What are Builder Grade Materials and How Can They Affect my New Home?

If you are considering building a new home, you likely have heard the term “Builder Grade” thrown around in blogs and message boards.  While the term Builder Grade or Contractor Grade may imply something is of high enough quality that a builder would use it, the name can be deceptive.  Builder Grade materials are often just to code, and average at best.

When shopping for a builder, it is very important to know what materials that builder uses in the construction of a new home.   Often, a builder uses “Gotcha” pricing to attract customers, but offers low-level materials and finishes, or even an incomplete home for that price.  If you are looking for LONG TERM QUALITY in your new home, it is important to take a look at the materials used.

Builder Grade Lumber and Trusses

Does the builder use high quality, kiln dried Douglas Fir lumber?  Or a Builder Grade whitewood lumber package?  While whitewood lumber can save on building costs, it tends to bow and twist over time and with exposure to moisture, making the walls of the home crooked.  Another aspect of lumber and framing, the truss system, can also be an important consideration.  While traditional trusses can be used and are less expensive, a raised heel truss system can have the added benefit of accommodating increased insulation.

Builder Grade Roofing

There are many different types of roof systems on the market.  Many builders will use whichever system will keep the overall cost to build the home low.  Some builders, however, see the value in offering a higher quality roof system with a better warranty, to save customers from future headaches.  Make sure you see long term value in the roof system your builder uses.

Builder Grade Fixtures

Many manufacturers offer a lower quality, Builder Grade option for plumbing, lighting, and other hardware fixtures.   Keep in mind manufacturers like Moen and Schlage make different product lines – a Builder Grade product line, a product line offered at big box stores, and a high-quality luxury product line that uses more sturdy and lasting materials.  Which is your builder offering?

Builder Grade Windows

Windows are windows, right?  Not so fast.  Some builder grade windows come only in stock sizes and are often ill-fitting, leaving gaps and drafts.  High quality, properly installed windows can decrease energy consumption and eliminate moisture issues.

Builder Grade Flooring

You know how some flooring just FEELS better under your feet?  High quality flooring can make an amazing difference in the comfort of your home.  Keep an eye out for low-quality thin sheet vinyl, cheap looking laminate, or carpet with virtually no padding.  Builder Grade carpet only lasts about five years under heavy traffic.  Higher quality flooring is easy to spot – it looks better up close and feels better underfoot.

Builder Grade Cabinets

Builder Grade cabinets are sometimes not easy to spot.  Some builder grade cabinets look lovely on the surface but are not built to last.  Builder Grade cabinets will come in limited sizes and styles and will feature low quality fasteners and hardware.  High-quality cabinets offer customized sizing, soft-close features, dovetail drawers, a crown top rail, and durable finishes.

The Bottom Line

You get what you pay for – so make sure you know what you are paying for!  If you are unsure what a builder is offering, be sure to ask.  Builder Grade finishes have their place, but if you are interested in a long-term investment in the quality of your home, make sure your builder is interested in long-term value.

Lexar Homes builds semi-custom homes in the Pacific Northwest and North Dakota. If you would like to begin the process of exploring how you can build a new custom home on your property, contact Lexar Homes for more information at 888-701-6132 or visit our website at www.lexarhomes.com.