Carpet Install Coupon Deal from Home Depot

Karrie and I have been wanting new carpet in our family room and dining room.  There were a few stains, and overall the carpet was just worn out.  The first thing we needed to do was to find out the size of the rooms.  So I measured everything and determined the square footage.  With that we could get an idea of how much it would cost to buy the carpet, pad and to have it installed. 

One thing to remember is that the square footage of the room is not necessarily the square footage you will be paying for.  Typically they say you should estimate 20% more than the size of your room. This is based on how many cuts they are going to need to make from the full 12 foot carpet roll.  I wanted to try to estimate how much extra we needed to buy so that meant I had to find the carpet seam.   It turned out to be right in the middle between the two rooms.
home depot carpet, carpet pad, hard wood floor

Now I knew when I first bought the house that there is hard wood floor under this carpet but I never knew what condition it was in.  After tearing up one of the corners I saw that it looked okay but not great.  It was old oak hardwood floor at the finish was very worn down.  Even if Karrie and I did want hardwood floor it would've taken a lot of sanding and refinishing to get this into shape.

We looked around at where we could buy the carpet and determined that our best option was Home Depot.  We decided to buy our carpet from Home Depot for a couple different reasons.  Firstly because their installation is free if you buy a certain amount of carpet.  We calculated that with our rooms we would just qualify for the free install.  The second reason was because we remembered about how we could get the discounted price from Home Depot using a 10% off coupon from Lowe's and buying gift cards online.   A few months earlier I purchased a new DeWalt miter saw from Lowe's.  I was able to get the saw on clearance as well as an additional 10% off when I used an online coupon.
slick deals, lowe's 20% off coupon, lowes coupon code

But when you need to purchase something from Home Depot there's a few other tricks you can do.  One is that you can go to the US Post Office you can get a "change of address packet" with all sorts of coupons inside.  One of those coupons is a 10% off your Lowe's entire purchase. The good thing about that coupon, is Home Depot will honor the 10% up to $50.  The next trick is something we discovered back when we remodeled our family room.

There are sites online where you can purchase Home Depot gift cards for less than the value of the card.  The way the sites work is that they are sort of like a middleman.  People who have Home Depot, Lowe's, or several other stores gift cards, will sell them to the site for less than what they are worth.  Those people would rather have the cash than the gift card.  Then the site will sell those gift cards for a percentage less than what they are worth.

On the site different stores have different percentage off.  Usually a Home Depot gift card is 5% less than its face value. But by using coupon code from SlickDeals we were able to get our gift cards for 11.5% less than face value.  So we purchased about five gift cards which had a value of $1100 but we spent less than $1000.

The entire process of purchasing carpet from Home Depot took a few days.  First you have to go to the store and sign up for an inspector to come out and measure.  They take those measurements and a few days later you get a call from Home Depot saying you can come back in and arrange payment for what the total price will be.  When we went back to the store about a week later they said we would need about 440 ft.² of carpet and pad.  The total cost was going to be around $1380.  But at the time we were purchasing the carpet there was a sale at the store, plus we were using gift cards which was 11.5% off, plus we used our Lowe's 10% off gift card.

One slightly nervous moment was at the register when they said we weren't able to use the Lowe's gift card.  But after speaking with them and having them call their manager, he said as long as it wasn't under $100 discount he was okay for us to use it. The great thing was when they calculated it, they didn't give us the maximum $50 off, they ended giving us us the full 10% off of around $97.  So when it was all said and done we got carpet which should have cost us around $1400 for right around $1000.  We were pretty happy that we got such a great deal. 

It took another week for the order to get to the carpet manufacturer in them to give us a call back and set up our install date.  After getting the call and setting up the appointment we had two days to rip out all the carpet and padding in those rooms.  So we spent a few hours moving all the furniture into the living room and then tore out the carpet and pad in the dining room.  As you can see from the bottom of the carpet there were lots of stains, although I guess they really didn't show up on the surface.
removing old carpet, how to, staples, pad

Once we get the carpet rolled up I carried it down to the basement and we started removing the pad. This actually took a lot more time than we thought because we had to pull out all the staples that held the pad down.  We used pliers and screwdrivers to pry all of them up.
how to remove capet pad, staples, tools, pliers, screwdriver

It looked like carpet had been replaced years ago because there were lots of staples which were just smashed down with a hammer.  I guess that's the easier way to do it.

After we had what we thought were all the staples pulled out I took a wet rag and started wiping everything down. That what I realized we missed about a dozen staples space to randomly over the floor.
hardwood floor and carpet, compare, best deal, home depot

The next day I started on the family room.  That carpet was a little harder to tear out, the roll kept rubbing on the side walls.  So I had to flip it around before it could be rolled up and carried down to the basement.  Here you can see what the carpet and wood floor looked like.  All those little dark patches are from the carpet padding that had been sitting on it for several years.
best deal, carpet, lowe's home depot, coupon, discount

Here's a time lapse I did, using the GoPro, of me removing the last of the furniture and getting rid of the carpet.

Remove Carpet and Pad

You can sort of see how rolling up the carpet and pad is the easy part, all of the hundreds of staples that need to be pulled is the tedious work..  After words I wiped everything down and found several more staples that I missed.
how to get the best deal on carpet from home depot lowe's

So now we had both rooms, carpet removed, pad removed, staples pulled, everything wiped down and ready for the carpet to be installed the next day.
home depot floor coupon code

Also I removed the trim between the doorway to the kitchen and the opening to the front door entry way.  I wasn't 100% sure if i should take the trim out, but I knew that would make it easier for the carpet installers.  That way they wouldn't have to push the carpet under the trim.  I could just put the trim on top of the carpet after they installed it. 

This turned out to be the correct choice and they said it made it a lot easier for them.  Plus I wasn't sure if I would be able to ever find that trim again and we had to make several small cuts to get it to fit flush with the door opening and I didn't want to break while they were installing carpet.

When the carpet installers arrived the next day I was at work but Karrie stayed home.  They showed up and said that the plan they were given to do the carpet wasn't the best way to install it.  Instead they went back to the shop and had it cut so that there was only one seam in the room. Here's a picture of what the padding look like.
carpet pad, compare, which pad to buy

And here's what the carpet looked like when they were all done.
home depot carpet, lowe's carpet

It's a big change having new carpet in there and looks really nice. Plus walking on it feels great on your feet. There's a huge difference between brand-new thick carpet and old matted down carpet.  Later that day we moved all the furniture back into the room and I reinstalled the door trim.
finished look of new carpet on hard wood floor

Overall I'm glad we got the new carpet and even happier that we got such a great deal with the sale, coupon, and gift cards.
family room cost, carpet from home depot, final install cost


GoPro + Kite = Lake Pictures

I wasn't sure if I would ever do KAP (kite aerial photography) ever again. Several years ago I attached my old Canon camera, which was running CHDK, to a kite and took some pictures.

Final Flight
Kite and First Flight

The result was both good and bad.  Here's the good part, some amazing pictures from a few hundred feet in the air.
kap, aerial photography, canon, chdk, kite

And now for the bad part.  I'll spare you the details, but the edge of a metal washer caused the line to snap and the camera fell and landed on an asphalt sidewalk.
broken canon camera, dropped, sd1100, kite

But since then I started using my GoPro camera for more risky pictures. For example when Karrie and I were in Mexico I took it in the ocean with us as we did our AquaTrek.

SeaTrek - Cabo San Lucas

So I decided that while we were up north ice fishing I thought should try to take some aerial photos of the lake and the cottage.  It probably would've been fine to just attach the GoPro directly to the kite, but I thought that after the last crash I should use some sort of protection.  I originally thought of a foam case, here were some of my early designs.
foam go pro case, gopro, how to

I figured that if i just got the "right materials" that i thought i'd need and stare at them long enough, i would come up with something.  
gopro, kite, foam case, aerial photography

I ended up cutting a recessed hole in the foam for the camera to sit in.
diy protective case for gopro
 Then i thought that i'd wrap a more dense foam around the edges.

But after several different redesigns I realized that I was never going to be able to make a good foam case.  I ended up using something else. Something you probably would never think of.  I used 2 old lotus seed pods.  
lotus seed pod

I have several old lotus seed pods  in my basement after collecting them over the years.  I've written many different blogs about trying to grow lotuses in my backyard.

American Lotus

Sprouting Lotus Seeds
Lotus in the Sun
Final Lotus of the Year

american lotus seed pod, grow

There was actually 3 reasons why the seed pod is perfect for protecting the camera.  First the seed pods are very light.  The whole point of the protective case is that it has to be lightweight or the camera and kite will never get off the ground.  The second is that they are strong, the inside of the lotus seed pod is like an accordion or honeycomb shaped. And thirdly, its design acts like a crumple zone of a car. Instead of hitting the ground against a hard foam block the lotus seed pod would crumple and absorb the impact.
lotus seed pod protective case, crumple

 So I took 2 lotus seed pods, connected them with an aluminum rod and attached them to the GoPro camera. I found another bonus while flying, the 2 seed pods acted like a rudder for the camera, keeping it pointed straight ahead.  
unique gopro case protect, camera, stabilize

Usually when I fly a kite with the camera, the camera swings wildly and I get lots of blurry pictures. With the stabilizing lotus seed pods I got a lot more pictures in the right direction..
long lake, aerial photo

photo of lake on ice, how to take cool aerial photo

One of the main problems though with the go pro camera is that the pictures turn out a little dark and blurry. The lens size and the camera is so small it needs a very bright sunny day to get good pictures. I think it had problems with the sky being gray and the ice and snow being bright white.  I had to adjust some of the contrast and brightness when I got home on the computer in Photoshop.  But overall I'm really happy with some of the pictures that I got.  It's a different view of the cottage than we normally see.
gopro kite

Although i never really got a good picture of the cottage.
kite aerial photo, camera

So after flying the kite for several minutes the wind slowly started to die and the kite started to fall. Again this KAP session ended with a crash. But this time everything was fine. The lotus seed pods did is they were designed, one corner being completely crushed. But the camera was perfect we fine. 
natural crumple zone, protect, camera

I plan on doing this again, but I need to have it be a nice steady windy day. It's difficult to get the camera in the air because there needs to be enough wind for the kite to get left a not too much when that's wildly swaying back and forth.