My friend posted this to the email list for our ladies church group. I thought you all might be interested, or have some suggestions to add. Here it goes.....
I am wondering if anyone out there has a recommendation for where to go for granite, wood floors and carpet. Just in case we decide to make a purchase I want to get a good deal! Jennie, do you have any tips while I shop for these things??? Any suggestions would be appreciated!
My first suggestion is to NEGOTIATE on every one of these things - even in the big box stores. Do your homework on what you want and then start calling around, telling the different shops the cheapest price you have been quoted, and see if they can beat it. This also means that if you are seriously thinking about it, start now. Negotiating killer deals takes time and patience. Then you POUNCE quickly when you get the right price.
Granite - the cheapest (I should say least expensive) option I have seen so far, actually comes from Aubrey. For her kitchen remodel she put in granite tiles instead of solid granite. You would never notice unless she either told you, or you used the counters a lot. They look fab.
Formica also has granite look-a-like options. Home Depot has prefabbed formica counters that cost $13 per LINEAR foot, which works out to $6.50 per square foot, uninstalled. It is their second tier quality. For your island you would need something custom, but you can get the same formica custom fitted as well. Craig and Margie have something like this in their kitchen and it looks great! We are actually thinking about this for our kitchen upgrade.
Wood Floors - My first question is how much wood floor are we talking about? Are you thinking of redoing your entire kitchen and entry? My first line of defense for anything is craigslist.org. You would be absolutely amazed at what people get rid of. My neighbor put down brand new wood floors, didn't like them, tore them up 2 months later, and put in something else. She tried to give the old/new flooring away!
The home where I scored my dream oven was gutting their kitchen to the studs - including the flooring. They were getting rid of brand new cabinets - with granite attached, and many other high end things for dirt cheap. You can also post on craigslist that you want wood floors, include sq. footage you need, and then maybe someone will contact you.
Now is a great time to check the clearance areas at the stores. They may have bought so much wood flooring, then weren't able to sell it with the poor economy. Home improvement season is winding down and they will be trying to dump this stuff to free up space for next year's/season's items. This goes for any other item as well.
Carpets - again it depends on how much you want. If you only need to do one room, check carpet stores for remenants, or clearance pieces. If you want to redo your whole house in the same peice, negotiate, netgotiate, negotiate. You will be buying more, thus making them more $$. They should be willing to cut you a deal. If they won't - walk away. In this economy EVERYTHING is negotiable.
Other than that, negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Get recommendations from friends, then see if the company will give you a referral discount. It never hurts to ask and usually saves you tons!
Hope this helps!