Online Purchases -

posted Jun 6, 2014, 8:19 AM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Jun 6, 2014, 8:21 AM ]

Purchasing products for your home online can be a good way to save money, but the decision should be weighed against the challenges and potential risks involved. We have recently purchased plumbing fixtures, bath vanities, lighting fixtures, light bulbs, door hardware, a rain barrel and deck footing piers, with varying degree of success.


With all online purchases, there are potential risks and logistics that need to be considered:

  • Everything needs to be at the project site before the associated trade contractor can begin their work.

  • Is there a secure place to store the products at the project or does off-site storage need to be arranged? Often this means keeping the materials at home in your garage and arranging delivery when they are needed.

  • Who will receive delivery of the online purchases and make sure nothing was damaged during shipping? Typically, damage during shipping has to be settled with the shipping company and is not the responsibility of the product manufacturer. FYI the online vendor almost never assumes responsibility for shipping damage or defective parts.

  • During installation, what happens if parts are discovered to be missing or were completely overlooked from the order? This can often mean that the trade contractor is unable to complete their work and has to wait until the parts they need are delivered, potentially delaying progress of the project.

  • Who will replace and return defective products? Trade contractors will usually invoice service charges for additional trips to repair or replace defective parts. If they didn’t supply it, these extra fees are not usually part of their scope of work.

Plumbing Fixtures offer perhaps the best return on time and aggravation, and while it’s not rocket science, there’s a tremendous amount of information that needs to be understood and organized. A detailed worksheet should be used to keep track of everything. More comprehensive help and information about plumbing fixtures is available as part of our customer selections checklist.


Bath Vanities might be a good option for purchasing online. These vanities can include the cabinet, stone countertop, sink and faucet. They usually come as a piece of freestanding furniture so they may not be ideal when installed against an end wall or between two walls.

Selecting Cabinets

Lighting Fixtures are available from many online sources. We also create a worksheet for keeping lighting and bulbs organized. Installation height is needed and there are often other decisions that must to be made like, mirror size and placement, switch location and specialized wiring.  Selecting Lighting

Light bulb selections are a relatively new task that needs to be coordinated and online purchases actually make good sense. The advent of energy-saving LED and CFL bulbs present a list of new considerations that we didn’t have just a few years ago. We’ve had to learn about lumens, color temperature and spread in order to select the perfect light bulb.

Door Hardware is challenging to keep organized and even when we purchase hardware from a local vendor, the worksheet is a valuable tool. There are a surprising number of decisions that go beyond just the color and style. Selecting Door Hardware