Buying building materials, Are B&Q the Halfords of the DIY world ?

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  • Buying building materials, Are B&Q the Halfords of the DIY world ?
  • I need to do some major repairs on my bungalow.
    There's a Screwfix about a mile from work, so I'll be getting as much hardware as possible from there, but what about bricks, sand, timber, insulation, doors & windows, roofing materials and the like ?
    There's a B&Q just over the road from work.
    How do they compare on price and quality with proper builder's merchants ?
    I don't see many builders vans in the car park, which makes me suspect they are not the best.
    Should I treat them like Halfords ? Handy for odds and ends at evenings and weekends, but better off going to a specialist for the big spends.

    Premier Icon spooky_b329
    Subscriber

    I think you've hit the nail on the head. Also, I have a local timber place that somehow manages to be cheaper for fence panels and plywood than Travis Perkins/Wickes et al.

    grantway
    Member

    Screw fix is owned by the Fisher group that owns B&Q
    Best thing for building materials is to go to a building suppliers
    other than B&Q for better prices

    Bricks & the like will depend on what you're place is built of, may restrict where you can get the right ones from.
    Try Wickes, you might be surprised at their prices, or try proper bulders merchants. Or leave it to the builders who are doing the work? Do you have the knowledge & skills to do major works? Not being funny, but if you don't know where to get the materials sugests you don't have much experience of this kind of thing.

    leebaxter
    Member

    Im a builder and get certain materials from bq.. get your trade card first. plasterboard, plaster, cement. the builders merchants cant compare..
    Timber from an independant. bq and the merchants generally dont match up unless you have a good profile built up. for blocks etc, us ethe merchants but play them off against each other. Happy building.

    wrightyson
    Member

    +1 lee Baxter. Cement bought in bulk from b and q is very hard to beat on price. 1 x 10 kg bag on a Sunday afternoon however will make your wallet bleed!!!!

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    Some stuffs cheaper at B&Q or stuff isnt…

    I order 2 x bags of postcreet, 1 bag of cement, and 3 bags of sand from a builders merchant last week after phoning round a couple to get quotes.

    Went to B&Q a couple of days later and it was cheaper per bag than the merchant.

    Timber always appears to be cheaper from a yard.

    Talkemada
    Member

    My local B+Q has many staff who are very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. Staff in local builders merchants have been rude, patronising and unhelpful. I've learned not to expect friendliness from them. Some are ok though, and prices for wood can be cheaper. B+Q stocks bloody everything though. Can get everything in one trip.

    timber
    Member

    Can't believe the price of timber in B&Q, certainly not representative of what it sells for. Just had a mobile saw mill in today, sawn about 10 tons of our wood for a fencing job, will drop it off to be tanalised next week and it wil have still cost only a quarter of buying it in, that includes billing for our own timber at a good price.

    For the few good quality showing pieces you may want, search for a local sawmill, you'll be surprised at what they keep knocking around and can do.

    5lab
    Member

    worth remembering all builders merchants will quote you list, which very often is higher than bnq

    for instance, I was building a deck and needed some structural timber, figured it'd be about £200 worth. Went into the merchant near me, listed off what I needed. £305. 'that seems a bit steep – anything you can do?' a quick tappity tap later and its £180. And I bet that wasn't trade..

    a merchant will probably only offer this on big loads. I recon if you needed 2 bags of postcrete, bnq will be cheaper, quicker, and a bit easier

    lyons
    Member

    It cost me six pounds to buy a 10mmm hss bit at bandq the other day! Bloody rip off.

    My local B+Q has many staff who are very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. Staff in local builders merchants have been rude, patronising and unhelpful.

    I have completely the opposite experience with my local places. Tried to order 5 bulk bags of sand with associated cement and blocks from local B+Q and they basically told me to sod off. Phoned the local merchants and it was delievered the nextday. Anything that I can carry out of the shop in a trolley (i.e the only interface I need with the staff is at the til) then B+Q is hard to beat on price, but for bigger/bulk orders….. I won't even bother next time.

    coffeeking
    Member

    B&Q rely on the fact that joe public need a friendly face and someone with half a clue about the work, and their prices match accordingly. If I'm buyin a one-off item its often not expensive enough to deter me, but things like bolts and nuts/screws – their prices are stupendously high – I bought 10 M8 bolts from them last year, cost me nearly £4. At my usual fastener supplies they're 4p each. I just bought some 5mm acrylic sheet from a local place, cost me £5 for 400x800mm. B&Q wanted £44 for a 1200×1200 sheet.

    Anything that I can carry out of the shop in a trolley (i.e the only interface I need with the staff is at the til) then B+Q is hard to beat on price,

    Completely the opposite experience for me, anything bulk/difficult (cut up large boards, buy whole doors/sets of stuff – fairly cheap, small stuff they extort you on because people go in wanting just one of something that in the trade you'd buy bulk packs of for next to nothing.

    I live in a wooden bungalow in the Wyre Forest.
    I want to replace the wobbly brick pillars it stands on with a brick plinth wall, replace most of the sagging floor joists, replace a lot of the structural timber and cladding boards, replace the sagging timber and felt pitched roof and fit all new windows, doors and frames. There won't be much of the old building left besides the existing brick chimney when I've finished.
    As it's officially a holiday home, there are some strict rules on what I can and can't do, mainly regarding alterations and appearance. Strangely though, it's not covered by building regs, so I could lay the bricks straight on the ground with no footings or damp course if I wanted to, but I couldn't fit a dormer window.

    Do you have the knowledge & skills to do major works? Not being funny, but if you don't know where to get the materials sugests you don't have much experience of this kind of thing.

    I used to work for a builder in Birmingham doing refurbs on old terraced houses for housing associations. I've done most of the jobs that need doing before. I've been a truck, plant or bus mechanic for the last 18 years though.

    get your trade card first.

    I looked at that and I think you need to be a member of a trade organisation to get one and I think there was a minimum spend per month as well. I'll have another look to check. I remember it wasn't as simple as getting a Halfords trade card.
    Conflicting opinions on who's cheapest then. Looks like I'll have to go in to B&Q and write a few prices down, then try some local builder's merchants to see if they can beat them.

    Premier Icon amplebrew
    Subscriber

    We're just having a new bathroom fitted and we got a few folks around to get quotes.

    The quotes varied massively, however they were all singing off the same hymn sheet when they ALL said "Don't buy any materials / bits from B&Q!"

    Apparently they are a bit of a nightmare if you have problems with stuff and the quality is a bit iffy.

    I'm not speaking from experience though.

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