- How to choose new carpet and flooring like a pro!

How To Choose New Flooring Like A Pro!


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Free Carpet Installation at Lowe's or Home Depot

Q. Is Free Carpet Installation at Lowe's & Home Depot a Good Deal?


Carpet Sample Rack at a Home Improvement Warehouse - Carpet ProfessorAbout 15 years ago, Home Depot and Lowe's started advertising carpet installation for just $99 to attract new customers. Then they lowered the price down to $37. Eventually, they began offering whole-house carpet installation for free, if you met certain purchase requirements.


Have you seen their TV ads offering Free Basic Carpet Installation? It sounds like a great deal until you read all the fine print. Most homeowners ask the same question, how can they afford to give away free carpet installation? Here are a few carpet installation facts you might want to know:


The cost for carpet installation is rising. Installers usually charge by the square yard or square foot and there are separate charges for extra work required such as moving heavy furniture, custom upholstery work on stairs and floor preparation to name a few. 


On average, the cost to install new carpet nationwide is about $6.00 to $8.00 per square yard or $0.66 to $0.89 per square foot, plus any extras necessary to complete the job. That means a simple room measuring 12' x 15' foot (20 square yards or 180 square feet) will cost about $150 to install. For a home needing 100 yards of carpet (900 sf), installation would cost $600 to $800 plus extras. Learn more about Carpet Installation Cost.


Most carpet retailers prefer to bundle their proposals for carpet, padding and installation to only show one price for everything. That makes it nearly impossible for consumers to compare prices with other competing stores. Here are three ways to explain how they are able to offer free carpet installation to their customers.


First, Home Depot and Lowe's each have over 2000 locations nationwide, giving them incredible buying power. They are able to negotiate great prices from their suppliers and manufacturers. On top of that, I believe they add an extra 15% to all their measures to make sure they don't run short of materials. Then there is the standard product markup of 40%. They also profit from selling padding. So it's easy to see that there is more than enough profit to cover the cost of offering free carpet installation.


Second, they add on extra fees and charges for any work required that is beyond the scope of a basic carpet install. From floor preparation to replacing damaged tackless strips, if your job requires anything above and beyond the basic install, they will do the work and charge you dearly for it.


Third, Lowe's now owns the "Stainmaster" brand name so they control the price and availability of all Stainmaster branded products. Acquiring the Stainmaster brand name was a strategic maneuver to prevent homeowners from comparison shopping and potentially finding a lower price on the exact same carpet elsewhere. 


Home Depot offers a carpet collection called "Home Decorators". The Home Decorators Collection was acquired by Home Depot in 2006 . This is why consumers can't comparison shop for these same carpets at another nearby carpet retailer. 



I don't advise purchasing new carpet or flooring from big-box stores like Lowe's, Home Depot or corporately-owned home improvement warehouses. The substantial expense of new carpet and floor coverings, and the importance of selecting the right product to meet your needs and goals, make these purchases way too important to take any chances.


I believe the best way for homeowners to make wise carpet choices, ensure qualified installation and enjoy first-class customer service is to buy from a reputable locally owned flooring store. That being said, here are four reasons why I don't recommend buying new carpet from a box store.


1. While box stores may offer quality products and materials sourced from reputable suppliers, they lack readily available and qualified in-store experts to address customer queries and offer reliable advice on carpet purchases. I believe homeowners need access to experienced and knowledgeable sales staff to assist in making wise and informed choices.


2. Big-box retailers delegate the majority of homeowner interactions with external service providers to minimize their exposure and limit liability. After securing your order and receiving full payment, they subsequently subcontract all other tasks to other independent and privately-held companies.


These outside entities are paid to handle essential responsibilities such as in-home measuring, jobsite assessment and product installation. The identity of these subcontracted companies raises several questions: Do they ensure precise measurements and strive to minimize material waste? Are the installers qualified to install the type of carpet I have ordered? Who do I contact  if there is a problem or concern with the carpet quality or installer workmanship? Who provides the warranty coverage and what are the limitations?


3. Notice an issue with your recently purchased carpet? Unfortunately, the box store where you made the purchase won't be able to provide assistance since they are not the manufacturers of the carpet. To address the problem, it is necessary for you to reach out to the carpet manufacturer directly for a resolution. The carpet manufacturer will set up a date and time to have their representative come by to inspect your carpet. They will send you a determination letter after they have finished their investigation.


4. If believe your carpet has not been installed properly, the box store won't provide support since they didn't handle the installation themselves. Instead, they subcontracted the installation to a service provider. To address the issue, you'll need to reach out directly to the installation company for a remedy. The carpet installation company will set up a date and time to have their representative come by to inspect your carpet. They will send you a determination letter after they have finished their investigation.


These are not the only reasons why I don't recommend buying Carpet or Flooring from Box Stores or Home Improvement Warehouses. Homeowners must be cautious when it comes to buying new carpet, as costly mistakes can be easy to make. There are numerous potential pitfalls anyone might encounter during the carpet buying process. To ensure top-notch customer service, expert installation, and the best money-saving advantages, it's crucial to understand that these benefits are typically offered by well-established, locally-owned carpet stores, not by corporately-owned box stores. 



Handling Carpet Installation Complaints

Most carpet installations are covered by a minimum of a one-year limited warranty provided by the installer or the retailer. If anything goes wrong with the carpet installation, you will have to contact the warranty provider for a remedy or resolution. They must have access to your home to inspect your carpet to determine if they are responsible for fixing the problem. How do I contact them? How long does it take? What if they deny responsibility?


Handling Carpet Defect Complaints

Every New Carpet Warranty covers carpet manufacturing defects. Even though they inspect every carpet they make before it is shipped out, sometimes defects can be overlooked or missed. Some defects only become obvious after being installed. This is especially true when it involves textures, colors and shading. Sometimes the color at the beginning of the roll is slightly off from the color at the end of the roll. Again, the defect may not become obvious until after the carpet has been installed in your home. Independent Carpet Installers


If you buy carpet from a box store and need to file a carpet warranty claim, you will need to call the carpet manufacturer to seek a remedy. They will set up a date and time to have a representative come by to inspect your carpet and determine if your claim is valid. You will receive a letter to explain the reason for their determination and what, if any, compensation is being offered. Learn more about New Carpet Warranties



This is yet another good reason why I always recommend shopping for new carpet at a reputable locally-owned flooring company. If you ever have a problem or concern with the materials or workmanship there is just one number to call. The store manager (or owner) will inspect your carpet and then make all the necessary arrangements to have your carpet inspected by the right person and have your complaint resolved as quickly as possible.


The expense associated with new carpet and flooring is substantial, and I believe that every homeowner should receive top-notch customer service not only during the sale but also before and after it.



Is Carpet Cheaper at Lowe's or Home Depot?

I've looked at the prices at both of these box stores and the difference in cost is minor. If I had to choose one based on my experience, I would say Home Depot's Carpet prices are cheaper. 


Lowe's offers the Stainmaster brand which is inherently more costly due to the perceived value and lure of such a well-known brand name. They each carry different carpet brands so you can't compare apples to apples. There are slight differences in their warranties, but other than for manufacturing defects, warranties are not worth much either way. Your final carpet selection should not be determined solely by a limited warranty.



Low Cost Carpet Options

If you are looking for the cheapest or least expensive place to buy new carpet and flooring, I suggest you shop at a well established locally-owned carpet store. They provide excellent customer service, have in-house installation crews and will go the extra mile to ensure you are satisfied with your purchase from start to finish, before and after the sale. 


If you want the absolute bare bones carpet prices you might want to consider choosing carpet remnants. Size and selection makes it challenging but if you have the time, you can save up to 50% off brand new high quality carpets. How to Save Big with Carpet Remnants


The only other way to save big is if you buy carpet wholesale from a Dalton GA source. If you need a large amount of carpet (like buying a full roll or more) this might be worth looking into. Discover Insider Secrets to Buying New Carpet Wholesale or less!



Carpet Installation Cost?

There is enough profit to be made selling new carpet and padding that Big Box stores can offer you discounted carpet installation for $99 or less or even free! Why do you suppose Home Depot and Lowe's offer free carpet installation to homeowners? They make up for the cost of free installation by charging you more for any and all of the little extra things your job requires.



Independent Carpet Installers

As I mentioned, both Lowe's and Home Depot decided to farm-out all their carpet installations to privately held flooring installation companies. These installation companies hire just about anyone who has a license, carpet tools and a truck. 



Questions To Ponder...

  • Who is working in my home? Are they trustworthy?

  • Are they well established in the community? 

  • Are they qualified to install my carpet? Will they do a good job? 

  • Do they have a valid state issued Contractor's License? 

  • Are they Bonded and Business Liability Insurance?


What If My Carpet Is Installed Wrong? Who Should I Call?

  • Who will accept responsibility and resolve my complaint? 

  • Can I get a quick remedy without waiting weeks with no response?

  • What if the installer disappears or moves away?


I've heard from many homeowners who ended up with a poor installation job. I've listened to their horror stories about the runaround they got when calling the big box store to try to get someone to listen and be helpful. You don't want this to happen to you. 


Free Carpet InstallationIf you have a problem with your carpet or installation you need to be able to get a quick remedy. 


But if you only pay $37 (or free) for carpet installation and you are not satisfied with the final outcome, will you just get a $37 refund? That's how much you paid for the installation, right? 


I've even seen television commercials that offer free whole-house carpet installation! Let me ask you... have you ever heard the old saying "If it sounds too good to be true?" What you finally end up paying for carpet, padding and installation may be way more than you bargained for!





Common Carpet Sales Gimmicks


Carpet Sample DisplayMany new carpet sales gimmicks have been offered up lately by the big box warehouses and some nationally advertised "shop at home" flooring retailers. 


Their claim of deep discounts on carpet or installation are designed to lure you into thinking you have a chance at getting a really good deal. No matter what their current sales gimmick is, their goal is to make you think they are giving away the farm.


Have you watched those quirky TV commercials by Empire Today that offer incredible deals and next day installation? Did you know that their salespeople are independent contractors? They are paid solely on commission and are basically free to charge you as much as they think they can get away with. 


That means if you live in a nice home and have an expensive car in the driveway, you might be quoted a higher price. Even if you are tempted to buy from a big box retailer like Home Depot or Lowe's, you would be wise to get several bids to compare prices on similar carpet, pad and installation. 


There is no standard markup for carpet and pad. An identical carpet can vary in price widely at every carpet store you visit. Any dealer can price their carpet, materials and labor any way they want.



Qualified Carpet Installers

I truly respect well-trained carpet and flooring installers who work hard, are honest and have integrity. Installers earn their money by providing an honest days work requiring strenuous physical demands and follow strict legal state licensing and insurance regulations.


Installing carpet or other residential or commercial flooring is very difficult, time consuming and requires many years of training and attention to detail.


Personally, I think flooring installers are underpaid and often wrongly blamed and held financially responsible for carpet problems that are beyond their control. It's just too easy for unscrupulous carpet retailers and carpet manufacturers to point the finger at the installer when in fact, the blame lies elsewhere.



Recent Email From a Homeowner:


"I just had (a home improvement warehouse) give me a measure and quote for new carpet.  The basic installation is $99, then it is an additional $195 for tack strips, and an additional $85 because it is a mobile home. 


I've called other carpet installers and they charge less for padding ($3 vs. $5.65) and more for installation ($4/yard), and it will still cost me $250 less than the home improvement warehouse price!"



What is "Basic" Installation?

Does the basic price include removing the old carpet and padding? dump fees? haul away fees, recycling charges? What about transitions, are they included? Nope, and the list is long.



Free Carpet Measuring?

Big Box retailers charge $125 or more for measuring but say they will refund the fee if you agree to buy new carpet and padding from them. That's sales pressure you don't need. Measuring should be a free service and not an extra fee. 



Why Pay For Measuring?


I would never pay a dime for measuring because there are plenty of reputable locally-owned carpet stores who offer free estimates and free measuring. 


Cold Hard CashNationally advertised carpet retailers charge extra for the little things...  Extra for measuring, extra for delivery of the carpet, extra for removing the old carpet and pad, dump fees, extra for stairs, extra for doorway transitions, extra for replacing or repairing tackless strips, extra for just about everything. It's obvious to me that they hide the added cost of a low-cost installation by charging extra for every little thing AND inflating the price of the carpet and pad too? 


Do you know how much they mark-up their carpet and pad? There is more profit in carpet than you might think. And don't forget, they want you to pay for your carpet, pad and installation in advance upfront, and in full!


The Average Cost for Carpet Installation?


It's about $6 per yard on average. It's higher in the northern states and on the west coast like California, Oregon and Washington state. Installation prices are on the rise due to inflation and fuel costs.


There is almost always an extra fee for stairs, furniture moving and transitions where the carpet meets vinyl or hardwood flooring. They have a long list of fees for services that do not fall under their "basic" installation description. Carpet Installation Cost Fees Charges


Some homeowners are very happy with their flooring purchase from a big box retailer. Not every homeowner has bad things to say about their carpet buying experiences with Lowe's, home Depot or Costco. But a lot of homeowners are not happy and have something to say.





You Only Recommend Locally-Owned Carpet Stores?


That's right! Some carpet installation specials are a really good deal for consumers, especially those offered by well established locally-owned carpet retailers.


Reputable carpet retailers may advertise discounts on carpet, padding or specials on installation similar to the big box stores, but without all the fine print! To earn your business many local flooring retailers have to compete with the deep pockets of the big box retail stores. 


When it comes to first-class customer service, local carpet stores have the box stores beat! You still should be careful who you buy from, as it's easy to fall prey to sneaky retail carpet scams. 


This is just another reason why I have been compiling my own special list of honest reputable, locally-owned carpet stores to recommend to my readers. Take a peek, maybe I've already found a reliable carpet store near you.


Support Local Business!

I hope you see the benefits of buying new carpet from a reputable locally-owned carpet retailer. They have your complete satisfaction in mind and will treat you right from to start to finish! Buying locally also helps support your community, schools, roads and your neighbors too. See my Preferred List of local carpet stores near you.



Learn More:
 - How to choose new carpet and flooring like a pro!


~ My List of Carpet & Flooring Stores ~


Recommended Carpet and Flooring Dealers"I Only Recommend Locally-Owned Stores with Superior Service, Quality Products and Qualified Installers"


Recommended By The Carpet Profesor -  Recommended By The Carpet Profesor -   Recommended By The Carpet Profesor -





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