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Benefits of buying hardwood flooring online

Updated on March 15, 2010

It is no secret, if you want the best deals for flooring, you should check online.  Thanks largely to global competition, the thought is that you should be able to find the very same thing online that you would find off, at a reduced cost.  Cheaper flooring online may be "cheaper" but is it better?  In this article, I am going to go over the advantages and disadvantages of buying hardwood online versus off.  First things first.  Buying bulk flooring online is not the same as buying a Tv or music.

Is Price your Ultimate Selling Point?

Obviously, if price is the selling point or if your budget is low, then buying wood flooring online may be your best bet.  Not only is the price less than a standard big box retailer or a hardwood specialty store but in a lot of cases you can save money by not having to pay sales tax.  This is the case especially for smaller online dealers since chances are they won't be in your state and therefore won't assign a sales tax to the purchase.  However, if you are purchasing online from a place that has a store in your state, expect to pay.

If you aren't shopping solely on price then there are some other key points that you may want to consider.  For instance, if you are a "I-want-it-now" kind of homeowner, then you will be annoyed at the wait time that typically occurs with bulk shipping.  Also, what you may be saving in taxes, you will likely be paying shipping costs.  We are talking about hundreds of pounds of hardwood shipped to your house.  This will not be the job of the postal service but of a freight line.

Freight Damage a potential

Another thing that you may have to deal with is freight damage.  This is typically not caused directly from the manufacturer but usually from origin point packaging problems.  If you are dealing with someone local, you can simply pick up a phone, get in the car, and take it back.  With online sales, the issue of sending back heavy items can be a daunting task and although most online hardwood flooring companies are reputable, this can also delay you from laying the floors.

Tips on before you purchase wood flooring online

You also may want to send an inquiry direct to the online store you are considering.  Ask about policies and warranties as well as shipping time.  You will be surprised to discover that some of the letters will come back as "return to sender" or "address unknown" stamped on it.  This is very important since you are likely to invest $1,000's of dollars in your floors.

What about buying flooring from a local vendor?

Obviously, chances are good you will be paying more.  However, if price isn't your top priority, buying hardwood floors locally comes with many advantages.  For one, many will give you a free flooring sample to take home with you to help match your decor with stain and look of the wood.  Also, dealing direct, face-to-face, with a flooring dealer will help you understand the process and likely be able to answer pertinant questions about installing the floor and the tools you will need.  In a lot of cases, they will have already screened hardwood flooring contractors that will do the job for you in a timely manner.  Finally, if you have problems after the fact, you will have the person that you bought the wood from in the same city.


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