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Beware the hidden costs of purchasing a door at The Home Depot

According to the Home Depot’s own website, “Choosing the right size door is a breeze.”

Here’s how much of a breeze it actually isn’t, as personally experienced by myself and my wife.

First, when you visit or call your local Home Depot, they tell you that they won’t do a door installation without a professional measurement, for which the consumer must pay $35 up front.  This seems fair, and I’m willing to give Home Depot the benefit of the doubt here.  I understand the company doesn’t want consumers to waste its service reps’ time and requiring the consumer to put a little skin in the game can help defray the costs of these services.  The measurement service is billed as a one-time professional visit that will ensure exact measurements, resulting in a perfect door selection and fit.  I can use a tape measure as well as anyone else, but we wanted to make sure we got the perfect fit, so set up an appointment and shelled out our $35.  Fine.Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 3.04.38 PM

One and a half weeks after the professional measurer came by the house, Home Depot called with the news that they had measurements and quotes for our doors.  Unfortunately, they were unable to give us any other information over the phone, insisting instead that we come into the store to receive the measurements and choose the doors.  During the time we had spent waiting to hear the final measurements, my wife and I had removed one of the old storm doors and sanded/finished the frames so that we could pick out our new doors and have them installed immediately.  After all, winter is coming.

This week, my wife unsuccessfully visited Home Depot to place an order for two doors. Three kids in tow, she found a clerk who was able to pull up the measurements and provide a quote for full service installation. The clerk informed her that one door was one inch and change wider than standard size and the other door was one inch and change taller than standard size.  In order to install either new door, Home Depot would need to add a small amount of trim around one side of each door frame for the cost of $75 per door.

This $75 per-door modification fee is in addition to the $127 per-door installation fee (plus the $15 per-door removal fee, if you have old storm doors still in place) that Home Depot will charge to install the door (after the $35 measurement fee).  As a result, purchasing and installing two $100 storm doors through Home Depot was suddenly about to cost us $639.

I understand that Home Depot’s complete installation is convenient for consumers, and charging consumers for that convenience isn’t unreasonable. However, since we’re relatively handy folks, my wife was confident that we could install the doors ourselves and add in the necessary trim, saving ourselves over $400 from Home Depot’s quote.  We had already paid for precise measurements to be taken, so she figured we knew where we would need to make modifications and which size doors we should select.  When my wife asked about ordering just the doors themselves, however, the clerk became adamant that Home Depot would not be able to guarantee the fit of the door or that any variations in height or width would be adequately reflected in the measurements.  The only way to guarantee the perfect fit was to have Home Depot do the installation – effectively tripling the cost of each storm door.

In the hopes of recouping some of the value from the $35 professional measurement, my wife asked for the exact measurement results so that we could price doors and installation costs elsewhere (and purchase the necessary trim).  The clerk would only print out the specifications on the standard size doors themselves and a copy of the full price quote from Home Depot, again reiterating that Home Depot could not guarantee correct measurements unless Home Depot did the complete installation. I’m not new to attempts by Home Depot to take advantage of homeowners (we half-fell for the “water test scam” a few months ago), but I was still unpleasantly surprised by the exorbitant hidden costs and deliberate withholding of information from the consumer.

Consumers’ Research recommends that consumers installing or replacing doors get at least two quotes on installation.  Consumers might have a local handyman that has a better relationship with retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Breakdown of costs:

$200 – Cost of 2 Doors
$35 – Measurement
$254 – 2x door installation
$150 – 2x adding trim to frame during installation
$639 – Total

Similar complaints about Home Depot doors can be found here, here, and here.

7 Responses

  1. Brian Philbin

    It should also be clarified that – contrary to Home Depot’s assurances – if there is a problem with the installation, it will not be made right.

    I engaged Home Depot’s service to install 3 toilets in my home. I used to install toilets in an apartment complex, so I know the drill and it’s not terrifically difficult. However, if something went wrong, I didn’t want to have to fix it – I wanted it to be someone else’s problem.

    As it turned out, one of the installations leaked through an upstairs bathroom through to the garage, ruining the ceiling. When we called and reported it, an installer was sent out to fix the toilet, but the ceiling was considered “our problem”.

    The ceiling was perfect when the toilet was installed – only after their installation failed and destroyed our finished garage ceiling did any aspect of it become a “problem”.

    Many times, the skills needed to install such things are not terrifically difficult to acquire – particularly with solid guidance. That said, if you hire an installer and their work causes damage, they should be ready and willing to stand behind their work and repair the damage. A company like Home Depot should be committed to customer satisfaction and provide extra assurance that failures will be made right.

    But don’t you bet on it.

  2. Belinda

    Several years ago Home Depot installed a new steel door in my front. They removed all my woodwork and put a thin trim around it. Now there is a gap between the door frame and the wood work. They just said they don’t replace the original trim. I wouldn’t of had them do it if they had told me that up front. Buyer beware.

  3. michel mcpehrson

    I agree with Jean. Home Depot is very deceptive. I had someone to install the door and frame. I just needed to place the order. Home Depot stated I had to pay $35 for their measurements which took less than 10 min. then would not give them to me to order the frame and door unless I allowed them to install. It’s like an eye doctor doing an eye exam and then refusing to give the prescription to the patient. That was ruled illegal by the courts and I am sure a CLASS ACTION SUIT will be coming!!!

  4. Sato

    Thanks for sharing the experience. I was looking for the cost at HD. Other retailers seems to reimburse measurement fee once customers purchase products. HD is greedy.

  5. Cethelen MacEalaionta

    beware what they do sell you too. My mother was scammed out of over $1200 for some “solid wood” 8 panel interior doors about 7-8 years back. A couple had to be “custom ordered” because of the size and the fact it was an older home that wasn’t a post 90’s development thrown up ticky-tacky house (where HD “shines” and their major customer base as their crap will fall apart to match the rest of the garbage in a thrown up house).
    Now the 3 stooges and a chimp can hang a door so they got that right.
    They AREN’T “solid wood” they are composite (scam 1)
    They are made like crap and glued together like a freshman 1st semester woodshop picture frame with but joins…not a mortise & tenon, or even a tongue and groove to be found anywhere.
    Now instead of rectangles they are parallelograms, the knob edge drags on the floor and has sagged over an inch compared to the hinge edge, the bolt doesn’t even hit the catch plate, the bottom rail is sliding out and dropping down. They either have to be rebuilt entirely with real wood stiles and rails cut properly with real joints, or to half ass it holes drilled thru the stiles into the rails and lag bolts put in to act as the missing mortise and tenons (which may not hold in faux composite wood)
    For being heavier than oak they are complete garbage that would get you a F in high school wood shop if you made them.
    Nothing they sell is really designed to last a week longer than the warranty…and their trained monkeys only know how to put it in or replace it with other garbage not how to fix a problem or – heaven forbid – anything about actual carpentry

  6. Patrick

    Well Home Depot doesn’t actually do any of the work, measurements, installation, etc. That is all done by a contractor, Home Depot just provides the door. I will agree that they should ensure the contractor does quality work, but when you deal with them you are doing it because they are cheaper then one of the specialty companies. I’ve had a front door installed by a Home Depot recommended contractor several years ago and have had no problems, maybe I was just lucky.

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