor have you done your research about furniture grade particle board being just as stable (if not more so) than plywood. Plywood will delaminate when wet. There are a lot of threads on Houzz about these very topics. High end European cabinet makers even use high density particle board in their cabinetry.

    It's okay if you want to have a bias against a particular company or brand or type of wood but please do not assert information that is not true. IKEA cabinets are CARB2 compliant which means that their cabinets pass some of the most stringent standards out there for off-gassing and formaldehyde release. I see that Cliq Studios are CARB2 compliant as well.

    There's no way I'd pay twice as much for cabinets from companies like RTA and Cliqstudios over IKEA just because of plywood construction. But to each his own ;)

    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/3330572/high-end-european-kitchens-are-particle-board#n=19

    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/4760541/fyi-plywood-vs-particle-board-aka-furniture-board#n=7

  • Jay S

    Particle board just doesn't hold in front of wood. Common sense.

  • bry911

    IKEA furnitures are notorious for dangerous formaldehyde release (well, you dont hear about it much often). So, hands down, no IKEA. They mostly use the rubber wood pulp and strong chemicals to prepare their products.

    This is contrary to my reading and understanding. Before I moved over to the dark side of accounting and finance, I was a chemical engineer. I still enjoy looking at the data sheets and tests on glues and paints. Ikea is known for using standards that few American companies could adhere to and, in fact, are credited with changing the world wide production methods of adhesives for furniture board.

    Sure, occasionally you will see articles in The Daily Mirror about some scandal but really.... The Daily Mirror. This isn't to say that supplier's haven't cheated the system, but they have cheated most systems so it is hard to blame Ikea for that one.

    Does Cliqstudios use conversion varnish on their cabinets? I thought they did, but I can't be sure. We all know the free formaldehyde trick used to make formaldehyde heavy conversion varnish pass emissions standards.

  • shead

    Particle board just doesn't hold in front of wood. Common sense.

    Well, I guess you need to tell the Europeans that. Seriously, don't take Cliq Studio's word for it.


  • bry911

    Some other advice...

    Do online shopping. There are so many options and great deals available, especially for fixtures

    I would advise using online pricing to negotiate better prices at local supply houses and shops. It is rarely worth the trouble to return and/or get warranty service on items purchased online. An installation of a defective item can destroy all your savings from online shopping. Many supply houses will match or give you some discount to make them a better choice.

    For items that are easily replaced such, such as lights, online shopping can be great as a defective light will have little collateral damage.

    Talk to local stores for bargain, discontinued stock, deals, clearing sale, etc

    This is great advice, but you must be ready to purchase when the items are available and have a means to store the item. I purchase closeout items for my rental properties that I don't currently need in anticipation of needing them. I have replacement faucets, toilets, etc waiting for breakage or lease end.

    Talk to the builder and get builder-discounts at some stores

    This should be nearly automatic. I get my painter's discount, my plumber's discount, and my electrician's discount for projects they are working on even when I buy the stuff (supply houses will usually just give me the discount even if they are not doing the stuff).

    Use basic standard stuff and upgrade later, especially appliances

    This is incredibly common bad advice. This is essentially the same thing as put your money in the toilet, but wait a few years to flush. There is only a marginal cost of upgrading today. Why in the world would you want to not only ignore the reduced cost, but increase cost by buying stuff you don't want?

    If you can live with cheaper stuff indefinitely, then buy cheaper stuff. Don't make your financial situation worse by buying cheaper stuff that you don't want to live with so that you can buy more expensive stuff later. Current mortgage rates are barely above inflation rates, you are not going to be better off by having a lower mortgage and deferring costs.

    A wild suggestion from a co-worker: Use no -interest-for-2-years credit card to buy some of the stuff instead of charging it to construction loan. Once you finish the project, then you get some time to make the credit card payment. This is not really saving anything for me. Just a suggestion to defer the initial burden.

    This is actually solid advice. In fact, for the last 10 years I have been carrying a zero percent credit card balance. I just balance transfer it to a different promotional card before the interest period kicks in. Interest free money is great. Even ignoring my investments over that time, every dollar I financed at zero percent interest back then is only 83 cents of purchasing power to pay off today.

    However, that debt should be factored into your loan app when you apply for credit. You can get in trouble increasing your debt while working out a mortgage loan.

  • bry911

    Particle board just doesn't hold in front of wood. Common sense.

    I build furniture and wainscoting and to say that wood is better than furniture board is a bit of a misnomer. Better for what? A great quality plywood will be better than solid wood and furniture board for many applications, all things being equal. However, a cheap plywood will delaminate when cheap furniture board will hold together. On the other hand cabinets made from solid wood are ridiculously expensive for substandard performance. They will not outperform either furniture board or plywood on boxes and will cost loads more as you are going to have to use rift sawn or select quarter sawn pieces glued up.

    We should also note that better is a bit of a generalization. They have different failure conditions, plywood will fail under different conditions than furniture board. I generally view plywood as being a bit better, but most situations that are going to see furniture board fail are going to see plywood fail. For other situations one or the other will fail more often. At some point you hit the cost exceeding any marginal benefit. In essence, the difference being similar to a car that will go 100 mph versus a car that will go 120 mph for a daily commuter in heavy traffic.

    The catch being, all things are not equal. Frankly, in a kitchen, water is the enemy of cabinets and Ikea cabinets handle water beautifully. In fact, I built cabinets for a house recently, and did use quality plywood. However, I completely stole Ikea's engineering because their furniture board cabinets perform superior in wet conditions than my quality wood cabinets. The simple idea of giving water a pathway to the floor and lifting the cabinets up off the floor are enough for me to celebrate their engineering until the entire industry changes.

    Jay S thanked bry911
  • Jay S

    Solid points, bry911. Thank you

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