One of the exciting aspects of renovating your home is choosing the materials and products that go into it. From bathroom fixtures to flooring to mechanical systems, the marketplace offers great choice, quality, affordability and value. However, there are also inferior products out there, and at first glance, it can be difficult to tell the difference.
The products and materials used in your renovation can have a big impact on the overall quality of the job and your satisfaction. When you work with a professional renovator, you will get a valuable helping hand in choosing the right ones.
There are several key factors to consider.
When you buy a brand name product made by a respected, well-known company, you know you can trust the quality. Brand-name manufacturers invest significantly in research and development to bring new, improved products to the market. They stand behind their products with a warranty and after-sales service. As well, they offer training and installation assistance to new home builders and renovators.
Codes and standards
There are standards for many products used in home renovation. Some standards are mandatory and may be referenced in building codes. Other standards are voluntary. Manufacturers of quality products make sure their products are tested and certified, whether required or not.
Testing and certification are done by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC), and other similar agencies. Look for the symbols of these agencies when you shop, get advice from your renovator, and go online for more information. If a product doesn’t indicate that it meets any standard, you have no way of knowing how well it will perform, or how long it will last.
A product may claim to be “green” and offer some kind of environmental benefit. Unless the manufacturer backs up the claim with solid, verifiable information, preferably from a third party, you can’t know if you are getting what you expect.
Don’t hesitate to ask tough questions of suppliers and retailers, and demand detailed information to substantiate a green claim, before you choose a product based on its environmental attributes.
What about new and innovative products?
There is a constant influx of new building products into the marketplace. The Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) of the National Research Council Canada offers a national evaluation service for innovative, non-standardized products, materials and systems. Each product is given a number and placed on the CCMC Product Registry, available online through NRC’s website, with information on usage and compatibility with the National Building Code of Canada.