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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From 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.
So, 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.
– 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.
– 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.”