Home Depot/Lowes Remodeling

Any input on using Home Depot or Lowes for kitchen remodeling (cabinets, counters etc.) and floor installation (laminate, 1000 sq. ft.) vs. using local remodeling companies appreciated.
Pros and cons?
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AND we're OFF... to the races... -- Oren
"I don't have anything against work. I just figure, why deprive somebody who really loves it."
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On Tue, 10 Apr 2007 14:51:28 -0700, "Steve B"

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Before everyone and their brother flames you to death, recommend you do a google search on 'lowes' and 'installation services'. The topic has been beat to death on here repeatedly. Short version of the consensus is- it's a crapshoot. The big-boxes do NOT do any installations, they sub it out to whatever local company is willing to work for what they will pay. So, unless you are utterly clueless about the work involved, it is probably cheaper to just hire the local guy directly yourself. Added caveat- the really good guys are usually booked up far in advance, and have all the work they can handle, and have no need to sub themselves out to the big-box places. So, you may get good work, and you may not. You definitely want to get several bids on any work upwards of a few hundred bucks.
aem sends....
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wrote:

Did I say something derogatory? Thread specific? -- Oren
"Well, it doesn't happen all the time, but when it happens, it happens constantly."
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Oh, Chill, Oren- I wasn't referring to you, I was referring to the usual peanut gallery that pops up every time this question comes up, and calls people idiots for even considering it.
aem sends...
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Why in the world would anyone call people that would use HD or Lowe's installers idiots?
Just curious.
Steve
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For the reasons cited: Lowes and HD get the guys who can't find work working for themselves or the quality contractors. Sometimes you get lucky. The job isn't hard or the installer is good enough and is just filling in a hole in his schedule.
Other time you get the guys who are training on your money. Maybe they do an OK job, maybe they don't.
If I was doing an upscale kitchen remodel, I sure wouldn't roll the dice that way. OTOH, if it's just a simple countertop replacement and doesn't require any seam work or a replacement water heater, maybe I would.
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What really fried me about HD's kitchen cabinet installation service was that they told me that they do NOT just install cabinets -- they go over everything in your kitchen and do an entire remodel, not just installing the cabinets (and we are talking above and beyond anything the building permit would require -- electrical and plumbing upgrades, etc.) They said you could count on the installation cost being about half what the cabinets cost *shudder*
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We had custom cabinets made, WITH all roll out drawers and shelves, roll up garage doors, turntables, and a couple of odd sized cabinets INSTALLED for less than HD wanted for just the plain off the rack cabinets.
HD sucks on cabinets, and most other things, too. Only for the misinformed or uncapable.
Steve
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Steve B wrote:

That was the advice I got, but around here, any custom work was going to cost me twice what I paid for the cabinets at HD, and I got their middle-of-the-quality-scale cabinets (Kraft Maid). What can I say? I live in a yuppie, upscale area.

It has its place, just like Walmart, that I personally try very hard to avoid shopping at.
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On Apr 11, 9:53 pm, Melinda Meahan - take out TRASH to reply

I recently purchased 2 Kraftmaid vanities from Lowes with excellent results. They just delivered them, however, and I paid a local person to do my tile work and installation. After that experience, I am planning to order my kitchen cabinets through them as well.
I, too, live in an expensive area and want to do an inexpensive kitchen renovation. I also like the idea that I have a big company to deal with after a terrible experience with my upstairs neighbor's contractor (who flooded the bathroom in my condo twice and was the reason I had to renovate my bathroom in the first place). This local contractor operates out of exactly the type of custom kitchen and bath that many of you suggest using--for very high fees. He hires SUBcontractors for all of his work and does not follow up on their work. I witnessed his "contractor" skills as his workers made repairs in my unit and can only imagine that this is the reason for the disaster upstairs.
I supposed the key is knowing exactly who will do your work no matter who you hire. Even if you hire a "local" contractor to do the work, do they sub it out??? And they need constant or at least daily supervision. My neighbor paid a premium and trusted this contractor while she was at work. He didn't even bother to show up at the end of the day and the small 800 sq ft condo kitchen/bath project took nearly a year to be resolved.
I lucked out and found an excellent kitchen designer/salesperson at Lowes who selected the subcontractor that he believes to be their best (by customer feedback), or so he says... I choose to trust his word. The guy arrived early, was very professional and personable, and has a local business that I MIGHT have found via recommendations. But, I might have been stuck with another "contractor" like the one my neighbor hired. The estimate that I received was slightly higher than I expected, by about 20%. It did include a return trip to hook up all of the new appliances and plumbing once the counters are installed (by a granite company). This 20%, I assume, is overhead. I plan to save money by doing the demo/removal myself. And I will hire a local person that I know to do the tile. To me, having the backing of a big store is worth the 20%.
As far as the decision to use Lowes being "Only for the misinformed or uncapable," I will let you know how it works out. Should be ordering my cabinets by early May. I am just wondering, though, why this issue bring out such hostility in this forum?
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I am just wondering, though, why this issue

Good luck with your project. Maybe the reason it brings out so much hostility is that so many people have been kidnapped and held for ransom by the ordering and installation people at these places. Anywhere you see so much smoke, something is probably going on. And the reasons that orders are mismanufactured, late, or just plain wrong are inexcusable errors. Waiting months and months for parts you have prepaid for will bring out the worst in a preacher.
Steve
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I agree that where there is smoke there is often fire and I do understand those frustrations...but don't you think that there are just as many people irritated with local contractors? I am one of them and I didn't even hire the guy. His errors, however, affected me and cost me time/money. These small guys don't have the volume of the big retailers, so the word doesn't get out when they mess up, take your money and don't finish their work, or they don't finish on time. The big name stores are easy targets because there are only 2 of them.
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wrote:

I can honestly say I have considered these services, but that was all I really did. Learning to spot an idiot; is a learned process, trust me. -- Oren
"If things get any worse, I'll have to ask you to stop helping me."
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Buy your stuff there.
DO NOT MAKE ANY SPECIAL ORDERS.
DO NOT USE THEIR INSTALLERS.
Shop around for prices before you buy.
As long as you just use things they provide such as nails, plywood, caulk, and the simple things, and never give them money in front or let any of their alcoholics, derelicts or fugitives set foot on your property, you SHOULD be okay.
I'd do it myself because I can, but if you can't, I'd search around and find a local guy WITH GOOD CREDENTIALS AND REFERENCES and consider having them do it. One of those credentials is worker's comp insurance.
YMMV
Steve
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