NO DIFFERENCE, wanna bet? Remember the old Parkay commercial about the butter? They claimed no difference between the Parkay brand and real butter. Well, no difference until you purchased and tasted it…

There are many, many differences in the products and services of the construction field that directly affect not only total costs but how the job looks upon completion and how long it will stand the test of time. Here are a few differences:

1- Granite: ever see those advertisements that say granite for as low as $35 a square foot? Th e reason for the inexpensive price is that some foreign countries like China & India use kerosene in the water to speed up the cutting process and push out the product faster. Th e granite absorbs the kerosene and once it is sealed, the kerosene will remain in the granite for about 1 _ years. When the sealer starts to wear off , suddenly your countertops will start to emit funky and dangerous odors. Also, some of the black granites are actually dipped into a dye to keep a rich deep black look. It too will eventually wear off when the sun starts
hitting the countertops.

2- Wood: do you know what the term “Finger joint” means? It’s when the wood is not one continuous piece of solid material but many pieces fitted together to create one piece. If you look closely you can see the tiny seams. Finger joint is typically used for a paint grade job as the seams will be covered by paint. Yet, unfortunately, the wholesale warehouse giants will try to sell you a finger joint oak handrail for instance and tell
you that it is stain grade. It is not. You will see the tiny seams through the stain.

3- Plumbing Fixtures: I always purchase from a local plumbing supply company because they will have a higher quality grade for the interior workings of a fixture. You may be attracted to the warehouse giants’ pricing, and while the fixtures may appear the same on the outside, believe me the internal workings are very different. Over time, the warehouse fixtures will start to break down. If you decide to purchase
the fixtures at the warehouse giant, check those model numbers! Every number and letter has to match exactly to those offered by the plumbing supply company.

4- Glass & Mirror: glass doors should start at 3/8” to _” thickness, which doesn’t allow the doors to wobble when sliding them. Compare this to you know who “warehouse giants” who start at 3/16” and usually only go up to _” in their boxed units. And the polished edges are usually very dull. Also, good quality mirrors will have up to 5 different coatings on the back for ultimate reflection. Those cheaper ones will usually only have one coating of silver. You know the ones. They usually will start to show little black dots after some time. So there you have it. We live in a country that is chock full of choices. The internet is full of information, sometimes a bit too much and not all that accurate. Those cheaper prices are not always because the big wigs buy in bulk. It’s a known fact in the construction industry that name brand manufacturers produce two different types of quality: one for the warehouse suppliers and one for the smaller more local supply houses. Also, remember that buying cheaper now will cost you twice as much later! Call me old- fashioned, but I rather get my information and products from someone I know and trust and who has been in the business for some time. I would like to thank the following companies for their expert advice for this month’s column: Falco Tile, LLC, Freehold, NJ; American Stair and Rail, Lakewood, NJ; ShowerMan, Manalapan, NJ; and Ferrara Plumbing in Freehold, NJ.

I look forward to your questions and helping you in your home improvement needs and projects. You can visit our website at or contact me at:
J.R. Ferullo (732) 751-9129