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Making the right choice can mean the difference between a space you love and one that irritates you every time you see it. Naturally, the first decision on the list is what kind of flooring best suits the room you're considering and your own tastes.
Possibilities run the gamut: carpet is still a traditional choice for bedrooms and living rooms, imitation and genuine wood has become one of today's most popular flooring options, and tile takes first place in many homes further south. From there, you'll still need to decide on the color, quality and durability, and any finishes you prefer.
Sunday, January 24th
Think of home improvement and Home Depot is probably one of the first names that comes to mind. With thousands of retail locations throughout the US, chances are good that there's one near you. When it comes to online flooring orders, that's a big advantage - you'll get the absolute best possible selection, above and beyond what you might actually find in-store, available to purchase online for either home delivery or in-store pickup.
Step by step guides
The Home Depot website takes all the guesswork out of your flooring project. From helpful step-by-step guides to instructional videos and more, you'll have the information you need to choose the right type of flooring and to install it yourself.
Of course, one of the big advantages of buying your flooring from Home Depot (and other home improvement stores with a store near you) is the option to have it professionally installed. We all know what it's like to have big plans for that DIY project, only to run out of time (or know-how!). Home Depot's got your back if you decide to leave it to a professional.
6 types of flooring
The easiest way to get started with your flooring purchase is if you already know what type you're looking for. Home Depot offers the following categories:
Sort by color, price, and more
Once you select your overall category, you can easily sort through the options by color, brand, size/thickness/dimensions, price, and many other criteria. Given that Home Depot has hundreds (if not thousands) of possibilities within each type of flooring, using those filters will save you some time.
Thumbnail images and details
When you've gotten your final results list, you'll be able to see thumbnail images and plenty of details. As you find products that interest you, you may want to check the box by "Compare" or the heart to save as a favorite, to keep track of all of the possibilities. This site makes it easy to gather the important information at a glance: price, delivery options, and plenty of customer reviews. Most products can also be ordered a sample, so that you can see how it looks in your home or office - but unlike some of the flooring retailers in our review, Home Depot doesn't offer these samples for free.
Affordable shipping options
Shipping options are easy and affordable. For most types of flooring, you'll pay a flat rate fee per unit: for example, if you order one box of click bamboo , it's $5 for delivery to your home, and that increases by five with each extra box you add to your order. Of course, if there's a Home Depot nearby, your no-cost option is to order online and have it shipped there for pick-up. We were impressed with the delivery speed for both choices: within four days of placing our order for most types of flooring we considered.
Long return policy
Home Depot's return policy is longer than most retailers: you have 180 days from the time of purchase to return your order for a refund. However, this isn't a satisfaction guarantee, so your return must consist of new, unopened merchandise. So, if you've opened a carton of tile and decide you don't like the color after all, you will probably only get a refund for the cartons that are still factory-sealed. Area rugs are limited to 30 days for returns.
With such a wide range of products, simple and fast delivery options, and an extremely generous return policy, Home Depot easily earns our highest rating among flooring retailers today.
If you want to "Do it right for less", Lowe's wants to be your choice for flooring. It should come as no surprise that this massively popular home improvement store has thousands of options across a wide range of flooring types.
Variety of flooring options
Some of their flooring options include:
Once you've selected one of those flooring categories, you'll find plenty of helpful information to guide your purchase. For example, in the Hardwood category, the first thing you'll see is a visual guide to the different types, with useful details about each one: engineered wood is best in areas prone to spills, while bamboo has an average lifespan of 25 years. You can also shop by look or brand, and you can pay a small amount to have Lowe's send you a sample of any flooring that catches your eye. Continue to scroll down and you'll see their buying guides, tips for installing your flooring (including how to prep the area beforehand), plus links to the accessories and extras you may need for a successful install (like underlayment or moulding/trim).
Filter your choices
After you've picked the subcategory of flooring you want, it's a good idea to use the filters on the left side to narrow down the options even further. You can sort them by price, color, brand, and many other criteria. Your resulting list will let you see pricing and average customer ratings at a glance, but you'll have to click on specific products to find out availability for shipping or in-store pickup. For most of the flooring products we checked out, Lowe's had super-fast availability: ship-to-store and ready for pickup within 3-7 days, or delivery to our location within 2 business days.
Installation guides and videos
You won't be lacking any information needed to successfully install your flooring. Scroll all the way through the product page and you'll discover installation, care and maintenance guides, manufacturer videos, related items (such as trim and other items needed to complete your installation), along with customer reviews and community Q&A. And, like the other major home improvement store in our reviews, Lowe's can always match you with a professional if you decide that you're just not up to the DIY installation of your flooring.
Price match guarantee
Lowe's ups the ante by offering a price match guarantee. If you find the flooring you want at a lower price, make sure to reach out to their customer service team to save some cash.
90 day return policy
Compared with many of the flooring retailers we evaluated, Lowe's has a more customer-friendly return policy. You'll have 90 days to return your purchase, either in-store or with their prepaid return label. They don't specify if your return shipping costs will be deducted from your refund, however, so keep an eye out for that.
Lowe's is a great choice for your flooring project. With thousands of products to choose from, a solid return policy, and fast delivery or pickup options, they make it easy to get the right flooring for every need.
Need something for your home? If you can't find it at Wayfair, you probably won't find it anywhere else! This retailer lives up to its promise of offering "a zillion things home", with everything from game room equipment to doghouses and more. Although they don't specialize in flooring per se, Wayfair gives you plenty to choose from.
Lots of flooring categories
Getting started with your flooring purchase at Wayfair is a little less intuitive than some of the retailers we evaluated. Their main Flooring page is part of their Home Improvement section, and to see the different products they offer, you'll have to use the arrows to scroll across flooring categories. That said,Wayfair offes a lot of flooring categories to choose from:
Once you've selected a product category, from there you can either shop all options within that group or choose a subcategory. For example, clicking on Hardwood brings you to a page where you can select among solid, bamboo, engineered, cork, and parquet, as well as flooring trim, vent covers, underlayment, and adhesives.
Detailed filter options
Once you've narrowed down the type of flooring you want, Wayfair gives you filters to sort your results further. Using bamboo to illustrate, filter options in that category let you specify the construction, brand, plank width, wood color and wood shade. AS you browse your results, you can see key details at a glance, such as pricing and average customer reviews. Click on the heart on the thumbnail image to save specific flooring products as favorites, so that you can go back later and compare the ones you liked. Samples can be ordered for $4.99 for any items you'd like to see in person.
Many flooring styles and designs
Overall, Wayfair's flooring selection is decent. While they may not carry the 1,000+ options per category like some of the bigger retailers do, you'll still find plenty to choose from. For instance, under the Laminate Flooring category there were 300 styles, 60+ for Bamboo, and so on. And yes, we did find more than 6,000 designs in the Floor Tile section, so your options will vary widely depending on which flooring type you're purchasing.
Wayfair offers free shipping on every flooring product we saw, which could offer you significant savings over some of their competitors. Of course, since Wayfair doesn't have brick-and-mortar locations, shipping is your only option for both delivery and returns.
30 day returns
In order to make a return, you'll need to make sure your flooring is in its original condition and packaging. You have 30 days from the delivery date to return your items for a refund or store credit. All return shipping costs will have to be paid by you.
While Wayfair has been edged out by some of their home improvement store competitors, they still provide a great range of flooring products and a return policy that doesn't stick you with a restocking fee. Especially if you're looking for one-stop shopping for all of your home projects and you prefer home delivery over in-store pickup options, Wayfair is still a good choice for flooring and more.
Since 1999, Build Direct has been simplifying the home improvement industry, giving the power of choice back to home improvement professionals and homeowners alike. This flooring superstore connects buyers more directly with suppliers, eliminating overhead and costs associated with the middleman and delivering high-quality flooring at affordable prices.
When you first go to the Build Direct site, be sure to enter your zip code. That will ensure that you can quickly spot the flooring options that come with the most economical delivery prices - indicated by a purple box that says, "Best Shipping!".
5 types of flooring available
What kind of flooring are you looking for? This retailer carries the following:
You may notice that carpet is missing from the list - so if you're trying to get the best prices on berber or a low-pile option for your bedroom, you're out of luck with Build Direct.
But, if you're looking for wood, tile or vinyl, you'll have literally hundreds of options to consider. We strongly recommend that you use the filtering options to narrow down the possibilities - by price, design, color, etc. If brand names matter, you can shop that way as well, but we didn't find some of the bigger manufacturers in their list. The largest selection consisted of Vesdura, Mazama, Jasper, Vanier and Cabot brands.
Free samples - overnight
Once your results have been filtered to focus on your best matches, you'll be able to see at a glance how much each one costs, whether it qualifies for lowest-rate shipping, and which ones are designated as PRO Picks: hand selected by contractors and home improvement experts, in stock, good value and able to be ordered in volume. Many of these PRO Picks (and others) can be ordered as a free sample, if you'd like to see it in person before making your decision. Those free samples can often be delivered overnight, keeping you on track for the timing of your flooring project.
Actual buyer reviews
Each flooring product is described in detail, from color and dimensions to warranty coverage and care instructions. Many items also have plenty of reviews from actual buyers, giving you their insights as to how each flooring product performed after installation. Just be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to see what customers had to say.
100% customer satisfaction guarantee
Build Direct has a very generous return policy. Their 100% customer satisfaction guarantee means that you have 30 days to decide if you've got the right flooring for your needs. You'll get a full refund, and Build Direct will make the arrangements for pick-up of your order, but you'll have to cover the cost of the return shipment.
As far as reputation goes, this retailer gets high marks. Build Direct enjoys accreditation and an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau. One of the reasons customers love shopping with Build Direct is their fantastic team of representatives. The company provides a single representative dedicated to each account, in-depth product info, and post-purchase support for your product/project. You might not get that with the big-box retailers!
There's a lot to love about buying your flooring from Build Direct, especially when you consider their customer-friendly return policy and easy-to-use website. The only drawback is that they won't be able to meet the needs of shoppers who are specifically looking for carpet. However, for other customers, Build Direct is an excellent choice for most other types of flooring.
Menards is a family-owned company, headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and in business for more than 60 years. You'll find an excellent variety of flooring products when you shop at Menards.
Great selection of flooring options
The flooring options at Menards include:
Not sure how your flooring will look in your home or office? Keep an eye out for the "Order Sample Swatches" button below the "Go to Cart" button. You'll have to pay for the sample, but it'll give you the chance to see and feel the flooring in person.
Stores are mainly in the midwest
Menards has a limited presence when it comes to brick-and-mortar locations. If you're fortunate enough to have a store near you, that will make returns easier - but some locations are hundreds of miles away. If you don't live in the Midwest, you probably won't have a Menards within a reasonable driving distance. That could be a problem if the type of flooring you want is one of the many that are listed as "sold in stores" or "ship to store" only. We found that to be the case for many of the options on the site.
Hit or miss helpful information
We also found their online flooring store to be somewhat hit-or-miss. When we first visited the site, we were excited to see a link for a Flooring Calculator - but we got a 404 Not Found error after we clicked on it, and then the link was gone when the page refreshed! On a more positive note, Menards offers buying guides for most of the flooring types they carry, so if you need information about carpet terminology, PEI Ratings for tile, or which wood species is the right fit for your home, you'll get some guidance there.
90 day return policy
How about returns? Generally speaking, Menards allows for returns for up to 90 days after purchase, with a 25% restocking fee on custom orders. They don't specify if flooring is considered a custom purchase, but on items like carpet where you have to enter a cut size/length, we think it's better safe than sorry to expect a restocking charge. Because this store seems to assume that you've got a store nearby, they don't offer many details about returns - especially with online orders. We're not sure what their policy is if you live too far away to bring your flooring order back to a store.
Overall, Menards has an ample selection of flooring across brands and types. If you live near one of the 300+ retail locations scattered across 14 states, it could be a big money-saver to order your flooring online and pick up in-store. However, because there are other online flooring stores that make the buying process easier for people across the US, Menards only earns an average rating.
Founded in 1994, Fast Floors has been providing flooring options online for more than 20 years. Whether you're looking to install bamboo, carpet, cork, hardwood, laminate, leather, rubber, tile, stone or vinyl, you'll find options with this retailer.
Get ready to scroll
We were impressed with the wide range of brands available from Fast Floors. In the hardwood category alone, there were more than 50 to choose from, including well-known manufacturers like Armstrong and Mohawk. However, this site doesn't give you any sorting options to narrow down the possibilities, so be prepared to spend some time scrolling through the thumbnail images until you spot something that fits what you're looking for. You'll have to do that brand-by-brand, since there's no feature that allows you to see options across brands (e.g. by color, size/width, etc.). That makes this online store much more cumbersome to shop when compared with rival flooring stores.
Calculators can help
You may want to use the calculators at the bottom of the site, if you need help figuring out how much to order. This applies specifically to Bamboo, Tile & Stone, Cork, Hardwood and Laminate flooring. Apparently you're on your own for measurements if you choose carpet, vinyl, leather or rubber.
$500 minimum purchase requirement
Be aware that most products sold by Fast Floors have a minimum purchase requirement of $500. There are a few exceptions (like sold-by-the-sheet mosaic tile), but most flooring will have that $500+ order requirement. The company states that this policy is because everything is delivered via common carrier (i.e. trucking lines) and not UPS/FedEx.
Shipping costs vary
What will you pay for shipping? Naturally that depends on how much flooring you're ordering, but you can see the shipping fees on every product once you've added it to your cart. From time to time, Fast Floors gives customers free shipping - but even during those promotions, you'll have to place a minimum order of $1,200 to qualify.
Strict return policy
Fast Floors has a strict return policy. No returns are accepted on accessories like glue or trim, or on ceramic tile products. You also can't return any cartons that have been opened. Returns are allowed on 4 or more unopened cartons of flooring product, as long as you get a return authorization from their office. But, expect that your refund will have a restocking fee of 10-30% deducted (which is an increase over their previous cap of 20%) , and you're also responsible for paying the return shipping fees. At the end of the day, that could wind up being a lot of money.
Mixed customer reviews
If you're starting to think that Fast Floors might not have the strongest reputation with its customers, you'd be correct. Not only does this company not have a rating from the Better Business Bureau, but the few shopper reviews we did find were also very mixed. Some people said they've had fantastic experiences, while others criticized the store for having antagonistic customer representatives, frequent delays and other issues with shipping, and generally inconsistent quality.
For all of these reasons, Fast Floors winds up towards the bottom of our rankings. We recommend that you try a higher-rated flooring retailer for your next purchase.
Based in Atlanta with showrooms throughout the US, Simple Floors specializes in hardwood, bamboo, cork and laminate styles, but you'll also find traditional carpet and vinyl in their online inventory.
Few options, but free samples
You won't find as many options when shopping for your flooring at this retailer. They carry mostly off brands, instead of the big-name manufacturers you might recognize. That's reflected in their pricing: when we shopped Simple Floors recently, some of their most popular engineered and hand scraped hardwoods ranged from $4.32 to $7.49 per square foot. We appreciate that Simple Floors provides free samples (with no shipping charges) so that you can make sure what you see on the screen is a good match for what you have in mind for your home.
Lack of heelpful tools
This site doesn't offer too much in the way of tools. You can find measurement information on the "How Much Do I Need?" link at the bottom of the site, but it's mostly a bunch of text and not much in the way of visuals. It's also very focused on hardwood flooring, so if you're looking to install carpet this section might not be as useful. It may be easier if you call their toll-free number to speak to one of their personal flooring consultants.
Website pages missing
Simple Floors used to have a posted return policy of 14 days, along with a 25% restocking fee. But at the time of our most recent visit, the Returns link on their site returned a "404 Not Found" error. Not very reassuring, is it? We had similar issues when we looked for additional information on the FAQ page and the Customer Testimonials link.
With an "A+" rating from the BBB, Simple Floors obviously isn't doing a terrible job at keeping customers happy - but we think that has more to do with their brick-and-mortar sales than their online service. For the majority of customers wanting to buy their flooring online, this store leaves a lot to be desired. We think you'll have a much more satisfying shopping experience with any of the higher-ranked flooring stores in our review.
While shopping at your local home improvement or flooring specialty store might be your first thought, it may not be your best move. Why? Sometimes calling that toll-free number (you know, the one that everyone seems to have memorized from the TV commercials and radio spots?) leaves you tied to pushy salespeople who don't necessarily have your preferences and budget as their priority.
The route that many savvy shoppers are taking is buying their flooring online. Not only does that free you from the in-home pressure of a sales rep, but it also gives you the world's best inventory with just a few clicks of the mouse. There's no need to schedule an appointment or wait for samples when you can browse all of it 24/7. Plus, the best online flooring retailers give you all the tools you need to get the right measurements the first time, for a perfect DIY installation. And, many of them can also connect you with licensed professionals, if you don't feel like tackling the job yourself.
No two flooring companies are alike. How can you tell which one should earn your business? Here are several criteria to keep in mind:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best flooring stores available today. We hope this information helps you find the perfect carpet, tile or other flooring for your home or office!
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