Lowes vs. Home Depot flooring installation?

Are you thinking of flooring your house? There are lots of options as regards the right contractor to use. You might want to save yourself the trouble of finding an independent contractor by just using established franchisees. In that case, which one is better between Home Depot and Lowes for flooring installation?

If you want to use a store to install your flooring, Home Depot is better than Lowes. Both use subcontractors and have similar costs, but Home Depot offers better customer service and guarantees. However, it’s best to use independent contractors. Check their references and ask for their insurance.

There are several benefits to using an independent contractor: lower costs, a better vetting process, a stronger connection to the contractor, and more. Here, we discuss which is better between Lowes and Home Depot for flooring installation and why you should use independent contractors.

Comparison of Lowes and Home Depot

When it comes to home improvement materials, Lowes and Home Depot are two of the biggest names. These two stores offer all kinds of building equipment and materials to everyone who needs to do some remodeling or renovation in their house. They don’t just offer these materials; they also offer installation services. Here’s a comparison of their services and features:

1.      Use Of Third Party

Both companies use third-party contractors for the actual installation. So, your experience will depend on how good your contractor is. You can get a flooring specialist in flooring or an average contractor. Thus, it’s almost impossible to determine how the installation will turn out. The issue with using a third party is that the companies take a large percentage of the fees. This discourages many good contractors from working with them. However, if a contractor does a bad job, the store will be the one to negotiate between you and the contractor, and they’ll most likely insist that the contractor satisfies you as long as you’re not asking for what’s not in the contract. For something as simple as flooring, a contractor’s chances of doing a bad job are limited.

2.      Customer Service

When getting flooring materials from a supply yard or lumber house, you’re most likely to be attended to by experienced staff. With Lowes or Home Depot, this won’t likely be the case. Most of the employees in their stores are not tradespeople so they won’t be able to give you the advice and information you need. Even then, Home Depot appears to have more experienced and knowledgeable staff. This is likely due to the higher retention rate at Home Depot. So, they’re more willing and able to help when compared to those you’ll find at Lowes. Thus, if you need a more hands-on approach and guidance on your flooring needs, you might be better off with Home Depot.

3.      Cost

Lowes and Home Depot offer competitive pricing, similar in materials and labor costs. So, you end up paying almost the same thing at both places, especially for common building materials. What you get for the cost is quite the same, although it appears that Home Depot offers more personalized services. The company will come to measure your flooring before any installation to ensure that the flooring is perfect for your house. Home Depot also guarantees refunds or fixing the installation if they’re at fault. On the other hand, Lowes doesn’t refund installation charges and labor fees, but the store gives a limited guarantee on items installed.

Who Should Install Your Flooring?

Although Lowes and Home Depot can help install your floor, they’re not the best choice. While they may offer convenience as you can easily order online, avoid dealing with the contractor and sign a contract, they aren’t the best for specialty services. When it comes to flooring installation, the best thing to do is use an independent contractor.

Why Use Independent Contractors

There are several reasons to use an independent contractor, and that includes:

  • Money-Saving: independent contractors will usually charge less than big box stores to install the flooring. This is because there’s no extra commission on the labor fees.
  • Stringent Screening Process: Big box stores don’t usually vet the contractors they recommend. But you have to carefully research and compare several contractors before selecting the best one.
  • Establish Stronger Connection: An independent contractor knows the importance of doing a job right, unlike one recommended by the store, which has less incentive to make a good impression.
  • Access To Unique Materials: With stores, there are usually several exclusive brands and materials they carry that they’ll pitch to you and encourage you to buy. If you need something unique and rare, it’s always better to use an independent contractor.

Things To Do When Using an Independent Contractor

When hiring an independent contractor, it’s important to do the following:

1.      Get References

If you’re using an independent contractor, you must get references. You want to see their previous jobs and how good it is. Most contractors will give you references once you ask for them, but you shouldn’t rely on that alone. Call these people and speak to them about the work done for them. You may even visit the references if they’re close by. But you can also use the internet to determine just how good the contractor is. Check review pages and neighborhood groups, and ask people in the area. There’s a chance they’ve worked with someone in the locality before.

2.      Ask for Insurance and a License

The last thing you want is an uninsured person working in your house. You may pay more than you bargained for if anything untoward should happen. So, check their insurance and ask for a certificate. While they might want to show you a certificate, that’s not enough proof. The contractor’s insurance agent should be the one that sends you the certificate. Only then can you count on the fact that it’s real. It’s easier to verify whether they’re licensed, and it’s important not to overlook this.

In Conclusion

Big Box stores like Lowes and Home Depot are great for DIY home improvement projects since you can get the materials and equipment and start the project. But if you need the flooring of your house, it’s better to call an expert independent contractor.