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Carpet Q & A - Big Box Retailers

Q. Should I Buy Carpet from Lowe's or Home Depot?

I shop at home improvement warehouses when I need lumber, lighting, nails, potting soil or small hand tools etc, and overall I think they have reasonable prices, good service and have a nice selection, but I think buying new Carpet from Lowe's, Home Depot, Costco or any other big box warehouse retailer may not be the best way to go for most homeowners.


I say this partly because I know they farm-out their carpet and flooring installations to a private company, and they charge a hefty fee ($75 - $125) for a simple in-home measuring. Big Box retailers also use private labels on all their carpet and flooring samples to make comparison shopping almost impossible for you the homeowner. There are many other important reasons why I don't recommend buying new Carpet from any of the big box retailers, and many other nationally advertised carpet retailers.  


Read on...


If you ask Carpet Questions, you may not get the Right Answers!


From what I've experienced myself, I find that many BIG BOX salespeople are relatively new to the carpet and flooring business and lack "hands-on" product knowledge and sufficient experience to accurately answer even the most basic homeowner carpet buying questions. 


Working part time, nights and weekends for just $12 per hour at a local home improvement warehouse is surely a demanding job. Many people were hired after having lost their once high-paying careers from the 2008 downturn in the economy. 


These hardworking folks have had to seek out other employment opportunities just to survive and make ends meet, often working two or more jobs. These people are now overworked, underpaid and totally exhausted by the end of their day! They dream of returning to their former career and make the money they once enjoyed. 


This means that there might not be as much passion for their new and hopefully "temporary" employment opportunity they now endure at the local big box warehouse store. So when YOU stroll in and ask them some seriously important carpet buying questions... You might not get the best answer or the right or correct answer you need and require in order to make wise and informed choices.


Because buying new Carpet or Flooring is such a costly and important investment, ALL your questions need to be answered by someone who really knows what they are talking about! I know first-hand that it takes decades to amass all the flooring knowledge and experience to be able to advise consumers how to make wise and informed carpet buying choices!  Article: What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?



Big Box Corporate Conglomerates are in Business to Make Money!

I think it's obvious that Home Depot and Lowe's got into the Carpet business because they saw a HUGE opportunity to make some serious money selling carpet and flooring products to the masses and by using their corporate muscles to negotiate lower prices with carpet and flooring manufacturers. 


They have deep pockets and have the ability to spend millions on TV advertising to lure-in unsuspecting homeowners with unbelievable installation specials and other special sales gimmicks. 


They have made a huge impact on flooring sales nationwide! Since 2008, they have forced many long-standing, honest and reputable, locally-owned flooring stores out of business. I am very sad about this and want to do whatever I can to help and support locally-owned carpet and flooring dealers. 


Why? Because most locally-owned carpet and flooring dealers have the knowledge and experience to homeowners make wise and informed choices. Free Report: The Worst Places to Buy Carpet



Why I ONLY Recommend Locally Owned, Family-Run Carpet Dealers.

Most locally owned and family operated flooring dealers will bend over backwards to take good care of you before, during and after the sale! They hope you will be so satisfied that you will tell all your friends, neighbors and co-workers how well you were treated! If you have a problem or complaint they will do whatever it takes to make things right!


Lowe's and Home Depot have certainly met homeowners basic needs for DIY home improvement products and I too shop there for those items like most folks do, but knowing what I know, I would never buy carpet or flooring from them. Why? Once you pay for the materials, measuring and labor (which they want paid in full upfront at the time of ordering), the big box retailer is basically done serving you. 


They are only in business to sell you the materials. They subcontract out their measuring and installation services to other privately-held businesses or potentially unvetted and unknown subcontractors. You have no way of knowing if you can trust those people who they send out to install your flooring, or if those people you are allowing to enter your home are qualified to do the job at hand. Kind of scary huh? Check out my free Carpet Buying Checklist



What do big box dealers say when you call with a Carpet Complaint? 

They will likely say that since THEY didn't install your carpet and since THEY didn't manufacture your carpet, YOU will have to seek a remedy with either the Carpet Manufacturer or the Carpet Installation Company. This means you are on your own with little or no help from anyone at the Big Box Warehouse Store! 


This means if you believe you have an installation problem with your carpet, you will have to contact the installation company directly for any hope of a remedy. If and when they come out to inspect your carpet issues, they may say your problem is a carpet defect - not an installation problem. 


When this happens, you now have to contact the carpet manufacturer directly and allow them to come out to take a look at your carpet complaint. If they do come to your home to inspect your carpet, they in turn will likely say it is an installation problem or perhaps blame you for improper carpet care or carpet abuse. 


This is the vicious cycle that makes homeowners absolutely furious because it is almost impossible to find anyone willing to accept responsibility for your carpet complaint. 



What about those FREE Carpet Installation Specials? 

Read the fine print! It sure sounds good at first, but is it really a good deal in the long run? Do you know what they mean by a "basic" installation? It means that anything you might need above and beyond their very limited definition of a "basic install" will add a significant additional charge to your final bill. 


You might not discover how much more this will cost you until the day of installation when the installers arrive with your carpet and then ask you to pay hundreds of dollars more for additional services before they will begin. 


This is just one of many reasons why I only recommend buying carpet from a reputable, locally owned, family-run floor covering business. They have a vested interest in your community and will go the extra mile to make sure you are satisfied. Free Report: How to Avoid Common Carpet Scams!



Big Box Carpet Sales Generate Huge Corporate Profits

I don't like hearing about huge corporate profits and mega salaries paid out to corporate CEO's while millions of Americans are out of work and struggling to pay their bills. The typical corporate mindset is mainly concerned with making as much money as possible and spending as little as possible on wages, benefits and customer service. Buying from a local business is better for you, better for your family and better for our economy!


Now you know several reasons why I only recommend buying from a locally owned, family run carpet business that has been in the carpet business for many years. Not only will they treat you like gold, but they will take good care of you before and after the sale. 



Is a "Soft Nylon" a Good Choice?

We just bought a house and need to re-carpet. We've got a quote from Lowe's for a Mohawk carpet, 53-oz face-weight, 6.5 tuft twist, BCF, 100% Lisse® nylon, "textured" carpet.  We like it but I have been rethinking it because I'm not sure it is dense enough.  This carpet is for our entire upstairs, two bedrooms, one office and the main stair well.  It's only the two of us, but I want to make sure we are making a good investment. Does this carpet sound like a wise choice?  Would you advise something more dense?  We checked out a more dense carpet made by Pacific Coast (I think) and it would be $500 more for the same amount.  I just don't know if the higher density justifies the added cost.  Let me know what you think! Thanks! D.W.



Your carpet selection basically seems fine to me based on what limited carpet info you have told me. 53-ounces is a good carpet face-weight. But you didn't say how much the carpet cost per yard or what carpet pad you selected and how much that will cost, or the density ratings of the carpet or padding.

The carpet you are considering might be a good selection for your needs and lifestyle, but without knowing all the details I can't say for sure. Lisse' is one of the newer "soft" nylon styles and is more expensive than a standard nylon carpet because it feels more soft to the touch. Other branded "Soft" nylon styles are called Tactesse®, Lisse® and Caress® to name a few. Tigressa® is another soft nylon brand you might encounter.



My thoughts about "Soft Nylons" for medium to high-traffic applications

Most consumers want a soft carpet pile and are willing to pay more to get it. Manufacturers achieve this by extruding the fiber strand thinner. A thinner strand is softer. For example, some people have thin hair, some people have coarse hair. Thin hair is softer than coarse hair, but course hair is more durable and less prone to breaking. 


By making a carpet fiber thinner, it will fell softer. However, this may actually reduce the overall strength and resiliency of the fiber. Resiliency is the ability of the carpet strand to spring back to it's original "stand upright" shape after being walked on or compressed or bent. If the resiliency is reduced by making the strand thinner, the carpet may not retain it's like-new appearance as long and might mat down or "crush" more quickly than would a standard denier nylon fiber. 



Matting and crushing of the pile is not typically covered under the manufacturer's warranty. 

I do like the look and feel of "Soft Nylons" but the added cost and potential reduction in strength and resiliency would make me hesitate if I wanted more than 10 years of use or for use in medium to heavy traffic applications. A thinner fiber strand may not be as durable as a thicker fiber strand. The fiber thickness is referred to as fiber DENIER. 



Carpet Fiber vs. Fishing Line? 


Have you ever purchased fishing line? What was the test rating you bought? Three pound test? Six pound test? What is the difference in the fishing line you selected? Isn't it always about strength and durability? The fiber used to make your new carpet is also very similar to selecting fishing line! Learn more about Carpet Fiber Denier


Have you ever read a manufacturer's carpet warranty completely? You'd be surprised to discover how many hoops you have to jump through just to keep from inadvertently voiding your new carpet warranty. 



Learn more:




About The Carpet Professor:

Looking to buy new carpeting but feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, options and potential scams? The Carpet Professor's website is a free unbiased carpet information resource and buying guide for consumers. Alan Fletcher is a retired 30-year industry expert and consumer advocate. He maintains a special hand-picked list of locally-owned carpet and flooring stores to recommend to his readers.


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