questionslowe's, home depot or other home improvement…

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I prefer Home Depot because it's closer to my home and the staff is friendlier. There's a Lowes down the street and I still shop there for light bulbs because they have the 5000K bulbs and Home Depot still has yellow ones.

Both accept competitor coupons like Ace Hardware but Lowes gives me a hard time when I try to use them. If I go to a Lowes even further away from my home, they will take the coupons and are much friendlier. So I guess it all depends on the management of the particular store on how they treat their customers.

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I mostly go to Lowe's now, because the closest HD is about 45 minutes away. I like both of them though, and it just depends on what exactly I need.

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Definitely both. For remodeling more "style" oriented projects such as paint, cabinets, etc., I prefer Lowes. If I have to get into real hammer and nail work, I prefer HD just because they seem to have a better building supply.

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@cengland0, @gewoodworth, akasha66
I'm not a big fan of Behr Ultra paint-primer one coat. I've always had to two-coat my interior walls with that stuff. If you read the label they recommend priming unpainted walls before applying. In my experience this holds true even with nail-head spackling spots. They always appear as a different sheen/texture after rolling on the first coat. Similar experience?

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I tend to mostly go to Lowes as more often than not, the people at Home Depot don't seem to have even half a clue. And if I'm not happy with what Lowes has, I can go across the street to Home Depot.

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Lowes is closer to me so I generally go there. Also, when I was repairing some plumbing, the guys at Lowes gave me a lot of free advice on what to buy and how to install it. I bet the guys at HD would have also been helpful but my experiences with the plumbing department at Lowes makes me want to go back there.

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I prefer Lowes because I am not very smart or handy (especially at home improvement). When I go to Home Depot, I feel intimidated like I should be a contractor to shop there. It just has this vibe of being all business. It's dirty and crowded like I expect contractor's to be used to.

Lowes is more like a department store. It is clean, bright, and is not so intimidating.

I am guessing that if I was handy (or a contractor), I would prefer Home Depot.

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Doesn't matter to me. I tend to go to Lowe's first because it is slightly easier to get to but depending on what I am looking for I check both of them as well as Marvin's, Tractor Supply, and Russell's Do It Center.

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@benyust2: By my experience the plumbing dept is where just about everything important is found, excluding lumber and electric of course. I end up spending a lot of time there, even for non-plumbing projects.

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Between Lowes and Home Depot, I don't see any difference locally. They are both ginormous with similar stock and service. I'll shop whichever has what I want on sale. I do prefer to buy larger plants at Lowes, even over the local garden center, as Lowes stands by its one year warranty and I live in an area where plants don't have a strong survival rate. However, I actually do much of my shopping in the little neighborhood hardware store about a mile from me. It's closer, welcomes my dog, the owner always thanks us for our business, and it's locally owned. I pay probably 25% extra for what I get there, but it's worth it to me for any one of the mentioned factors.

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My experience is that the associates at either HD or Lowe's are not very helpful. It's only on a random occasion that I can actually find an employee.... they're never around and when I do they seem less than knowledgeable.

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Remember when HD used to have 24hour stores? I presume they don't have any open 24x7 any more - does anyone know of any place where you can get plumbing fixtures after 9 or 10pm (other than Wally World, of course)?

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@jimmyd103: My local hardware store guy is pretty knowledgeable. When I lived in the valley, where there are a lot of farms, I used to shop at a hardware store local to that area. There was an old dude, I think he was the owner's dad, that sat at the counter on a bar stool. There was a bar stool opposite him, and if you needed advice on a project you sat down on the empty bar stool and described what you wanted to do and gave him whatever measurements you had. He'd write down everything you needed, and the steps you needed to take to make whatever it was and give it to the owner, who'd cut the lumber if needed and bag up everything for the project while you sat around shooting the breeze with the old guy. When all your stuff was ready you'd pay for it and head out. If you got stuck partway through the project you were always welcome to come back in for more advice. It was a great place, and I have since talked to a lot of people who used to go there.

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It's only really in the midwest, but Menards! They have a fairly huge store, and they've made it a personal goal to never have a wait at checkout. If there's more than 2 people at a register they open a new one.

They even have a small food area with interesting products and good sales.

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@moondrake: I miss the little neighborhood hardware store. There is none left around me. I used to go in, have a question, and be able to buy just one of some tiny little bolt or whatever. And the free advice and concern for whatever I was trying to accomplish was great. Commparing HD with Loews to answer the OP - a wash really.

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We live almost exactly the same distance from a Lowe's and an HD. Lately we've been spending LOTS of time at both as we're finally updating the house we bought 12 years ago. Our Lowe's has a larger selection of vessel sinks and has recently run better deals on granite countertops, but HD has had a better selection and prices on tiles and flooring. Regardless, we're keeping them BOTH in business these days!

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@moondrake: I grew up in eastern Ohio and there was a local hardware store that was very similar. They always had the part you needed somewhere in the maze of shelves, racks, drawers, bins, baskets. And they always new where to find it. Today I have a hard time even getting someone to answer a simple question let alone a complex question. And for obscure parts, forget about it...

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I like Menards but I think they are a Midwest kind of store.

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Lowes. I get a better discount there having retired from the Air Force.

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@omnichad: I grew up in an area with a lot of Menard's stores, but never cared for their organization system (or lack thereof). I swear the store was arranged alphabetically, with purple paint near plumbing.
That and I never cared for their TV commercials - or the fact that they constantly looped the soundtrack from them in the store.

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Ace Hardware - hands down every time. Every single Ace I've been to has been staffed by old school hardware store people. People who know tools, who know how to use them and more importantly people who want to help you.

Plus since most Ace (Maybe even all?) are franchises they can carry all sorts of random things.

The Ace down the street from me is even a Shun Knife dealer if you can imagine that.

I've walked into Home Depot looking for things, spent 10 minutes just trying to find someone only to be told they didn't think they carried it. Weren't sure, but didn't think so.
Same item at Lowe's. Actually stood right in front of a group of 4 employees talking to each other. They kept right on going for 5 minutes and none of them even bothered to ask me if I needed help.
Walk into Ace - two guys greet me right away. I describe what I'm looking for and they both know exactly what it is and one guy heads off to get it.

That happens all the time with Ace. That's why I go there.

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I've had horrible customer service at Lowes. I prefer Menards for the general stuff and Ace Hardware for the hard-to-find hardware.

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Lowes. Home Depot always seems to be vacant feeling when I do actually go into one.

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I typically save big money at Menards. But Home Depot is closer so that my backup in a rush.

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Have shopped at both Home Depot & Lowe's. Had a bad experience at Lowe's w/the purchase/installation of a water heater. Many, many problems. One was they said I had to have an inspection permit to install it. I did not; was still charged for it. When I called about it, they were rude. Also filled out a written customer service satisfaction survey on the purchase - NO response at all. Later asked a local plumber if he ever pulled a water heater permit, he looked at me like I was crazy...said, "Never, & I've installed 100's." I know that was only 1 bad experience, unfortunately it's indelibly engraved in my mind.

Home Depot is my choice of the big stores. Really good experiences w/them. Do have a local family owned store & go there for smaller items. Excellent CS & a very knowledgeable staff. An Ace store recently opened nearby; still prefer the family owned.

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@moondrake: I like to buy plants from Lowe's too. I need to check on their guarantee for plants though, I've bought two larger plants that have both died during the winter. I still have one, the other I just threw out before our last move.
Do you know what kind of proof you have to provide to get the warranty? I doubt I still have the tag or receipt for it (it was last spring/summer).

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@gewoodworth: Whenever I buy a plant from Lowes that's over $10 (my stop-loss point for plants), I tape the receipt to the original container and toss the identifying tags from the plant in there and stack it up in the garage. If it dies, I go find its original container, stick what's left of the plant in it (no dirt, just sort of laying in it) and take it back to Lowe's. They've never batted an eye at that, always cheerfully refunded my money, including the $80 tree that died, and the $80 tree I replaced it with that also died-- my friend thinks there's something wrong with the soil there so we stopped putting expensive plants in that spot. I wouldn't try it without the paperwork though, just because how can they know it's theirs? In the spring when I clean out the garage I look at the receipts taped to the pots and the ones that are over a year old or that are for plants that are thriving I toss.