Step 1: We knew we wanted to get rid of the carpet. After 10 years and up to 4 animals at a time, the carpet was nasty. Ok. It was beyond nasty. But we didn't know quite what we wanted: bamboo, cork, wood, tile...
It took some serious research (thankfully, Dave likes looking into to these kinds of things), and in the end, we decided to go with the porcelain tile
- because pet "accidents" (in our house they aren't always accidents) would not damage the tile; and
- because I'm cheap (I mean frugal) and lazy, and if we're going to spend money on the floors, that floor better still be there when I'm cold in my grave
Yeah, so tile it is!
Step 2: Next we actually had to find the tile, which as it turns out, was surprisingly easy. We were wandering through Home Depot one day and there is was... the prettiest tile ever. We bought one to take home and check against our wall colors and furniture. Beautiful! We took it around town, trying to find something we liked better. Nothing! Even sales clerks commented at how gorgeous this tile was, saying "I WISH we sold something like that!"
So we had Home Depot give us a quote on installing it. Hmm, the whole kit-and-caboodle was kinda pricey, plus, how do we know they'd use a local contractor instead of bringing someone in from Houston?
We continued to look around, checking with other installers until we found David Guyton, a local contractor who came recommended by our friend and plumber. The best part is that he would most likely be able to do some of the other renovations we've been thinking about and we figured it wasn't a bad idea to start building a relationship with someone we could trust.
Mr. Guyton came to visit to give us a quote on laying the tile and suggested we check out "Carpet Installers," a locally-owned flooring supply house. That was when it happened. We found THE tile, better than the one we originally had fallen in love with, but of course at twice the price. Ouch!
We wrestled over the idea of spending so much money. Were we being wasteful? But in the end (noticing that both of us were trying to "make the numbers work" for this new tile), we decided to go with it. Especially after the sales lady at "Carpet Installers" told us she was able to get a quantity discount on the tile that put us right back into our price range. Sweet!
We immediately hired Mr. Guyton, contractor, who helped us by recommending ways we could save a little money - doing our own grout sealing, painting the shoe moulding ourselves, etc - and included advice on where to get the best quality and prices.
So what does all this have to do with buying local? Sure. We could have gone with the Home Depot tile and labor, but instead decided to work with a local installer, bought the tile from a locally-owned flooring supply company (although the tile is not local, obviously), and bought our supplies from a local hardware store.
In the end, not only did we support three local businesses, but we ended up with a tile we liked even better than the first AND we came in about $500 cheaper overall than if we'd have just gone through Home Depot.
Being mindful and buying locally not only paid off for us, but also for our community (don't forget 3x's the amount of money stays in the community when you buy local over big-box). And really, haven't they done an absolutely beautiful job?
Well, we're ready for our new housemate. She moves in this weekend, so I'll introduce you next week...