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Is it really cheaper to buy your flooring at Home Depot?

Is it cheaper to buy your flooring at Home Depot? A few days ago, one of my friends called me and almost cancelled my appointment with her – she is redoing a whole basement and needs flooring for about 1,000 sq ft. Initially, from her “research” she wanted laminate (not realizing that it wasn’t waterproof until I told her). She wants a hardwood look.
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Westchester NY laminate flooringFrom there, she went to Home Depot and thought she found the perfect solution (or so she thought) – Traffic Master Allure vinyl planks – they look good and are waterproof. This is a product that is similar the luxury vinyl plank I’ve discussed in previous post and it is a GREAT product. The luxury vinyl planks tend to be expensive because the material is very high quality. So, when she went to Home Depot, she was so excited about this – it looked like what I was describing and it was priced low. I hated to burst her bubble, but I had to.


I told her that even if she doesn’t go with me, she needs to watch out for this product because it’s been known to have a LOT of problems, and I mean a lot. Apparently, they brought this product to market too quickly and it has a really poor adhesive. So, if you put it down and then move the plank so that it is firmer in place, it tends to ruin the glue. For anyone who has tried to install this type of product, they know that this happens to some extent on almost every other plank that you lay. So, after several weeks, the flooring tends to peel up and slide around. I’ve now heard so many bad stories about this that I refuse to install it.  Also, if you do in fact have a flood, the adhesive on this cheaper product ruins it.


Black and white vinyl flooring westchester NYSo, this really got me thinking…Is it really cheaper to buy from Home Depot? This was my topic of discussion for my 10 min presentation at BNI yesterday. My conclusions are: Yes, you can get a cheaper product at Home Depot – ABSOLUTELY…But, you usually get a lower value (especially in terms of labor and service…and often in product quality)….and because of this, while it sometimes appears that you are saving a bit of money in the short run, you are actually losing money in the long run.


Let me explain further. I know that usually, when you are comparing us vs. Home Depot, we come out lower than Home Depot for hardwood and laminate. And, when comparing vs. carpet, I sometimes come out a tad higher. Because we are a nationwide buying group (with over 100 of us across the country), we buy directly from the manufacturers and get good rates – usually we are buying it at the same rates as Home Depot. So, when I go to Home Depot and I see they are selling a product for less than what I buy it for, I get suspicious. Now, that I’ve been in the business long enough, I now know what to look for. So, let me share some examples with you from my field trip the other day.


Bamboo flooring westchester NY– The bamboo they sell is very low priced and for very good reason – it’s an inferior product that dents very easily.


– The marble tiles are lower priced than what I buy them for…hmmm.  They look nice on the front…but if you turn them over, you’ll see all the epoxy in the veins and believe me, those will crack rather easily on your floor, so I would never install them.


– I picked up some of the glass tiles…they were rather light. That’s because they were half the thickness of the standard glass tile.


– Some of the Vinyl Composite tile was the same price as what I pay for it – again, it was thinner.


carpet store westchester NY– Most of the hardwood they sell are inferior quality. They often have more color variation and knotting and their milling is poor…which means your floor won’t come out even because not all of the pieces are the same thickness and/or the tongue and groove don’t line up correctly. Don’t even get me started on the low quality of most of the engineered products they offer.


What was so funny was that unbeknownst to me there was a former Home Depot manager who used to work in the flooring department. (He was subbing in our BNI group, so I didn’t know him). He was nodding in agreement as I spoke. When we did referrals/testimonials, he backed me up 110%.


So, can you get cheaper products at Home Depot? ABSOLUTELY. Can you get the same product for a lower price? RARELY! Will you get better installers? DOUBTFULLY. So shop around a bit, and make sure you are getting the best option for you/your budget. I’m not saying you need to get the Cadillac version. Just do your homework and ask an expert. Some of their products are good and the same as what you would get anywhere else. But, if something costs less, there is usually a good reason for it, especially in this economy where everyone is being super competitive with their prices. I’m not saying to buy or to not buy from Home Depot. I’m just stressing “caveat emptor.”

Decorate on a budget

Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors

8 thoughts on “Is it really cheaper to buy your flooring at Home Depot?”

  1. I really appreciate this article. I am a designer for a flooring company and spend most of my client face time talking to them about the dangers of compromised quality in regards to their prices. Great job on your article.


  2. But:: I went to a very highly rated flooring place in the area where I live ( Scotts Valley ca store, bought what they recommended because I had to had water impervious @ kitchen. They gave me the guarantee the works. Formica started getting locks In it and then when I had water problem … Oh no that isn’t what we sold you. Guarantee no good from store and Formica said store installation wrong. See .. Point – even so called reputable company’s can get you. .. At least if I had used Home Depot and it turned bad crappy job would have cost half as much.

    1. Dorothy – I’m not sure I agree with your logic. This is more likely due to the store that you chose (or even a misunderstanding on your part). Formica is/was a laminate and NOT waterproof. (I’m not sure if Formica still makes laminate or if they discontinued it). You are correct that you may spend less at Hope Depot, but in general, their products are lower quality and so are the helpers there, so you are more likely to have a problem. If you do the math on “expected value” based on cost and likelihood on average, you would come out worse with Home Depot.

  3. I installed the Allure flooring when I bought my house right after the crash. I was almost finished when I noticed the concrete was wet. I decided to not lay the last 2 rows of the flooring and to let the concrete dry out first. I left the protective plastic strip on the flooring. I assumed it was due to me redoing the bathroom plumbing the night before and I had a slow drip at the toilet all night that was right on the other side of the wall. Turns out it was the pipe in the floor. It sprang a leak that night and flooded my entire dining room, kitchen, and a large part of the living room – including the pieces that weren’t installed yet. The laminate flooring in the living room was purchased at Sam’s club(with attached underlayment) and was about a week old. I turned the water off to the house, jacked the laminate floor up and used fans to blow under the laminate flooring to dry it. I jack hammered the floor up, fixed the pipe, filled the hole with concrete, and finished installing the Allure flooring. I got all manner of dust on the allure flooring and the strip in some places. I cleaned the dust off and kept going. The flooring was covered up 6 years later with carpet as I built a wall to box in the dining room. It still remained in the kitchen. Now, as I am removing the dining room and expanding the kitchen this flooring still stands in place. No seams have failed. The glue has held up for nearly a decade perfectly even after being under water the day it was installed. It has held up to refrigerators, dropping heavy tools on it, being wiped off with acetone and other harsh chemicals. My kitchen has seen lots of projects, work, and harsh chemicals that none of your kitchens has likely seen. The Allure flooring has held up perfectly. I installed it in my mother in law’s house when she had a fire and redid her kitchen 2 years ago. It is also holding up perfectly. I can’t imagine asking any more from this flooring than it has given me. There might be stronger floors, better adhesives, or any number of improvements – but the situation and abuse I have put it through is more than enough for 99% of people in the world. I would put it in a workshop and expect it to take abuse. I don’t need to replace either the wood flooring or the Allure but I am moving to tile since I ripped a wall down to build an island and have to redo the floor anyway.

    I’m not arguing that there aren’t better products – but the quality of Allure is fine.

    1. David – I’m glad you had a positive experience with this product. I have only heard about a few people happy with it, and I’ve seen many unhappy with it where we’ve had to remove it and many complaints on line, and many installers saying they’ve had problems. Perhaps some of this is due to installation methods and you may have installed yours very well and with very little rework. Chances are most homeowners and many handyman are amateurs at this and hence some of the issues. Thank you for sharing.

  4. The simple solution to this is to up your quality slightly to compensate. Never buy the cheaper version of anything from Big Box. Instead of ceramic, go porcelain. Instead of laminate, go hard wood. If a tile suits your needs then it is best to inspect the boxes. They are not usually handled with the care that they deserve but this leads to an awareness of product quality. If you can see that there are several damaged items in the package that was mishandled then it may not be up to par. You save money at these stores so you have to operate in a middle ground. Try and get the best product you can for the best price knowing that the quality may be slightly less than a specialty store. I for one have had way more issues with buying from non big box stores. The great thing about big box stores is their return policies. Bought too much? No problem, return it. I always like to have a couple replacements for worst case scenarios (large pot drops and cracks porcelain, etc). That way in the future you already have your backup plan. To each his own but you get what you pay for and there is still a way to win and save money. Walmart offers great prices by offering inferior products so you always have to shop smart there and anywhere that you can save money.

    1. Tyler – Those are some great points. Trading up on material can sometimes help the situation. Going for the cheap products (regardless of location) can lead to a bunch of issues. Thanks for your input.

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