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Hardwood Flooring Buying Guide Where To Buy

Where you buy your hardwood may be just as important as what you buy. Besides price, there are many things to consider when choosing a retailer such as customer service, store policies, and installation services offered. Recommendations in this section will provide you with the information you need to consider when choosing where to buy hardwood flooring.

Buying from Local Retailer

Advantages

  • Personal service: You can visit or contact an individual directly.
  • See the product yourself: You can view different types of hardwood flooring available in person; see and feel the different textures in person, and take various samples home to see how they fit in with your environment and furnishings.
  • Easy follow–up: Any questions or concerns can be addressed in person.
  • Installation: Many retailers not only sell material but also offer installation services through in–house staff.
  • In–home measuring and estimating: This is one of the most important features that is offered by a retailer as they will send someone to your home to confirm the amount of flooring material needed. This helps prevent over/under ordering and returns.

Disadvantages

  • Selection: You may need to visit several locations to view different products as a local retailer may only offer a limited selection.
  • Time: If the retailer needs to order additional material from their supplier, it could increase the time for your project.

Buying from an Online Retailer

Advantages

  • Selection: Many different varieties of hardwood flooring are available to choose from.
  • Consumer reviews: Check out online reviews of different types of hardwood floors from site users before you shop.
  • Price: Online retailers may offer lower prices than your local floor covering retailer.
  • Convenient: Purchase flooring material from the comfort of your own home.

Disadvantages

  • Warranty issues: If you encounter warranty issues, the resolution process for an online purchase is more complicated than buying from your local flooring retailer. Instead of having a local flooring retailer to resolve your warranty issue, you are dealing with phone calls and emails to the online retailer, a process that can be lengthy and cause delays and changes to your installation.
  • Overall costs: Though you may be getting a better price on the hardwood product, when buying online this price often does not include extra fees including shipping, delivery, labor, installation, acclimation preparation, etc.
  • Restocking fee: If you receive the flooring and it just isn't what you thought it would be, sending it back often means incurring a restocking fee that could be up to 30% of the overall cost of your order.
  • Shipping costs: Due to weight, hardwood flooring is expensive to ship, and this could add significantly to the overall cost.
  • Out of stock/discontinued products: Many flooring websites keep an incomplete inventory, and you might find that the hardwood floors you have your heart set on may not actually be available for purchase.
  • No in–person service: From the purchase itself to any follow–up questions you may have, all business will be conducted over email or the phone.
  • Shipping errors: If a mistake on either party's behalf is made during shipping this could cause delays to your project.
  • Accessories: Trims, moldings, underlayments, and adhesives may not be available through the same retailer and there may be additional charges to your order for shipping.
  • No affiliated installer: The online retailer will likely not have a qualified installer available for you. If you utilize an online source for purchasing your flooring and a local resource for installation, there may be more difficulty in getting quality customer service and assistance when dealing with two separate businesses.

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