I will admit it. There are times that I will go to a home center and make a purchase because it is convenient and sometimes really stupid cheap. That said I am not dumb enough to think I can get an expert opinion from a guy in an orange apron on a product they have never even touched. The truth is their are some awesome people that work for home centers. I know a cabinet expert that went to work there as he got older. Same can be said for tools. There are definitely some resources to be found in a home center, but not in the world of garage flooring.
It also needs to be understood that no one even knew what the garage flooring industry was. Items like garage floor mats and garage floor tiles were unheard of. These products and the benefits thereof were heavily promoted by small niche retailers and local dealers who literally worked with a small group of manufacturers to create a new industry. Now these dealers and retailers are being left in the cold!
The bottom line is this. If you want a cheap floor for less money and you really don’t care if it is the right floor for you, you MIGHT get a better price from a home center. If anything other than price is of importance you simply are not going to get what you need from a home center or club store!
Have you ever asked the guy with the Walkie Talkie? at your local club store how thick a Mil is? Perhaps the girl at the register of your local ‘PriceCo’ can tell you the appropriate expansion and contraction gap. I am very certain Mr. 2×4 at the lumber counter can tell you the best product to use when you use a creeper or a 4-post lift. Perhaps someone can cut you a free sample?
We are all very much aware that for certain commodities there is simply to way to compete with these large, and God help me ‘trusted’ big box stores. Garage flooring is not that type of item.
Items like garage flooring require highly specialized sales people. They need to know where your seams should be and the best installation method for your garage floor mats to keep them from curling. They need to know what type of adhesive to use over wood versus concrete and how to handle that silly expansion joint in the middle of your floor — oh wait I need that??
Here is what is happening today. More and more manufacturers are selling to large club stores and home centers. These places lack the knowledge to educate the consumer. This has been especially proven in the area of garage floor epoxy. The consumer buys a product, the product fails and then goes online to go on the offensive about how terrible a specific product line –that never should have been used the way they used it– is. Or perhaps they purchased a ‘epoxy’ that was really 80% water and stated ‘no prep required’ and now the consumer blogs and posts away about how ALL garage floor epoxy products lift from hot tires.
The other extreme is there is a segment of the population who feels no shame in utilizing the expertise of the smaller dealer and online specialty store. They grab all the knowledge they can and perhaps some free samples — just to turn around and place the order with a home center to save a few bucks.
One last note. To make matters worse, search engines like Google treat the big box stores as if they were garage flooring gods. Clearly search engine results are no longer based on user experience!
The bottom line is, garage flooring is a healthy investment and requires both an educated consumer and an educated sales person. The lack of knowledge at home centers and club stores is literally destroying the reputation of certain product groups (epoxy) and on the verge of causing serious damage to the industry as a whole. Manufacturers need to rethink the garage floor in a box mentality and go back to the distribution method that has been time proven — knowledgeable and specialized dealers and retailers.