My Love/Hate Relationship With Home Depot (But I Love/LOVE My New Flooring!!)

Last Updated on December 28, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

Everyone who knows me knows that I love Home Depot. If I have free time, you can usually find me in Home Depot, wandering around, looking, dreaming. The fact is, I couldn’t do my job without Home Depot.

But sometimes I get so irritated when I find myself in a position where I’m seeking help and advice from HD employees who clearly know less about their products than I do. And this is exactly what happened on Saturday when I went to purchase my new flooring.

I had one of those flat cart things, and had loaded up fourteen really heavy boxes of Trafficmaster Ceramica groutable tile flooring (because no employee offered to help me load them), and then I needed to select my grout. An employee just happened to be walking by, so I asked, “Sir, what kind of grout do I use with this flooring?”

He looked at me with a blank look on his face, and then said, “Well, I’m not sure. I don’t work in this department, but the guy who does is coming right behind me.”

Sure enough, just a few yards behind him was the “flooring department” guy. So I asked him, “Sir, what kind of grout do I use with this flooring?”

He looked at me with that “you’re such a stupid woman” look that I get from them, not frequently, but often enough to be irritating, and he said, “Umm…ma’am, that’s peel & stick tile. It’s vinyl. It’s not real tile. You don’t grout that stuff.”

So I looked at him with that “you’re such an ignornant employee” look that I find myself giving them, not frequently, but more often than I should have to, and said, as I pointed to the label, “It says right here, grout…a…ble. Yes, it’s groutable.”

He suddenly got this dazed and confused look on his face, and said, “Huh? Groutable?”

Pointing to the sample board displayed above, I said, “Can’t you see the sample? It’s grouted! Yes, the stuff is groutable,  and I need to know what kind of grout to use.”

His response?

“Oh, well in that case, you can just use any premixed grout.”


First, he has no clue that the product can be grouted, and then an instant later, he’s certain about what grout I need to use.  Seriously? 

But anyway, I finally got all set up with the flooring and supplies I needed to get started, and I really must say…I LOVE this flooring.  I started in the office, because it will soon be used as a guest bedroom, and it really needed some attention.  I got all of the tile put down, and about half of it grouted.  The process really couldn’t have been easier, and I love that it can be cut with a utility knife.  No tile saw needed!!

The tile without grout.

A grouted section.

I’m just so anxious to get it installed in the whole condo.  It’ll be so nice to have a nice, consistent flooring throughout, and not have to look at this:

I will NOT miss my painted concrete floors.

So, please tell me, have you had similar experiences at Home Depot or Lowe’s–having to get help and advice from someone who clearly knows less about the products than you do?  It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I feel your pain. My husband and I were in Home depot last week and I did not think we would ever get any help in the flooring department. I finally told my husband I was going to pick up the rest of the things on our list and when I came back he was still waiting! We finally just went with the traffic master flooring in the 18×18 squares. After being misinformed in the paint department, I came to the realization that just because the person works in that particular department it does not mean they are an expert on what they are selling.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Ummmmmm… I am scared to type this. You know I am looking at this same flooring for my bathrooms, right? Well… A few weeks back flooring lady at Home Depot told me you have to use a special non-sanded premixed grout that the manufacturer makes to go with it. She said if you used a normal grout it would crack and come up. They didn't have any of the grout she told me about in stock at the time, but she said she could order it??? (Why would they not stock it?) I haven't bought any of it yet. Do you think the pre-mixed grout worked? I'm really hoping it did! Don't throw anything at the screen. Please! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    AM from White House, Black Shutters
    September 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I have had a few encounters with this one lady from our HD paint department who has NO idea what she's talking about. Looking for frogtape, "we don't carry that," and I find it the next aisle over. Asking her about which glaze to use for distressing, she didn't even KNOW what glaze was! When I found it she said "oh that's glaze, that's what you can use." OH MY GOSH. Needless to say, I only buy paint at Lowes, lol.

    I also asked someone in the flooring department how many tiles usually come in a box, since the prices are per box and not per square foot. He said he didn't know and COUNTED THEM. I could have done that!

    So you're not alone, haha!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    September 7, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Well, SG, the pre-mixed stuff seems to have worked, but it's only been two days. We'll see how it holds up.

    After the guy at the Waco Home Depot shared his wealth of knowledge with me, I went over to the Bellmead Home Depot, and that guy seemed to know that the floor was groutable, and he pointed me to the very same pre-mixed grout that they keep in stock.

    If it comes up, I'm going to go to Home Depot and throw a fit and make them replace it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I also love going to Home Depot (their dropcloths are the greatest for curtains, pillows, etc) but I agree their help is no help what so ever! My husband asked for a part for furnace, was told they didn't carry it, HE found it in the next aisle! We have also walked out waiting for an employee to show up!Other personnel just guess at answers….fellow customers are usually more help than Home Depot employees! Do complain to the website though. I did and at least a manager called and apologized.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    My friend did her entire great room and kitchen !!!! BIG ROOM ! And after 12 hours of waiting for the underneath goo….not sure what it is called, to set up she realized they sold her stuff to lay cermaic over vinyl….and she had ceramic over concrete ! Worse part…..all of the tile had to be picked up and SCRUBBED by hand before it could be laid again. Id have gone postal on someone !

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim - A Creative Spirit
    September 7, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Seems to happen ALL the time or at least WAY too often. I have had luck at Lowe's lately with the paint guru's… Which reminds me I need to stop for another sample since the Valspar Spaqua may be a little bright for my office/spare bedroom….

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    We don't have a HD here 🙁 but I often get this from one of our mom-and-pop hardware stores *sigh*………..and it's all because I'm female. I went in for a plastic water line for our fridge and the OWNER kept acting like I didn't know what I was talking about, they only come in copper, which I knew was incorrect. When I found some IN HIS OWN STORE he turned quite sheepish, but seriously, everytime I go in there, if I'm not dealing with a female, I get the same treatment. Needless to say I don't go there much. A female OWNS the other store 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    In spite of all the HP employees do, we still manage to buy, install, and use their products.

    We also put in Traffic Master (Trafficmaster Allure, Mellow Wood Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring) about a year ago. I swear we knew more about the product than the whole crew. We ended up telling them things they didn't know about it.

    I have loved this floor since the day we installed it. My husband and I did it in our great room and our downstairs bedroom in one weekend. He cut, I laid. It went over a concrete floor. As a matter of fact, last month a contractor friend of ours came to visit for a few days. Towards the end of his visit he asked about the floor "Who installed the wood floor for you?" I told him #1 it was not wood and #2 we installed it. He couldn't believe it. He actually then got down and closely inspected it. He was amazed.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 8, 2010 at 12:55 am

    We don't have Home Depot or Lowes down here in Aussie land, but we do have Bunnings – which from what I can gather is along the same lines, but with not as many product lines.

    I love my Bunnings store, but not all the staff are particularly helpful. In our old town up North the store was staffed by mainly mature aged people who had a clue! If they weren't sure about a product they would find someone who could help, and they all seemed to know who was the expert on which products – they had obviously been trained well. However, with this new store they are all seem to be part time high school kids, ore people who would rather be somewhere else and I spend most of my time reading lots of labels to figure out which product is suitable for me!
    I hear your pain – oh and the totally understand what Amy is saying!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 8, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Hey, I HAVE that tile! It's totally beautiful!

    First you post about loving bright colorful rooms and now this…you're like my design soul mate!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 8, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Here's the part that makes it even more frustrating to me: this economy has crippled the home building industry. There are so many flooring, plumbing, electrical, painting contractors (and many more!) out of work–surely they can find knowledgeable people to hire in each department. Literally the "experts" they claim to have.

    The flooring is beautiful!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Bowe On Custom Interior Design
    September 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    LOL — I have often found when it comes to something that is a bit more, say custom, then finding someone at home depot who is knowledgeable about the product is hard.

    Flooring is one of those things. I am always amazed at what flooring can do for a room. It is like replacing your stock wheels on your car for those custom ones. It makes the whole room look different, fresh, new and inviting…..

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Your floors look great! I am thinking about doing these floors in a bathroom I have. The peel and stick (Armstrong brand) I did six years ago are all popping up, time to re-do the floors. Did you just peel and stick, or did you also paint an additional adhesive onto the floors before you put the tiles down? Any special chemical to clean / prep the existing floor to help adhesion? I see in your photo buckets, a cannister, etc…. what materials tools did you use / do I need?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    How has the floor held up since you installed it? Was there an odor after installing the TrafficMaster vinyl tiles? Did you put any kind of adhesive on the floor before you stuck the tiles down? I love how your floors turned out and am seriously considering using the same product in my kitchen and dining room. Thanks!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    February 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Sadly, I still have parts that aren't finished. BUT…the part that IS finished is AWESOME!!! I highly recommend this floor. It's very durable (I have a big dog…with claws), and very easy to install.

    I didn't notice any odor at all when installing it. I put mine over concrete subfloor that had previously been painted, and it stuck VERY well.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    AM from White House, Black Shu
    April 10, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I have had a few encounters with this one lady from our HD paint department who has NO idea what she's talking about. Looking for frogtape, "we don't carry that," and I find it the next aisle over. Asking her about which glaze to use for distressing, she didn't even KNOW what glaze was! When I found it she said "oh that's glaze, that's what you can use." OH MY GOSH. Needless to say, I only buy paint at Lowes, lol.

    I also asked someone in the flooring department how many tiles usually come in a box, since the prices are per box and not per square foot. He said he didn't know and COUNTED THEM. I could have done that!

    So you're not alone, haha!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 19, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    hey, so i wanna do this tile in my house too! i love that its so much cheaper, easier to do and it looks so nice! but i was wondering about the grout…because of the vinyl tile, i would think you need to you a flexable grout because it flexes more then a stone or ceramic tile. and i also wanted to point out…i am so sorry about your mishap with home depot. i feel the same way when i go in looking for stuff and you wanna know the really funny part…i work there! so i make it my mission, to be on top of all my product and know the most i can about everything so i can be as helpful as possible.(and no i don't work in flooring…otherwise i would make it my duty to know about this flooring…HOWEVER i am learning, so i can pass this knowledge onto someone else interested.) i hate to make excuses for everyone else that sucks at there job at homedepot. but the majority of the people i work with, are college/uni students and homedepot is just a place that has great hours, wages and grant incentives…so thats why they work there…its a convienient job, not something they are interested in, so they don't care about knowing stuff. i got the job on the other hand, because i LOVE renovating, building, decorating…all of that! and what better place to work, then a place where you can learn to do all that! i don't know every department. my department is kitchen and bath. its a speciallty department, because of ordering, designing and knowing installation. its ALOT to learn! so i don't have time to learn other departments. i know a little bit. but there is sooooooooooooo much product in our stores, i don't know half of what we have! not because i am ignorant(cuz i truly would love to learn what we have and how to use it) but because i take passion into the job i do have, so i can give you the best of the best of what i know and there are not enough hours in the day to learn everything! another thing, is its a job, that we never went to school for, we're not contractors, carpentors, plumbers or electricians.(even though the commercials portray we know everything about everything) and ya, 9 times outta 10 you do know more about some products because you have done more research on the product then the person your talking to has. sometimes its a new product, that we haven't learn't the product knowledge on yet. and some things, we only know as much as we've been, told about or read about…we haven't all gotten our hands dirty with every product and tried and seen how it works. but i do believe, people should take pride in what they are doing…no matter what kinda job they have. i know i sure hate when someone comes to me asking me a question..and i just do not know the answer but if you came back the next day, i could give you that answer and know about that question to the fullest.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    What kind of grout did you end up using?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 21, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I LOVE the coloring of your tile. Do you remember it’s exact name? Please!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for bloggers who’d used Ceramica- turns out you’re like the only one! We had a similar experience though- at Home Depot Canada. They only stock a few of the colours of Ceramica in the store and we wanted their new “Concrete” colour in 12 x 24 inch tiles (going to do a brick pattern in our kitchen/ back entrance/ half bath area and our separate front entrance area- same as you we’re looking forward to a CONSISTENT and NOT UGLY floor!)

    We stood in front of the display for about 10 minutes arguing over colour (my husband really wanted to go for the Coastal Grey but I found it to dark since our kitchen is painted back) and 5 employees passed us without asking if we needed help. Finally I won the colour war and marched up to the flooring desk and told the lady sitting there hunched over some binders that I wanted to order some flooring. She looked stunned and said she’d call someone to help us. Well we sat there waiting for another 5-10 minutes before someone finally showed up and placed our order for us. Oddly enough once he was sitting at the desk entering out order (which we had to reiterate to him FOUR times that we wanted the 12 x 24 tiles, not the 12×12) there was suddenly FIVE flooring associates milling about.

    Anyways- it’s ordered. It’ll be here in two weeks! And then we can instal it right over top of our ugly butter yellow roll vinyl that the previous owners of our house were clearly in love with. I’m so glad reading your other posts and hearing that it’s a pretty quick instal considering. Once it’s in we can finally put baseboards down (another thing the previous owners forgot to do!)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tina Riedel
    December 11, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    I came across this tile the same way as you – wandering the Home Depot tile section, longing for some glass tile (planning to tile a counter backsplash) that wasn’t ugly and had a similar reaction. Looks amazing, sturdy, and very do-able. But before I head to HD, where I’ll get the same reaction you do, but with, “Are you buying this for your boss?” when they see my long gray hair, I’m dying to know how you feel about it this tile now, 3 years down the road. Did it hold up well? Were the warnings about the need to use flexible grout warranted, or did your grout selection hold up fine?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      December 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      I love this flooring still. It holds up very well, and looks like real tile once it’s grouted. As far as the grout, I just used the pre-mixed grout that the sell in one-gallon containers at Home Depot, and it held up just fine.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kaleb Howarth
    December 14, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I’ve been researching the ceramica (albeit in coastal grey) and am very encouraged by your striking results! Just beautiful!

    I would make the point, however, that we shouldn’t think too badly of HD employees. It is the responsibility of management to properly invest in their personnel through training, clear expectations, etc. And 99% of the time if an employee seems to be grabbing answers from the air, it is because the proper culture has not been established by management. A shame for everyone involved, from stock boys to shareholders – and certainly for we the customers!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Shopping for 1 3\4″ screws and a few other small quantity bulk fasteners the other day for a bamboo desk I’m making with my daughter. The HD chap or screw supplier couldn’t have given two whits that I was there in the isle with my young son trying to locate the correct products. I assumed he was the supplier just restocking, as he never offered any help.

    While I was there, this guy spoke up three times – offering unsolicited advice to men about what to purchase to save them money.

    Not a word to me in 20 mins of shopping and moving back and forth in the same isle as him.

    Finally I had all but one item, so I asked him if he had the same product in a 1 5/8 size and he said, and I quote ” If it’s here, it’s on the shelf”.

    Just wow.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Diane P
    April 23, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Beautiful job, the floor and the post. I want to install a similar groutable vinyl in my basement, but part of the floor had a previous vinyl tile. I was able to get 99.9% of it off, but what’s left won’t come loose, and the adhesive is leaving a bit of texture down on the floor. Any ideas for prepping the surface?

    Oh, and I totally have come up against a LOT of misogyny over the years, both at home centers and even with contractors in my own home. I live alone, and most workers ask to talk to my husband, and when they hear I live alone, I have had horrible results. One contractor was insisting on further payments and I said I wouldn’t give him more oney until he made more progress. I left for work, and then realized I had forgotten something and returned a few minutes later to discover that he wasn’t even there! He came back the next day asking again for more money! Another started talking to my neighbor, because he was there and a man, and just assumed he was the homeowner. Even after we explained he was not the one hirring him, the contarctor kept addressing him instead of me!