Purchasing hardware for home and business improvement projects can seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t work with these elements day-in and day-out. The amount of choices for things like bolts, nails, screws, nuts and other fasteners and hardware can be confusing, and to make matters worse, there’s a lot of pressure to get the right hardware at the best price.
Thankfully, shopping competitively for building hardware doesn’t have to be a headache. As with any type of competitive shopping, you can usually save money and get the right items by following a few simple principles. Below are some tips:
For competitive prices on TC bolts, also referred to as tension control bolts, it’s a good idea to shop around. In doing so, you should always consider the type of fasteners needed for your project. Galvanized tension control bolts may be more or less expensive than A325 tension control bolts or A490 tension control bolts, but if your project calls for the galvanized version, you’re better off paying the market price instead of jeopardizing your project’s integrity.
In many cases, things like TC bolts and related hardware are available at different tension ratings, so you always have to keep this data in mind when shopping around. While you might be able to get the same type of hardware at a better price, if it doesn’t match your project needs, it isn’t worth the savings.
Ask For Advice
Just because you’re involved in a DIY project doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Even experts get stumped from time to time, and when this happens, it often pays to ask for advice from others. No one can know everything about each specific detail of a project, so if you find yourself unsure, don’t be afraid to bring in outside resources to help you make important purchasing decisions.
Test First, Build Second
Anytime you’re working with unfamiliar hardware, it’s always a good idea to test out your ideas on a small scale before implementing hardware into the final build. This gives you the chance to learn from mistakes before they make their way into your final build.
It also gives you a real-world view of how different hardware and installation techniques will affect your final build. The goal is to avoid having to undo your work just to correct a mistake or replace a piece of hardware that isn’t working out.
Rely On Manufacturer Spec Data
Just as you should rely on others for advice, you should also rely on the manufacturer of your hardware as a resource for technical specifications. Most hardware comes with detailed spec sheets that list details regarding the limits at which a piece of hardware will function.
Taking this information into account, you can avoid overloading or under-using hardware and potentially save money. Overloaded hardware is more likely to break and cost more in the long run, but under-using hardware can also waste your budget and leave you with unnecessary pieces lying about.
Modify Your Build To Acquire Less Expensive Hardware
Although it’s generally considered a last resort, there may be times when you should consider modifying your build to work with the hardware that’s available. This may make sense when parts aren’t available or when design elements are not crucial. Often, decorative choices in fasteners and similar hardware can be modified without jeopardizing the integrity of the project.
If, owever, replacing a piece of hardware is going to affect the quality and integrity of the final build, it’s better to work out a plan to get the pieces you need. Using different hardware options that could cause a project to fail early are only placing a Band-Aid on the problem and can cause you many more issues down the road.