I had the unexpected pleasure to install carpet from both Home Depot and Empire Carpet in the same week. Here is a summary of the experience.
Home Depot’s carpet installed first. The measurements were done electronically, sent to a measuring company and a computer laid out the carpet to leave the fewest remnants. Home Depot often runs “$99 installation” specials, so the installation cost was fairly small. The carpet cost ~$4.22/sqft, and I upgraded the pad to the 8lb pad for a few cents per sqft. Overall cost was about $4.80/sqft with the upgraded pad and installed. The carpet we installed was a plush carpet. It was slightly more expensive than average, but we wanted it to be soft. The result is gorgeous – a very soft, thick carpet that looks great. It’s an off-white color, and looks beautiful.
We had to wait 3 weeks for the carpet to arrive, as Home Depot ships it from Georgia. The installers were great, and did a very nice job.
Empire’s sales model is to come to your house and use a full-service salesman. They are very nice, pleasant, and don’t pressure you much. The salesman measures manually on a piece of scratch paper, and somehow those measurements get back to the installers. Despite the lack of technology, they got the right amount of carpet.
After measuring, they do try to gouge you on the price, so you have to be careful and it is a requirement to negotiate. Taking the list price would be silly. In our case, we were trying to pick the closest match carpet to the Home Depot carpet listed above. We found the one which was closest in terms of texture, softness, and color. We knew it was a slightly different color, but it was hard to tell from the small samples how close the texture would be once installed. Initially, he offered a price of $3870 for the carpet. I suggested $2000, and we settled at $2600. This worked out to a price of $4.44/sqft. I don’t know if I negotiated well or not – I wasn’t trying very hard. He said all the usual salesman things, but you just have to be persistent. I’m pretty sure that I could have had the carpet for $2000.
Empire can install the next day because they use local warehouses. In our case, they installed 2 days later. The installation was very good, although I didn’t think that their edge cutting was as good as the Home Depot installer (there was about 1/8″ gap which I didn’t think should be there on one wall).
In terms of quality, Empire’s carpet is not as good as the Home Depot carpet we picked out. It is noticeably thinner, doesn’t feel as good or as soft, and doesn’t look quite as nice. Don’t get me wrong, it looks good, just not quite as good when side-by-side to the Home Depot Carpet.
Home Depot is easier, cheaper, and has slightly better quality carpet. But with Home Depot they take longer to get the carpet installed. In our case, Home Depot also made a big mistake with the carpet which is why we had to have Empire finish the job. If I had more time and could do it again, I would probably go with Home Depot.