After 30+ years in the business, I'm sharing my knowledge and experience with homeowners who want to choose wisely, avoid scams and get qualified installs from a reputable dealer.
"How To Choose New Flooring Like A Pro"
Carpet Installation at Lowe's or Home Depot
Should I Buy Carpet from a Big Box Home Improvement Store?
Plenty of consumers buy carpet from a home improvement warehouse, like Lowe's and Home Depot, and are perfectly happy with their purchase. On the flipside, there are plenty of customers who are not happy with their carpet purchase and I think you deserve to know why.
The goal of any home improvement store, like Lowe's and Home Depot, is to make it as easy as possible for their customers to buy new carpet and flooring. They want you to come into their store, pick out a carpet that looks good to you and sell it to you in 30 minutes or less.
Next, they typically collect all the money upfront, order the carpet and schedule your carpet to be installed in about two to four weeks. Sounds good so far....
If I Buy Carpet from Home Depot or Lowe's, What Can Go Wrong?
Sometimes everything goes just right and you have no problems with the carpet or the installation. Sometimes things go terribly wrong and you are left holding the bag. Are you willing to roll the dice to see if you win or lose? Let's assume you are willing to take the chance...
Soon comes the day of installation. At this point you will be very excited and looking forward to having new carpet. You will have told all your friends and family about getting new carpet.
On installation day, you took the day off work, moved out all the furniture, made special arrangements for your pets or children to be out of the way and then the phone rings.....
"Hi Mrs. Jones, this is Tom from the home improvement store. Sorry, we can't install your carpet today there has been a small problem." you are told. "What is the problem?" you ask. "We can't find your carpet. We show was shipped out a week ago and we are trying to locate it now. We will call you back as soon as we know something".
Maybe your carpet was never shipped, maybe it hasn't been manufactured yet, maybe the truck was delayed due to bad weather. Maybe they shipped the wrong carpet, maybe they shipped your carpet to the wrong store, maybe the installer is sick.
There could be any number of reasons why they can't install your carpet today when they said they would.
"Don't worry we will call you back later today and let you know when we can install your carpet." Tom tells you.
So you wait all day. Nothing. No calls. You finally decide to call them back to see what is going on. You ask for Tom, but Tom is gone for the day so they transfer you to another salesperson named Bill. Bill knows nothing about your order or your installation situation so you spend the next five minutes telling him all about your problem and concerns. "Let me look into this and call you back" says Bill.
Do you want to go through this agony?
This is the same treatment you could be forced to endure if you have a carpet complaint AFTER your carpet is installed. Does it always go this way, of course not. Home improvement stores have plenty of happy and satisfied customers. I am sure they are working hard to resolve some of these common carpet buying and installation complaints.
You can read more about their common consumer complaints by doing a simple Google search on the internet. They are easy to find if you type in a phrase like Home Depot Carpet Installation Complaints. Should you buy carpet from a home improvement store? You decide. But first read the rest of the story...
Measuring your home for Carpet should be free! Need someone to measure how much carpet you need? Most locally-owned carpet dealers don't charge a fee for measuring your home. It a free service!
Lowe's and Home Depot will likely charge you ay least $75 to $150 to come out and measure your home! However, if you do buy from them it may be deducted from your total carpet purchase price.
This is a $125 incentive for you to buy from them without getting any other estimates. If you don't buy from them, you stand to lose at least $125 bucks! That is almost like holding you hostage.
Now you are in fear of having to pay other carpet dealers more fees to come out and measure your home again and again. Don't worry, most reputable carpet stores provide FREE measuring of your home.
If the person measuring your home makes a simple measuring mistake or mathematical miscalculation and doesn't order enough carpet, then there will not be enough carpet to finish the job. They will have to order more carpet and that takes time, sometimes weeks.
The installers won't discover this fact until they come to install the carpet and by then it is too late. You will have moved out all the furniture and made many special arrangements preparing to have your new carpet installed.
To the installers surprise they will soon discover they have to order more carpet and then come back to complete the job in a week or two.
Sometimes the exact same carpet is not available anymore or you can't get the exact same dye-lot. Now you end up with some carpet that doesn't match the rest of the house. This scenario is more common than you might think.
Home Improvement stores don't pay their employees at the top of the pay scale so they often hire people who may not have very much experience with carpet or flooring. Professionals with years of flooring experience are not generally willing to work for $15 per hour at Home Depot. This means that the person who is offering you carpet or flooring advice may not be giving you sound advice.
Be careful who you trust
Not all carpet salespeople are created equal. Don't expect every carpet salesperson you meet to be qualified to steer you in the right direction. Younger salespeople often know very little about the products they sell. It's not their fault, it the fault of the retailer who hires them.
It's common for certain carpet retailers to hire younger salespeople because they are eager to make money, they are highly impressionable, they are willing to work long hours and they are willing to follow instructions. This means you have to do your homework.
You can't just ask the salesperson at a home improvement store what carpet they recommend. They have absolutely no clue what grade of carpet is "right" for you.
You have to buy the right carpet based on your own special circumstances. Has your salesperson ask you these questions?
If the only question your salesperson asks you is... "What is your budget for this project?" Then you need to shop elsewhere. These and many more questions must be answered in order to determine which carpet will be "right" for you.
Buying carpet is not as easy as it was 20 or 30 years ago.
There is a lot to learn about choosing the right carpet before you begin shopping. This is the carpet homework I am talking about, and this is exactly why I created this website!
Carpet Padding Choices
The same goes for padding. Choose the wrong padding and you void the carpet warranty.
This advice is not just for buying at home improvement stores, it applies to buying carpet and pad at any carpet store. You have to do your homework in order to keep from being ripped off or making a serious and costly mistake. Selecting the Right Carpet Pad
Qualified Carpet Installation
The same goes for carpet installation. Would you be able to tell a good carpet install verses a bad carpet install? If installed improperly, your carpet life span could be cut in half. Three out of four carpet installers are not properly trained.
This is one of the biggest problems when buying carpet from a home improvement store. They have always had a hard time finding and keeping qualified carpet installers.
Most home improvement warehouses now use an outside installation company to do their carpet installations. If you have an installation problem it could be difficult to get a fast remedy, if at all. So how do you protect yourself?