Should I use a Custom Carpenter or buy from a Box Store

With any home improvement or remodeling project part of the decision-making process is the cost associated with the different products utilized as part of the build. Over the last few years, we at Samanco construction have seen this become a rather contentious subject as a large portion of a home remodeling project is the availability for, and quality of, the cabinets, trim work and mantle pieces; just to name a few. Box stores have been providing prefabricated materials for years, so as the quality of these prefabricated box store items have become better; the question comes into play…

“Should I utilize the services of a carpenter versus those prefabricated products from a box store?”

In this article, we will cover the advantages and disadvantages for each so that you can better incorporate the information into your decision-making process for your home improvement, remodel or area update for your Chicago home. This can be an important factor that we take into consideration when quoting your project at Samanco construction when the owner comes out to provide you with your estimate and options.

It’s true, Box stores are here to stay

Box stores in the Chicago area such as: Lowe’s, Home Depot, Cosco and Sam’s Club have steadily increased the quantity of home-improvement products that they are able to provide. Prefabricated cabinets, countertops, storage bins, doors, trim, closet kits, fireplace surrounds, mantles and shelving have flooded the market in a variety of textures, materials and sizes to fit nearly any space and budget. But are these prefabricated products too good to be true? Let’s look:

The Pro’s of using prefabricated products from a box store

The advantages are quite simple: cost and availability. Prefabricated products traditionally work well, have been manufactured utilizing laser precision techniques and are available in a variety of different colors, sizes and textures. Because they are mass-produced, the price can be significantly lower than products that have been custom manufactured. For those home-improvement customers working on a small budget this may be an option to look closely into.

The Con’s of using prefabricated products from a box store

Careful consideration should be made when utilizing prefabricated products from a box store in the Chicago area. While the advantages are clear, the disadvantages can easily show up over just a short period of time. Prefabricated products traditionally use substandard materials such as: plastic, pressboard, poplar wood and pine; these products are cheaper and can effect structural integrity over a short period of time. (Depending on use, within 3 years noticeable signs of fatigue can be observed)  

Because most of your prefabricated products are going to be pre-sized for a standard fit; your final fit may not be exactly what you want. The prefabricated product may end up being just a little too long or a little too short for the purpose that you needed for. Textures and colors are generally chemically manipulated, meaning that they can lose their appearance quickly based upon exposure and use.

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Craftsmanship in the Chicago area is still alive

If you open a phone book in the Chicago area you’ll find carpenters and craftsmen that specialize in woodworking and custom projects are few and far between. Because of the flood of prefabricated products into the home improvement market, many craftsmen have faded into the background; but some are still here.

Samanco construction is pleased to provide master carpentry that allows us the flexibility to provide a level of craftsmanship that we find is still sought after in the Chicago area. While we still have customers, because of cost, that would choose prefabricated materials; the final product simply cannot compare to the craftsmanship of a true master carpenter.

The Pro’s of Using a Custom Crafted Product

A master carpenter in the Chicago area can go beyond creating a cabinet or mantle to the creation of a work of art. A master carpenter will use fitment techniques and hand selected woods that will bring true color, texture and durability that will last for many years to come. A master carpenter has the skill to work within various types of wood finishes and projects such as: handcrafted built-in units, custom closet designs, porch designs, trim work, cabinetry, fireplace mantle and surround, custom table, wainscot and the manipulation of repurposed woods to create one-of-a-kind products.

The Con’s of using a skilled carpenter

The only disadvantage that one might consider is the costs that are often associated with the utilization of a master carpenter. Because a master carpenter traditionally will use much higher quality materials as well as the need for the labor to custom assemble and craft the project, the prices are going to be higher than purchasing a prefabricated product.

Weigh the costs against the final product

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of both prefabricated products versus those products crafted by a Chicago area master carpenter… It really does come down to just a few things to consider:

  1. Cost – reality is if you’re working within a budget you have to weigh the costs.
  2. Quality – does the use of the project warrant the utilization of a quality manufactured product?
  3. Use – is your project going to be used a lot, how durable should it be?
  4. Appearance and style – will the use of prefabricated materials fit the style and quality level of your home? At the end of the day you don’t want to put cheap products into a $500,000 home that in comparison to the products already in the home would stick out like a sore thumb. (Not to mention bringing down the value of the home if it’s a bathroom or kitchen remodeling project)
  5. Space – is the area in which you need the product an odd shape or size that will require a custom build.

When it comes to the choice of using prefabricated cabinets, built-ins, closets, porches, doors, fireplace mantles and surrounds and other similar projects… You really do get what you pay for.

Experience Does Count

Samanco construction has been serving Chicago and the surrounding communities for years. Because we are a complete home improvement, remodeling and handyman service we utilize the talents of our in-house craftsmen to handle projects as small as fixture updates to a complete home remodel. Based upon the customer’s budget we have, without the need of subcontractors, the ability to craft custom builds and manufacturing to fit the style and appearance of your home. All estimates are given by the owner of Samanco construction, not a pushy high-pressure salesman.

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