Home Depot or Lowes--Granite. Pros/Cons?

beekeeperswifeMarch 11, 2011

I have a friend. No, really, a friend, not a "friend", who loves my kitchen and wants granite. She has gone with her dh to HD or Lowes (not sure) and looked there. (Totally not TKO people, btw)

I'm not getting into any debate or discussion with her about this.

Another of our friends who is currently looking, just asked me today what is the deal with the granite at HD or Lowes? Since I never shopped there for stone, I have no idea. I know you can't pick your slab out, but can any one shed some light on this for me? Quality of the work? Thickness of the stone? etc.

Just curious.

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xand83

I can't speak as to the quality of the stone, I'm sure it's probably fine. But we made an appointment with the counter person at our local HD and had a rather disappointing experience. We were so turned off by the customer service, we just went to a granite yard in another state where (we got great service). I think the big box stores have a long way to go in the customer service department. Especially when it comes to the big ticket items.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 2:07PM
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stacieann63

I recently saw that HD had more granite choices including some exotics like Rain forest green. Although big box stores are less expensive, I chose my fabricator. HD and Lowe's sub out the fabrication and installation so you don't really know who will be installing it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 2:12PM
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calimama

BKW - We went through Lowes for ours, and got to pick out our slab. We did have to drive about an hour, since they used a central location, but it was actually fun, as that was the only fabricator site we experienced, and they were great. The service was fantastic from all, but that was just our experience, others might be different.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 2:13PM
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kitchenaddict

Hi bee..

When we were looking for granite we went to HD, (which is where we bought our cabinets) and the sales/kitchen designer man in that department actually told us about the granite yard, Arizona Tile...which is where we found our slabs...

He was VERY helpful!!;)

You don't feel that you can suggest to your friends to check out granite yards? The selection is so much better.

KA:)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 2:32PM
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dfzmom

We looked at Lowes and were able to look at slabs too but ended up going direct with a fabricator. I guess it depends how local the fabricator is.

With Home Depot we weren't able to look at slabs. FWIW, Lowes would have been more expensive than going directly with the fabricator in our case.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 2:42PM
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kitchendreaming

We are seriously considering HD and Lowes for our granite. The reason is their warranty policy: 15 years for installation and stains. I went to local stone yards and their warranty is zero. We could save 1000 dollars, but we are not sure if it will be wise....

I went to two big places were I spent the afternoon looking at slabs only to be told afterwards that I had picked the most expensive ones! I have just called another place and asked whether they can give me a range of prices so I would have an idea, and she told me the prices for granite range "from the very low to the very expensive". I have had it. As pro's for HD and Lowes I would list: easy! and their warranty.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 3:26PM
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weissman

I wouldn't worry about warranty on granite - it's not like the electronics would burn out :-). Once the installation is over and done correctly, it's not clear what a warranty would do for you. I'm actually surprised that they give a stain warranty. Some granites will stain if not sealed regularly. Do they come back and reseal it for you regularly or use one of thise products that supposedly seals the stone for many years? And if it does stain, what do they do for you? I'd really check the terms of the warranty before thinking it's of any value.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 3:37PM
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kbmboston

My first kitchen remodel in my condo I used HD for granite. They did a fine job and it looked great. I had no need to reseal. This was in 2005. I did not get to pick my slab, but I never asked. At that time the name of the granites were different then at many other places. My granite was uba tuba but not called that.

I got my current cabinets from HD and they gave me a granite price quote. It ended up being about $400 more than the one we went to, and I liked the customer service of the place we chose. That said, the KD I worked with at HD suggested I go to pick my slab. The names are the same. This is how I decided between New Venetian Gold and Santa Cecelia.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 3:47PM
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kitchendreaming

Weissman, but what about installation? Don't you need some written warranty in case something goes wrong, like they drill the wrong holes for the faucets?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 5:16PM
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jenhp

I went to HD on Monday and looked at silestone and granite. The sales person seemed knowledgeable and filled me in a few points. HD has sales all the time on the granite. So the price listed now, may not be the price you pay on sale. Example, they will have a sale where you get any in D, and E category (higher prices) for the price of C (lower price). You can buy your countertop within 90 days before install. So if there is a sale that you want to get in on, but your cabinets aren't completely done, you can get the sale price.

Also, the granite comes sealed with stone guard I think it was. Whatever this coating is, it is supposed to last 15 years, hence the warranty, and not need sealing during that period. This one point got me interested. Wondering about the durability of such a thing myself.

The one color I was interested in, I saw that same day at a kitchen design showroom. I asked the salesperson what it was and she used the same name.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stone Guard HD

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 6:58PM
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jenhp

I forgot to another point. He also said we could pick our slab in NJ. We are in CT, but are in NJ often for work, so it wouldn't be a big deal for us to go pick it. I was surprised that you could pick your own slab.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 7:01PM
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lkremodel

We live in Madison, WI and had a local granite firm/installer who sent us to several yards in the Milwaukee area to pick out the stones. While at a large yard in Waukesha, there were HD customers there picking out their stones. This was a couple of years ago. Left me thinking that it might have cost less to go through HD for the same stone.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:24AM
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weissman

kitchendreaming - if any reputable fabricator cuts the wrong holes, they will make it right - if you're not satisfied with the installation, you don't pay them the balance due until they correct it - you don't need a warranty for that.

One concern I'd have about buying through the big box stores is that I believe they make you pay for the full job up front - doesn't give you as much leverage if something does go wrong - if you go that route, make sure you pay with a credit card.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:49AM
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eandhl

I think it is going to depend of each store and the fabricators/installers they use. We have a friend that used HD in our area and the granite came out beautiful. I would want a list of references and see some work.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 11:50AM
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boxerpups

I agree with Eandhl,

I did not go with HD or Lowes. I wanted to be a part of
the process. I am a bit TKO, found that I knew more
about stones then the Sales people at those places. That
in itself turned me away.
~boxer

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 12:13PM
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sabjimata

Wasn't able to read through the entire thread but I got my stone from a local (45min away) stone yard. They sell to Lowe's and HD. So chances are your L's and HD are sourcing it out to an area stone yard. I believe they just have a contract with them. So why not skip the big box?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 12:17PM
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caryscott

Here they are as good as whoever they sub-contract to do it. Ask, they'll often tell you whose doing it for them. Beware though sometimes the sub-contracted company becomes dissatisfied with contract terms or certain stores and you can get caught in the middle or the sub-contractor will put their best people on its' own jobs. Blame games between the HD and the sub-contractor can leave you out in the cold.
I'm sure it can go very right but you might want to ask a few questions first to make sure everyone is happy with the arrangement.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 12:31PM
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kompy

Before you shop the box stores for countertops...ASK TO SEE THEIR SALES CONTRACT! About a year ago, I had a client come in. They had just had Lowes attempt to do their quartz countertops and they really messed it up. So, they came to my store and re-ordered through me. While she was here, she showed me the 8 page contract full of fine print. I was amazed that they put so much liability on the homeowner.
I wish that I had saved that contract to post here. It was unbelievable!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 2:01PM
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kitchennovice44

Timely topic, as I'm right in middle of granite installation now w/HD. I paid back in early Feb, but had delays with new cabinets till now. HD still honored the promo pricing I had at the time of purchase ("D" level granite for "C" level price, plus free undermount sink.)

I thought their price was good...I did some research and it seemed in line competitively with what others were quoting....not ridiculously low or high. Someone who works at HD once said they often negotiate really good prices from fabricators since they represent so much volume to a local shop...and if you catch them during a promo, they can offer some pretty decent values, even with their middleman markup. Not saying their price is always best, but wouldn't count them out right off the bat.

They definitely let me choose slabs - in fact, they stressed that I must do so to make sure I got what I wanted. Local fabricator they subcontract to has been in business 20 years and granite yard is one of the largest in the nation.

Doesn't mean my experience still may not go horribly wrong, but I feel I've covered bases as much as reasonably possible without over-obsessing any more than I already have. (And according to my husband, I'm a big time over-obsesser!)

HD does have the 1 yr labor and 15-year stain-resistant guarantee. As someone here mentioned, can't say how well they'll honor guarantee if a problem arises - and I have polished black granite, so I already know I may have specific problems related to that color - but the kitchen/granite places I've checked offer no guarantee at all. So it's something.

Chose slab yesterday...install should be within 8-10 days. my fingers are crossed that all goes well. (Tip: one thing I did as soon as I found out who they sub-contracted to was to Google that business's name along with "complaints" in search box, as well as check BBB to make sure there were no red flags. I think the #1 risk with HD all comes down to who they choose do to the work.)

Hope this helped someone...

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 1:52PM
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Stefaniebb

Hi
Thought I would chime in- I just ordered my granite from HD- They do work with a local fabricator and I get to look at the slabs and pick out which one I want. They my KD actually encourages you to go pick it out. They did mention that the location will have many other choices and I can change my mind and go with a slab that HD doesn't sell but then that voids the guarantee. They are also offering color upgrade and edge upgrade and 10% off total order. My price was less than just going with any other local fabricator so I am happy with the choice since I can pick out the stone in person. If I couldn't then maybe I would agree that I would want to go somewhere else.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 5:04PM
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willtv

While I can't speak to the quality of the HD or Lowes garnite buying and installation experience, I can tell you that we first saw the granite (blue in the night) we installed in our new kitchen at our local HD. It was priced at $92 sqft. plus an upcharge for the ogee edge. We did some shopping around and ended up with the same stone installed, edge included, for $55 sqft from a local fabricator.

Here's a shot.

The lesson here is just because it's in a big box store doesn't mean you're getting the best deal.

Shop around.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 6:41PM
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kitchennovice44

Stefaniebb - good for you on the upgraded edge! They weren't offering that in the promo a few months back when I purchased or I'd have definitely picked the edge you did. Didn't want to go any higher in budget, so chose beveled edge instead to keep the cost down.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 7:20PM
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