When I started on my kitchen project, I tried to get estimates from builders and home improvement companies. Many people either quoted me an extremely high price or didn’t have time to fit me into their schedule. I was told by a friend that Lowe’s installs countertops and tile, so I decided to get estimates from them.
I had installers come to my house and measure. They then sent measurements to Lowe’s, who estimated the cost of the materials with the installation and called me to go through numbers. After learning the estimates, I decided to go with Lowe’s, because, well, I didn’t have many options at that point. However, my experience with Lowe’s was pretty poor. So, I decided to write a blog about what they did well and what you might want to look out for if you decide to have Lowe’s do your installation.
Better Training Needed
First of all, Lowe’s needs to train their employees better. I got an estimate for laminate countertops. I wanted to compare the cost with solid surface, granite and quartz, so I asked for estimates for all of these materials. It turned out that the estimate for solid surface was $100 cheaper than laminate. So, I decided to go with that. However, I looked at the diagram they had done of my kitchen and it didn’t look accurate. So, I went into Lowe’s and tried to explain that there was a piece of countertop that was left out. The man I worked with added the cost of that piece and then said the cooktop cut out would cost another $225. Then he said the cost of removing my current countertop was not included either. He ended up adding $800 to the original estimate. Oh, and he said the plumber needed to disconnect and reconnect the sink for another $300! I had always said I needed my original countertop removed. I was mad.
Then, the flooring department called to tell me the tile estimate was about $2300. But then they called back and said they didn’t estimate the cost of the tile correctly and added $500. So from my original estimates to the actual estimates in the end was a difference of $1600! These two mishaps put me over budget and I stopped payment at that point. I was upset. So, I went to the customer service area and explained what had happened. The assistant store manager then looked over the estimates and ended up giving me a deal on the materials, bringing the cost down by $500. So, I paid for the services. If Lowe’s had trained their employees better when creating estimates, I would not have gotten misinformation.
Job Not Finished
Okay, so back on track. I then got the countertops installed. The installer didn’t care much about my kitchen, using a crowbar to take out my painted butcher block, thereby ruining my trim pieces. He also told me he’d be done by 1pm, so I scheduled the plumber to return then. He didn’t even finish that day, so I had to mess up my plumber’s schedule so he could return the next day. The countertop needed to be finished the following day, but the installer couldn’t come back. He said he’d call with a time he could come back, but he never did. I ended up buying my own caulk and asking a friend to help me finish the job myself. This wasn’t a big deal, but I did complain and Lowe’s ended up refunding me $150 for this situation. I was later told, though, that finishing the job on my own negated the warranty.
Wrong Tile Chosen
The worst of the problems happened when I tried to get my tile installed. Lowe’s only uses ONE installer. So, if there’s a problem, you are put back on the schedule because there’s no one else to do the job. And guess what? There was a problem. Again, Lowe’s did not train their people to pick tile for my project that was from the same dye lot. So, I had a bunch of tile from three different dye lots. If they would have installed that, the tiles would have all looked like different colors. They told me this the morning they were supposed to show up. And I had already moved everything out of the kitchen. They worked really hard that day calling other stores to find tile in the same dye lot. They finally found some, but it wouldn’t be delivered until the next day. So, I had to be moved to the end of the installation queue, which was a month later. I was livid because I really wanted it done by the time my dad came to visit and, of course, they decided to come the day my dad arrived (who only visits me once a year from Texas). So, I told him we’d have access to a grill. (We’d have to find ways to make pancakes on a grill!) So, I complained again. Lowe’s did say they’d reimburse me for some cost, but not until the tile was installed. After the tile was installed, they refunded me a whopping $50 for the cost.
Also, when I started my project I asked the Lowe’s employees, and the installers if I should do the tile first or the countertop first. Everyone said it didn’t matter. So, I did the countertops first. However, when the tile was installed, the floor was raised up and my stove was no longer flush with the countertop. I asked the tile guy to lower the feet on the stove, but he said they were lowered as much as they could be. I had to have an appliance guy come out to lower the stove, which he was able to do a little, but it was still above the countertop about a half inch. If Lowe’s people and installers would have been trained well enough, they would have known that the tile would raise the floor, thereby raising my cooktop, and so they should have done the countertops second so they could have put them at the level of the countertop. When I complained about this, Lowe’s did reimburse me the $157 it cost to lower the stove, but they told me it was my responsibility to do research about which to do first, so I was responsible for the mistake. They wouldn’t send the countertop guys out again, even though it was under warranty. And, to make matters worse, the appliance guy found a gas leak in my stove connectors, which the tile guy caused when he moved the stove and didn’t hook it up right afterwards.
So, Lowe’s does try to make up for their mistakes, but their mistakes are many and they don’t really train their people well enough, so more mistakes are made. If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t go with Lowe’s. It was too much of a headache. I highly recommend you find someone else to do your installation.