7 Services You Can Get for Free at Home Improvement Stores

Self-service is everywhere you look: online, at gas stations and big-box stores, and now at many grocery stores with self-checkout lanes.

You’ll find self-checkout lanes at the biggest home improvement store chains, too. But hardware stores big and small are an exception in that you also will still find various personal services there.

Following are examples of several services that are free at hardware stores. The services offered by one store can differ from those offered at the next, though — even within the same chain. So, call or check a store’s website to learn what’s offered locally.

Materials estimating

Lowe’s and Home Depot offer online calculators to help you determine the amount of materials you’ll need to buy for an array of projects. Examples include:

  • Flooring
  • Insulation
  • Grass seed
  • Mulch
  • Paint
  • Wallpaper

At smaller hardware stores, you may be able to bring in your project’s written dimensions and ask a staff member to help with planning and estimating materials.

Cut materials to spec

If you don’t have a saw, you can do many DIY tasks and projects by purchasing your materials at a hardware store that cuts things like wood to the lengths you need.

Many hardware stores will cut wood you’ve purchased. Lowe’s also cuts mini blinds, rope and chain to needed sizes. Some Ace Hardware stores cut glass and acrylic sheets.

Both Lowe’s and Ace stores will cut pipe as well as thread it.

DIY ideas, advice and instructions

Home improvement store chains may have whole libraries of instructions and advice on their websites.

Lowe’s website rivals Martha Stewart’s site for the variety of available project instructions — from barn-style doors to raised garden beds. Other Lowe’s freebies include a virtual deck designer.

Home Depot’s website also has a “DIY Projects and Ideas” section and even DIY digital workshops — videos and step-by-step instructions that walk you through basics ranging from how to use a power drill to how to fix a leaky faucet. The Home Depot Blog also offers tips and inspiration.

Or, if you’re stuck on a project, try just phoning a local hardware store to ask whether you can come in and discuss the problem with a staff member with experience.

Classes

Hardware stores often try to boost sales by offering instruction in using their products.

For example, Home Depot offers Do-It-Yourself workshops as well as Do-It-Herself workshops that cater to women, and kids workshops for future DIYers.

Paint matching

Hardware stores that sell paint typically will find or create a paint to match any color you like. Lowe’s says it can do this “in a matter of seconds.”

Home Depot even has a special free app called Project Color — available for Android and Apple devices — that includes a paint matching feature. The chain explains:

“We know inspiration can be found anywhere, so we built a paint match feature that allows you to snap a picture of any item — a painted wall, the sky or your couch — and we’ll find a paint color that matches closest.”

Some Ace Hardware stores also offer computerized paint-color matching. And as part of its Extra Mile Promise, the chain boasts that you can get everything you need for a paint job in trip to the store — or else Ace will deliver what you need to you for free.

Ace’s website also has a free tool called The Paint Studio that allows you to upload a photo of your home and see how a particular color would look on your walls.

Recycling

Home Depot and Lowe’s both have partnered with Call2Recycle for years to offer in-store collection of rechargeable batteries for recycling. Lowe’s says it has recycled nearly 6 million pounds of rechargeable batteries since 2004.

Some hardware stores may also collect compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) for recycling.

Key cutting

Need a copy of a key? A hardware store in your area might offer the service for free with the purchase of a key blank.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Houseplants That Remove Toxins From Your Indoor Air
9 Houseplants That Remove Toxins From Your Indoor Air

These plants may also do everything from reduce the amount of dust in your home to improve your productivity.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

5 Ways Your Phone Can Slash Grocery Costs
5 Ways Your Phone Can Slash Grocery Costs

These free apps and websites can help you get cash back on groceries, shop more efficiently or squeeze the most from the ingredients you have on hand.

7 Small Appliances You Don’t Need — and What to Use Instead
7 Small Appliances You Don’t Need — and What to Use Instead

Here’s how to get the job done without blowing money — or losing counter space.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money
17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money

You probably don’t realize these items are worth decent cash.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable
10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

These 5 States Are the Most Expensive Places to Retire
These 5 States Are the Most Expensive Places to Retire

If you expect to have modest retirement income, you may want to avoid spending your golden years here.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.