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Carpet Q & A - Costco, Lowe's or Home Depot?

By Alan Fletcher - 30-year Carpet Expert & Trusted Consumer Advocate


Should I Buy Carpet from Lowe's,  Home Depot or Costco?

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


I say that partly because they typically farm-out their installations to another company, and they may charge a hefty fee for a simple in-home measuring, and they use private labels on their samples to make comparison shopping almost impossible. There are many other important reasons why I don't recommend buying new Carpet from big box retailers.  Read on...





You Might Ask The Right Carpet Questions, But Get The Wrong Answers...


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


When I call a prospective dealer and ask some key carpet questions, I am amazed that so many salespeople can't answer carpet questions like; What is the difference between Nylon and Polyester carpets? What is the most durable carpet fiber? What is the most stain resistant fiber? What is the most durable carpet for kids and pets? What is the best carpet style for Stairs or Basements? What is the best carpet padding for pets? These are all KEY questions that cannot be quickly answered without knowing more about your specific situation. The salesperson will need to ask you a few questions about your home and lifestyle before they can determine the appropriate response. A fast or simple answer to any of these questions will usually be wrong! Only someone who is very knowledgeable, trained and well experienced in the carpet business will be able to answer your questions like these questions appropriately and accurately.


Working nights and weekends by the hour at a home improvement warehouse is surely a demanding job and many new retail workers have been hired after having lost their once lucrative career jobs from the downturn in the economy. These nice folks have had to seek out other employment opportunities just to make ends meet, but now find they are overworked, inexperienced and underpaid. This simply means that they might not have as much passion for their new and hopefully "temporary" employment at their local big box store as they had for their previous job.  Buying new Carpet or Flooring is such a big and important investment, I think all your questions need to be answered by someone who really knows what they are talking about! 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 big opportunity to make some serious money selling carpet and flooring by using their corporate muscles to

 negotiate with carpet manufacturers. They have deep pockets and have the ability to spend millions on advertising to lure-in unsuspecting homeowners. In doing so they have forced many long-standing, honest and reputable, locally-owned flooring stores to go out of business. I am very sad about this and want to help and support locally-owned flooring dealers any way I can.


My List: The Best & Worst Places to Buy Carpet & Flooring



Why I prefer locally owned, family run businesses.


Lowe's and Home Depot have certainly met homeowners basic needs for DIY home improvement products and I 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 and labor costs (which they want paid in full upfront), the big box retailer is basically done serving you. They are only in business to sell you the materials, they subcontract out the in-home measuring and installation to other businesses or subcontractors. 


And what do big box dealers have to say when you call them 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 have to seek a remedy with either the carpet manufacturer or the carpet installation company. Basically, this means you are on your own with little or no help from them! 


This means if you believe you have an installation problem with your carpet, you will have to contact the installation company directly for a remedy. When they come out to inspect your carpet they may say your problem is a carpet defect - not an installation problem. Now you have to contact the carpet manufacturer directly to allow them to take a look. They in turn will inspect your carpet and likely say it is an installation problem or blame you for improper care or abuse. This is the vicious cycle that makes homeowners furious because no one is willing to accept responsibility for your carpet complaint. 



And what about those $37 carpet installation specials? 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. How to Avoid Carpet Scams!


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. 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 local is 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. See who I recommend near you



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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: They create this softness by making the nylon filament thinner. By doing so, it may reduce the resiliency of the fiber. Resiliency is the ability of the carpet fiber to spring back to it's original shape after being walked on. 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 a standard denier nylon fiber. Matting and crushing of the pile is not typically covered under the manufacturer's warranty. Once carpet fiber begins to mat down, there is little that can be done to restore it to it's like new appearance.

I do like the look and feel of soft nylons but the added cost and potential reduction in resiliency could make me hesitate if I wanted more than 10 years of use or for heavy traffic applications. 

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 carpet warranty. Learn more about Carpet Warranties


Alan's Preferred Carpet Dealers

It's getting harder everyday to find an honest and reputable carpet dealer! That's why I have been putting together my own special hand-picked list of Carpet Dealers who are locally owned, give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and hire qualified installers. 

See who I recommend near you!


Special Report: The Best & Worst Places to Buy Carpet & Flooring


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Alan's Preferred Carpet Dealers

Carpet Scams are Everywhere! It's getting harder every day for me to find honest & reputable Carpet Dealers to recommend to my readers! That's why, since 2008, I have been compiling my own special list of hand-picked carpet dealers who have passed my own special requirements, have a commitment to providing first-class customer service, who are locally owned, provide free measures & estimates, offer fair & square pricing, have knowledgeable sales staff, and use qualified installers. Don't take chances... See who I recommend near you!



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