Buying Tile/Flooring from Big Box Home Improvement Stores: A Checklist

IMG_5037We just had tile installed in our house. It’s been a learning experience, and you can benefit from it. Like many people, we were attracted to the low interest rates for financing a large flooring purchase that these stores offer.

So, you had the space measured, you selected the materials, and now you are ready to buy. Here are some things to consider before you finalize a major purchase:

Does the installer measured space match the space on the quote? At one point a sales guy had plugged in 200 square feet on our quote as a place holder. In reality it was closer to 900. When I caught that mistake, the cost jumped way up.

What labor is in the quote? Are you expected to remove the existing flooring? Is the installer sealing the grout (If applicable)? We saved a lot of money by removing our old flooring. But we also thought we had paid for the grout to be sealed. I’m finishing that today. We were told we didn’t need to remove the old vinyl tile, but in the end we did, and that cost more.

Are all the products in the quote correct? I know, simple question, but instead of the dark gray grout we ordered, we had light tan grout delivered.

Is everything you need in the quote? We had to go buy some transition pieces that were not included.

When will the flooring be delivered? How long until you have it on hand. You do not want to wait to get it. Our store had a miscommunication and did not deliver the flooring until I called about it.

When will it be installed? Our store promised before Christmas, and it was. But finishing and curing on Christmas Eve doesn’t leave a lot of time to move the furniture in. In the sales process we heard installed within a couple weeks, but in reality it was over a month. Speak to the install office to find out what a real estimate is.

Once installed, how long until you can move your things back in? Flooring, like tile, may take some time to set and cure. The install may be done, but you may not have access to your space until 48 hours later.

Is that the best they can do on the price? Let’s face it, this is a big ticket item. No harm in haggling a bit. There’s wiggle room in the that bottom line.

How will warranty items be handled? The installer pointed out two tiles that have to be replaced. We’ve seen some grout that needs to be reworked in one area. How does your store handle those issues? Do you call them or the installer directly?

Hopefully the answers to these questions will help you enjoy the process as much as you will enjoy the finished product. We love our floor. And we love finally being done with the install.

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