Just curious about the opinions of people that use the stores more than the
occasional shopper or DIY person. Which of the two super stores do you
think presents a better bargain to the consumer and is more customer
friendly in the way they organize their products? Could be neither of the
two major chains you'd think of but rather another smaller group. Or, of
the professional contractors and builders, maybe you prefer a local lumber
yard. If so I'm curious why? Personal relationship? Pricing? Or
Dependability at delivery of goods when you ask for them at the time and day
you ask for them?
Either way, just like WalMart has effected a lot of mom and pop stores Home
Depot and Lowes has made it tough on local Hardware companies.
This is a pretty low-tech answer - the Home Depot store is a heck of a lot
closer to my house than Lowe's or the other builder supply places and the
prices tend to be comparable. Some things I get from other stores like
special wood products or electrical supplies and I no longer buy framing
lumber from Home Depot because it's crap.
Plus Home Depot (Lowe's too) lets me come in the store with my dog (how's
that for a reason designed to screw up marketing surveys!)
Not anymore around here. My seven pound Yorkie (on a leash) got the
boot about a month ago. Now they have big signs at the entrances
banning pets. Somebody supposedly got bitten at one of their local
stores., so now they have a no pets policy throughout NH and Maine. Not
sure about other areas.
My dog was pretty offended and I don't blame him. First it was Staples,
then HD. Now the only place he's welcome is the dry cleaners.
There's no reason to take a frikkin dog to a store unless you're blind. And
if you're blind, there's no reason to be in a home improvement store. Leave
the stinking animals at home if you insist upon owning them.
"John Reddy" < email@example.com> wrote in message
For help on how to do things, neither one. Local Ace Hardware in my rural
area has more rounded people for providing advice.
For bulk lumber in general, neither one. Find yards primarily in business
for selling lumber provide better lumber in bulk. In bulk, I mean like a
semi trailer truckload for building a complete garage including the roof for
If not familiar with either one's layout, a overhead map would sure come in
handy for the do-all stores.
We built our own house a few years ago, and do lots of DIY type of
projects. We have a Home Depot, Lowes, a "Do-It-Best" hardware store, and
a few different lumber yards within 15 minutes of our house. So we have
plenty of options to choose from.
For major lumber purchases, I prefer to deal with the lumber yards. They
have better prices for larger quantities, deliver to our site at no
additional charge, and can supply lumber we couldn't get from the home
centers (24' long 2x12's, 9' long rough sawn plywood, etc.).
The home centers are more convenient for small purchases (a few 2x4's, a
sheet or two of plywood, etc.), or for items I need to browse to figure
out how to best handle a task (such as plumbing supplies). Or when you
need an item late in the evening after the lumber yards have closed. :)
As for Home Depot vs. Lowes, it's mostly a matter of which I happen to be
closest to while I'm in town. With a few exceptions, I find they
generally carry the same things at about the same prices. Lowes organizes
some things oddly (like putting concrete anchor bolts in the nail section
instead of with the other concrete tools and supplies), but otherwise
seems more user friendly than our Home Depot. Still, there's certainly
not enough of a difference to choose one over the other.
We bought most of our plumbing supplies from Lowes because they carried
PVC pipe and fittings (Home Depot only has ABS). We also bought many
items like insulation, electrical, windows, carpet, bathtub, water
heater, etc. from Lowes, mostly out of convenience because we were
shopping there already for other items. We also had good experiences
special ordering items through Lowes.
However, Home Depot stocked bathroom tile, a kitchen sink, gutters, and a
few other items that Lowes didn't carry.
For hardware items (nuts, bolts, etc.), the small mom-and-pop hardware
store in town has a MUCH better selection than any of the home centers.
Absolutely no comparison.
We purchased our Australian Cypress hardwood flooring from Lumber
Liquidators, about an hour from our house. Their prices easily beat all
of the local stores and allowed us to buy flooring we couldn't have
We had to special order our master bath tub from a local plumbing supply
Of course, many items we wanted weren't available from ANY of the local
stores. So, we ordered things like our shower valves, kitchen and bath
faucets, Kerdi waterproofing, water hammer arrestors, and many other
items over the internet. They were delivered right to our door and
allowed us to find things we wouldn't have been able to obtain otherwise.
When it is something I need right away (like in the middle of a job) I
go to my local hardwares/lumber yards about 10 minutes from home.
When I am only buying a few things that my local hardware doesn't carry,
I go to HD or Lowes. I used to go to the HD exclusively for the few
items because they had the self checkout, which saved time checking out.
At that time, Lowes didn't have the self checkout, now they have it too.
I usually check both before buying some items to see which style (or
price) I like better.
Sometimes you have to buy a specific brand of something (power tools)
that only one carries. so that also determines which one to use.
I have an HD and Lowes within 20 minutes of my home whether I go west or
east, and both stores are within 1/4 mile of each other in either city
(in one city, they are within sight of each other) so travel to each is
I do like Lowes better because their aisles are wider and it seems
neater and cleaner, but they are newer than the HDs.
In my area they are just about a half mile apart. Their prices are
exactly the same, to the penny on lumber, drywall, and most other
I used to like HD a little better but for the last year or so I've gone
the other way. My reason is that the HD puts so damn many displays in
the aisle you either can't get down it because somebody with an empty
cart has stopped right next to the display or the thing you are looking
for is slam behind the display. On several occasions I have had a hard
time finding something when I knew the rough location only to find out
there some big promo display hiding what I'm looking for. I will say the
HD employees seem to know where their stuff is. I can't ever find a
Lowes employee to ask where anything is.
As others have said, the lumber is crap at both places. I think any
local lumber yard will have better quality lumber.
I also agree that neither is a good place for getting DIY information
unless maybe you're looking to buy a book.
All in all, I pretty much dislike them equally. But I've come to think
of them as necessary evils, and I think they each keep the other in
line. I would hate to see what would happen if one of them went away.
To add to the other posts, from a contractor standpoint the home centers
should be avoided because of one main reason, they are your direct
competition. This has been stated by myself and others in this NG many
times. If you send your customer to your local lumber yard to pick out
their kitchen, tile, carpet, etc. the local yard isnt going to try to
steal them away from you. The home centers are in the business of
installing everything they sell and they will try to get the
installation even if your customer informs them they already have a
contractor. We are working at a house right now that has a Lowe's
kitchen in it from a couple years ago. The kitchen had to be installed
three times until the customer got a decent installer. No one thinks of
that when they are shopping for the lowest common denominator.
Additionally, and my personal favorite as I am a self confessed tool
addict, the home centers have single handedly driven down the quality of
materials and equipment drastically over the past 10 years. It was nice
to see most of the replies here stating that the quality at these places
is the lowest of the low. Everything is bare minimum and I mean
everything and its very clear in the tool departments. Plated light
fixtures rust and pit within a year because they spec. the thinnest
finish possible, lumber is low quality, proprietary lines and items made
with lower quality standards, on and on. You can see in in almost every
isle. A high percentage of items in the home centers cant be purchased
elsewhere. Even though they may be the same "brand" they are usually
made to a different set of specs to allow for lower prices.
Our local lumber yard will smoke, and I mean smoke, the home centers
lumber pricing all day, any day. Free delivery, a salesman back in the
office doing take-offs, running you out samples, recommending you to
customers, making you money, its a no brainer. Some items like wallboard
and insulation are competitive but for the service I would willingly pay
a few percent more than the homecenters any day. With regards to other
items like paint, fixtures, and so one there is no comparison. The home
centers paint is like skim milk and you pop the lid on a gallon of Ben
Moore for 3 bucks a gallon more and your paint stick will stand up
because its as thick as yogurt.
One last point about Home Crapo, who in the hell would shop there, pay
the same price as the place down the street AND be there _unpaid_
checkout/cashier. The few times I have walked into the Home Crapo here
there is not even a cashier open and if you stand there the manager will
try to train you in the self checkout process. I simply refuse to check
myself out unless they give me an additional discount to compensate for
them gaining a salary, comp, insurance, and so on. When I said that, the
manager does the self checkout for me. It kills me when you see anyone
standing there trying to check themselves out. Man I wish I had
customers that stupid, I'd be rich!!
Oh well, my .02
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