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Thinking about taking on a home renovation project? These 7 tips will help you to find the best local suppliers in your area. Read our blog for more.


When it comes to finding the materials you need for a home renovation project, it can get overwhelming. Not to worry, the following tips will help. You can breathe a little easier knowing that you’ll be able to find the right local supplier, for everything from cementitious tiles to welding gas—read on for the former; this article is a good place to start for the latter.

  1. Determine your goals

Before you choose a material, let alone where to buy it, you’ll need to determine your renovation goals. Why are you renovating? Is it:

  • Because you want increased energy efficiency?
  • To improve the resale value of your house?
  • Or, are you mostly focused on getting a better layout?

Knowing the answer to these questions will help you to cut through the (sometimes overwhelming) options that you’re presented with when choosing between suppliers. (1)


  1. Set a budget

There will be variations based on where and when you’re doing your renovation, so be sure to have a local contractor look over your budget to ensure that the estimations are realistic. It should account for contingencies, so once you have your overall number, subtract 20% to 30% and set that amount aside for anything that comes up. (1)(2)


  1. What’s worth a “splurge” for you?

This may sound like it runs counter to setting a budget, but it’s good to be upfront about what you’re willing to spend more on. What materials are you going to use the most in your project? It could make sense to focus your money on those and save elsewhere, especially on cosmetic or non-essential touches that you can more easily update later. (3)


  1. Figure out what you want to reuse

Knowing what you can (and should) reuse will help you to figure out what you need to purchase, which will help you to figure out how many suppliers you’ll need to work with.

For every material, there’s something different to consider when it comes to reusing: (2)

  • Plumbing fixtures—You probably shouldn’t use something again unless it’s from a high-quality brand, and less than six months old. If it’s irreplaceable, make sure to get it refurbished and refitted so that it won’t breakdown or leak in the future. (2)
  • Tile—Some materials probably aren’t worth trying to reuse. It’s too easy to break tiles during removal, and you may well end up being charged extra by a contractor for all the trouble anyway, negating any potential savings. (2)
  • Countertops—These can be reused if you’re not changing the layout of what goes underneath them. Otherwise, you should probably consider new ones. They may crack when they’re removed anyway, and it’s usually not a piece worth designing the rest of your space around. (2)
  • Light fixtures—These can be reused more easily than many other items; just make sure that they’re up to code. (2)


  1. Choose your materials

You may have some locally produced materials with historical interest, which could add a bit of panache to your renovation. For example, are cementitious tiles produced in your area? These were developed in Catalunya in the 1850s, and later spread from Spain to the United States, though they waned in popularity after the 1920s. Rather than being fired or glazed, they have “pigment […] hydraulically-pressed into the surface. The result is a brightly-colored tile with a matte finish, rather than a glossy, light-reflecting surface.” (4)

You might also consider shiplap if you’re renovating an older home. These “interlocking horizontal wood boards” can often be found “covered with plaster on the interiors” of older buildings. Keeping them uncovered, painted or otherwise, can offer a character not dissimilar to exposed brick. (4)

As you choose the materials you’ll use, it pays to think locally, so keep the traditional materials produced in your area in mind.


  1. Shop like a contractor

When it comes to choosing your own suppliers, thinking like a contractor can help. This means three main things:

  • Rely on trustworthy recommendations—If you’ve got builders working on your project, ask them who to buy from. They’ll likely have relationships with suppliers who they trust, and you can benefit from this. If you’re doing the entire job yourself, it’s worth talking to a contractor or another local professional you trust to ask for recommendations. (5)
  • Shop local (and don’t forget shipping)—As mentioned above, one reason to work with local suppliers is that you’ll get what you’ve ordered without paying an arm and a leg for shipping. Shipping also adds time pressure, since delays can pose a problem. If you have any environmental concerns, remember that an eco-friendly material coming from halfway around the globe may add to the impact of your build rather than take away. (5)
  • Know how much to order (and when)—Nothing wastes more time and money than hiring people to sit around while they wait for materials to arrive. When you’re selecting your suppliers, ask them how long it will take to get what you’ve ordered, then add some time to that (just in case). Also, keep in mind that you should allow for “waste” in your order (15-20%) to save the headache of running out of something mid-job. (5)


  1. Look for specialized suppliers, and make a plan for showroom visits

Showing up to Home Depot or a similar store may leave you more confused than before. Once you’ve settled on a style, you need to figure out where in your area is the best place to shop. Here are some tips:

  • Think specific—If you’ve got a vision in mind, head to a local showroom specific to your project, like a bathroom or kitchen supplier.
  • Make an appointment—This is a good idea, especially to guarantee that you’ll work with any recommended designers they have on-staff.
  • Don’t rush the process—You’ll be making a lot of choices, so plan on spending at least a few hours in deep consideration.
  • Can you buy secondhand?—Again, think about whether local suppliers can offer reused materials. Some, such as reclaimed wood, help the environment and add a point of interest. Others, like such as fixtures sold at a local demolition company, can save money. (6)



Everyone wants to start their project on solid ground, and there’s no better way to do that than with a dependable supplier; however, choosing the right one can be a major headache. Make sure to follow and re-visit the above tips if you need a little extra help deciding what to focus on and prioritize. Other than that, if you’re looking for a professional in the Rochester and Finger Lakes Region of New York, you’ll find them at FindTheHomePros.com.