Where to Shop for New Carpet?
How do I rate various Carpet retailers on a scale of one to five?
Here’s what 30 years of Carpet experience has taught me…
#8 Nationally Advertised or BIG-BOX Carpet Retailers
1.5 Stars out of 5
These corporately-owned conglomerates blanket the airwaves with constant and repetitive TV commercials! They have thousands of locations all over the country making it a convenient place to shop. However, I never recommend buying new carpet from Big Box retailers. Here’s why:
Personally, I think buying carpet from home improvement warehouses like Lowe’s and Home Depot should be avoided. For example, they place private labels on all their carpet samples to prevent you from comparison shopping.
They also farm out all their carpet installations to other independent companies. You never know who will show up to install your carpet. Will they do a good job? Do have enough experience? Let’s hope so.
Home Depot and Lowe’s require full payment at the time of purchase and charge you a fee just to come out and measure your home. (Also farmed out to another independent contracting company.)
Should you have a carpet problem or complaint, they may just tell you to contact the installation company or contact the carpet manufacturer directly.
In many cases, it is quite possible that if you have a problem or complaint, no one will be willing to step up to help you. It can be hard to get anyone to accept responsibility for your carpet problem or complaint.
You could easily end up unhappy with your purchase.
Some homeowners are satisfied with their carpet purchase from a Big Box Retailer. But it amazes me how many carpet complaints are posted on the internet. Do a Google search for “home depot carpet installation complaints” to see the results for yourself.
Best and Worst Places to Buy New Carpet? Learn more: Should I Buy Carpet from Lowe’s, Home Depot, Empire Today or Costco?
#7 Local Carpet Warehouse or Carpet Outlet Store
2.5 Stars out of 5
Do you want to do-it-all-yourself and save a lot of money? Create a detailed diagram of your home with all the room measurements and bring your truck, some rope and maybe a tarp if it is raining!
These local carpet dealers offer low prices and have dozens of rolls of carpet “in-stock” and ready to go.
“Wholesale Carpet Outlet stores cater mostly to homeowners on a tight budget, landlords and property managers and D.I.Y. consumers.”
They have plenty of inexpensive, lower-quality, defective or second-grade materials. They have some good quality carpet at higher prices.
Have them roll out the carpet you like before you agree to buy it to make sure there are no obvious defects. Look carefully for missing tufts or color streaks on the pile surface. Look on the back for any damage or de-lamination of the backing.
Best and Worst Places to Buy New Carpet? Check their guarantee carefully and get everything in writing before you sign on the dotted line. Once you buy it, you own it. no refunds.
Limited to stock on hand
The main problem when buying carpet from this type of retailer, is that they rarely have the same type, style or color of carpet available, should you need more in the future.
This simply means if you need to buy more of the exact same carpet you bought today, it may not be available for you to buy tomorrow.
Once a roll of carpet is sold, the same type, style and dye lot (color) may be gone forever. No two rolls of carpet are exactly the same. There will be differences in color or style that may be quite obvious once it is installed.
These dealers may offer in-house installation or they might just hand you a list of local installers for you to call and hire on your own.
If you have to arrange for your own installation you must negotiate with the installer and likely be asked to pay them in cash at the end of the day.
When it’s all said and done…
In the end, if you pay just $8.99 per yard for the carpet, don’t expect it to last for 10 years. It might last that long, if you take super good care of it. It might last more than 10 years if you have super low foot-traffic.
Even though you may get a great deal on discounted carpets, always remember that there was some reason why it was not able to be sold as first-quality goods. You may never know what made it deemed second quality. Maybe no one knows.
#6 Buying Carpet from a Carpet Layer
2.5 stars out of 5
Some carpet layers have longstanding relationships with local carpet dealers, or may have a way to order new carpet and padding at near wholesale prices from local suppliers.
Carpet layers often end up with sizable leftovers from bigger carpet jobs because carpet so many salespeople over-measure their jobs.
When there is a lot of carpet leftover the installer may take it home and try to sell it on Craigslist or in your local newspaper.
Best and Worst Places to Buy New Carpet?
If you find an installer who has some leftover carpet or other flooring materials available at a very low price. You need to understand that they have a limited supply of those materials and have no way of getting any more of the exact same color or style. Still, you can find some real bargains going this way.
There are no guarantees!
There is no manufacturer’s warranty on these materials whatsoever and no recourse if you end up unhappy with the performance.
As with any contractor you hire to do work on your property, I suggest you check references, verify their contractors license. You can also verify their business liability insurance policy to make sure they are current and up-to-date.
Buying leftover carpet from an installer can be an inexpensive way to go if you are just doing one or two rooms or if you need to replace carpet or flooring for a rental property. You can also negotiate with a carpet layer to get the price reduced.
#5 Franchised Carpet Retailers
2.5 Stars out of 5
Franchised Carpet Retailers might be locally owned, but they are committed to only selling products that are supplied through a national carpet distributor or co-op.
This helps increase their buying power and decrease their overall shipping costs. However, it limits the available product selection to only what the co-op has previously negotiated with certain manufacturers.
They also use private labels to prevent you from comparison shopping at other carpet local stores.
It is often difficult to get carpet specifications from these resellers, which makes it nearly impossible to comparison shop their products elsewhere.
Even so, you can still negotiate a fair deal if you know what you are doing and don’t rely on their salespeople to make choices for you.
Most Franchised Carpet Retailers do not provide installation services so you will have to locate a good installation crew and pay them separately. They usually have a list of local installers for you to call.
You will have to work a bit harder to schedule and orchestrate everything, and may end up paying a little more buying from a franchised flooring dealer.
Franchised Carpet Retailers do offer a wide range of quality flooring products and might be a great way for you to go. Best and Worst Places to Buy New Carpet? Which carpet stores do you recommend near me?
#4 800-Carpet Wholesalers
2.5 Stars out of 5
These are carpet and flooring peddlers who will send you small carpet samples through the mail. They want you to buy their carpet virtually “sight unseen” (other than a small swatch)
There are no refunds on discounted carpets so you really have to be fully aware of all the fine print.
You can save money if you buy from a reputable carpet wholesaler as long as you know exactly what you are buying. It’s important to fully understand how the entire carpet buying process works and what is expected of you.
Pay close attention to the delivery details of the carpet and what you are required to do if you need to return a roll of carpet.
Some 800 Carpet Wholesalers are reputable and some are not. The burden of being knowledgeable about your purchase falls solely upon you.
Q. Can I really buy new carpet at wholesale prices? Learn More
#3 Online Flooring Retailers
3 stars out of 5
Need Hardwoods, Ceramic Tile, Luxury Tile or Laminate Flooring? These online companies move a lot of product and can be a smart way to go if you are careful and do your homework.
The biggest problem I hear about is the quality of the materials they offer.
For example: If you buy hardwood flooring that is considered “Seconds” it can be very difficult to install due to the amount of warped, unusable or damaged product you receive. You could experience as much as 25% waste or more.
Buying first-quality hardwoods is much more costly but the outcome is usually much better.
It’s hard to know how much material to order when you have no Idea about the amount of unusable product they will be sending you.
Buying from an online source can be a real nightmare if you have to reorder more materials because you did not have enough product to finish the job due to the large amount of unusable product.
Be sure to read all their fine print
You can save money buying from an online flooring wholesaler as long as you know exactly what quality or grade of carpet you are buying. Learn in advance exactly how their entire buying process works from start to finish.
Even so, you are taking your chances because you must trust what the salesperson tell you, of fails to tell you.
Shipping costs can be high too and if you are not happy with the product you order you may have to pay dearly to ship it back and also pay a hefty re-stocking fee.
Some online flooring retailers are reputable and some are not, and knowing who to trust is the hard part.
Even if you succeed in buying a good quality flooring at a discount, you still have to arrange for your own installation or install it yourself if you are so inclined.
I suggest you read all the fine print and ask to see their return and restocking fees, and return shipping costs before you agree to buy.
#2 Shop-at-Home Carpet Retailers
4.5 Stars out of 5
Many people love the convenience of not having to travel from store to store in search of the perfect type, color and style of carpet or flooring and prefer having samples brought to their home.
It certainly makes matching colors easier in your own home under actual lighting conditions.
Many locally carpet dealers are now offering shop-at-home services and this can a smart way to go, especially for those who don’t want to drive all around town.
Watch out for misleading commercials
There are a few nationally advertised shop-at-home flooring companies that I do not recommend. Mainly because they tend to sell inferior products, have unreasonably high prices and hire high-pressure salespeople.
However, I believe that “in-home carpet shopping” is a wonderful service for folks who have a hard time getting around and don’t mind paying a little bit extra for the convenience.
There are many reputable carpet dealers that offer quality products, knowledgeable salespeople and reasonable prices but they are harder to find today because the shop-at-home concept is just getting started.
Currently, I have many reputable shop-at-home dealers listed in my Preferred Carpet Dealer Directory that I am happy to recommend. Best places to buy new carpet and flooring? See who I recommend near you
#1 Locally-Owned Carpet Stores
5 stars – My Favorite!
With a few remnants stood up along the back wall, some in-stock rolls of carpet on display, a neat and tidy showroom and a good selection of brand name carpet samples to choose from.
These long-standing neighborhood carpet and flooring retailers buy first-quality goods directly from the carpet manufacturer.
They provide excellent customer service, have fair & square pricing, have knowledgeable and helpful staff and provide qualified installers.
Should you ever have a problem or complaint they will do whatever it takes to ensure you are completely satisfied with your purchase.
It’s hard to find an honest and reputable carpet store these days! That’s why I created my own special hand-picked list of locally-owned carpet and flooring stores. They give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and use qualified installers.