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Carpet Buying Q & A

©2021 Alan J Fletcher - 30-Year Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate

 

Q. I am looking for a good quality carpet that can withstand kids, cats, dogs and heavy traffic.

 

I have a somewhat formal living room that you land in upon entering my house. To get to any other part of the house at that point, one needs to walk through that living room. My biggest problem is the traffic marks from the front door, across the living room and down the hallway to the bedrooms. This gets dirty fast. Any help would be appreciated.

 

Answer: 

 

You have a common dilemma, too much traffic that few carpets can tolerate. If your pets have frequent accidents you might want to install an inexpensive carpet and padding and plan to replace it more often.

 

If you do not have pet accidents you might consider a good quality Frieze style carpet. The higher tuft twist make this style of carpet more durable then most other styles. The fiber you choose is also important. 

 

Learn more about Sorona ® Smartstrand Carpet Fibers.

 

 

Best Carpet Choice for Your Home

 

I live in Clinton Township Michigan. My husband and I are looking to replace all of our upstairs carpet. The carpet to be replaced includes a hall, a stair case with 12 stairs, and four upper bedrooms.

 

Last week I stopped into a local family owned carpet store to look at a carpet that I had seen in a family member’s home. The carpet was made by Mohawk and is made from 75% Smartstrand and 25% P.E.T. Polyester.

 

Tonight we had an in-home estimate from a well-known shop-at- home company. The salesman brought out some plush style carpets that he stated were great for high traffic areas.  He showed us a 60 oz weight, and a 50 oz weight carpet samples.  I asked him if in fact that they carried "Smartstrand" and he said yes however that it was a special order carpet.  

 

He went on to say that the sample that I had from the local dealer was only about a 30 oz face weight and would mat down over time. He instead suggested that his Shaw plush style was a much better choice for the stairs and hall.  He quoted us $3,750 to do the hall/stairs and the four bedrooms. I had received a quote of $4,036 from the local family owned carpet store with the 30 oz face weight carpet.

 

Both offered 8 lb padding. The shop-at- home company offered padding without the moisture barrier, they have it but he did not believe that we needed it (because it is just me and my husband in the home), but the local dealer offered padding with the moisture barrier.

 

I came across your site after going online to look at some other local carpet stores to see what they may have to offer.  I guess I would like an expert such as you to weigh in or give some advice as to why the local carpet store would only offer us a 30 oz face weight and give a quote of $4000 dollars and the shop-at- home carpet company quote $3,750.00 with w 60 oz face weight.  Looking forward to hearing back from you.

 

 

Alan's Answer:

 

Thanks for your great carpet questions!  I have to make some assumptions with the limited information you gave me, so this is my best “guesstimate” response for you.

 

It sounds like you had Empire Today out tonight to show you some low-quality polyester carpet samples. I never recommend buying carpet from Empire, and I don’t recommend you buy a carpet made of PET or Polyester fibers unless you want it to last for less than 7 years. Polyester are the absolute worst fibers to make carpet, no matter what any salesperson may tell you. Neither of two carpets you mentioned can handle medium to heavy foot traffic regardless of their 50 or 60-ounce face-weights. Polyester is prone to matting down, and once it does, nothing you can do will revive the pile.

 

Fiber type, Tuft twist and pile density are way more important factors to consider than is a higher face-weight. You need to consider all the carpet specifications to know if the carpet is durable enough to handle your application and last as long as you anticipate.

 

A carpet made of Nylon is always the best choice for stairs and hallways and other heavy foot-traffic areas. Smartstrand, P.E.T. or Polyester fibers do not perform as well on stairs and hallways as they tend to mat down quickly in medium to heavy foot traffic applications. If your home has low foot-traffic, then a Smartstrand (Triexta) or a polyester fiber might work well for you for a limited time, but it should still have good specifications, hopefully more than 30-ounce face-weight and good pile-density rating 

 

(see attached carpet durability chart)

 

 

Best Carpet Padding Choice for Your Home

 

You don’t really need a moisture barrier padding, so why pay extra for it. A good quality Rebond type pad, 7/16”, 8-pound density will do the job just fine in most residential applications. Always check with the carpet manufacturer to make sure you choose the correct carpet padding for the carpet style and application you require. See my List of Carpet Mill Websites and toll-free phone numbers. 

 

Learn more about Moisture Barrier Padding and other specialty padding types.  

 

Take my Free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to see what level of foot-traffic you have in your home and What Grade of Carpet you need to select to meet your needs, goals and lifestyle. 

 

 

 

Q. I have read that the new PET fiber is even more stain resistant than nylon. Your web site indicated PET Polyester is the worst. Why is this?

 

Answer:

 

Whether or not PET polyester is more stain resistant than Nylon is not the issue, the issue is that P.E.T. Polyester carpets mat down quickly and have poor resiliency. That means that your new PET polyester carpet will not retain a new appearance very long. Even after a good cleaning it will still be matted down and look ugly. Who cares if your carpet is more stain resistant if it wears out and mats down in just a couple of years. Nylon is much more durable and will last years longer.

 

 

Q. Does This Carpet Price Sound Reasonable?

 

I am installing a DriCore sub-floor system in the 1,200 SF basement of my newly constructed home. The basement will serve as a family room & play area for my family which includes 2 children under the age of 5 and a de-clawed (front& back) cat. I have been looking for a good quality frieze carpet to put over the Sub-floor.  

 

Alan's Answer:

 

Since you have two young children, and children spill a lot, you may want to consider a lower-grade of carpet and plan to re-carpet again in 5 to 10 years. Many people do this because in a few years the children will not be as hard on the carpets and spills and stains will not be such an issue.

 

No carpet warranty covers all types of stains. Either way you go, a nylon frieze is a good choice for you. If you want to save money, go with a P.E.T. Polyester and expect to replace it in 5 years. If you put in a good quality pad now, you should be able to reuse part or all of it when you upgrade to a better grade of carpet in about 5 years.

 

Learn more: How Much Does New Carpet Cost?

 

 

Nylon Carpet Test?

 

Is there a simple test to see if a carpet if Nylon or Polyester?

 

Alan's Answer:


All fibers used to make carpet have different melting points, and there are burn tests that can be performed to determine what fiber it is. I don't advise consumers to perform these tests, but they can be found on the internet by doing a simple web search.

 

Learn more: What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?

 

Stinky Carpet?

 

I’ve just installed Mohawk wall-to-wall carpet throughout my home. I do not have the paperwork with me as I write this, but I remember it is a new type of carpet that resists pet problems more than any other type, and the pad is the standard type. The problem is a very strong odor has developed within 2 days of the install. The odor resembles mildew...as if someone left wet towels piled up. Every room smells and it seems to be getting stronger every day. Now 5 days later, we have moved to a motel while the carpet people contact a rep from Mohawk and determine what the problem may be. They say they have never experienced this. Any ideas?

 

Answer:

 

One of my most important rule for consumers for making a major purchase, (car, appliance, carpet) is to never buy a product that has just been released to the public. I always wait until all the bugs have been ironed out and make sure that the product has stood the test of time. In this case, it sounds like you have purchased Mohawk's newly released Odor Eaters Carpet. 

 

Now, while I do not know what the smell is, I would be willing to make an educated guess that it has something to do with a reaction between the processing chemicals, and the type of padding you have used. I am very interested in knowing what the carpet rep has to say. 

 

Learn about Carpet Styles

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Using a Power Stretcher to Install Carpet Important?


Q. I got your ebook and it and this website have been very helpful. Based on your book, I even developed my on 45-question worksheet for each and every carpet company I talk to. It’s been a real education. 

 

As more anecdotal evidence of why it’s absolutely necessary to get (AT LEAST) two bids, I called one guy who was listed under carpet layers in the phone book. He said they also like to sell carpet and came out to the house to measure. He then tried the lump-sum pricing, which I asked him to break down. He did so reluctantly, giving me the carpet price and the pad price, and saying everything else was installation. It worked out that installation was about $17 a sq. yard. Yikes. 

 

I went to another company and without having him to the house asked about installation - $3.50/sq. yard + $1.50 for removal, a bit more for stairs and $2/ft for transition metal (of which we have maybe 20 feet), working out to about $5.50 sq. ft. I called a carpet installation company and their pricing was similar to the second company. Amazing.

Another anecdote - you don't recommend looped Berber for pets. We bought a remnant for our dog to sleep on. Within a day he'd put a run in it. Not surprisingly, we decided against doing Berber.

Anyway, now to the question. In your book and on your site, you strongly recommend a power stretcher. All three companies say they'll use if needed, but, as a general rule won't for residential work unless there's a 50-foot room. For a smaller room, it doesn't provide as much flexibility in angling (one company showed us a picture and trade article). Any response for these guys?

All right - second question.  Any experience with Mohawk's Forever Fresh line or Beaulieu's Magic Fresh? I understand they are both good for pets smells and that Beaulieu's carpet (by Hollytex) has a 5 year limited warranty where they will replace the carpet (labor excluded) for any stain or smell. I do understand that I have to use a double-sided moisture resistant pad to not void these warranties. Any thoughts?

 

Alan's Answer:

 

Thank you for such a nice e-mail. It really makes me feel good to know that I am making a difference with my book and website. Now, to your first question: "In your book and on your site, you strongly recommend a power stretcher. All three companies say they'll use if it needed, but, as a general rule won't for residential work unless there's a 50-foot room. For a smaller room, it doesn't provide as much flexibility in angling (one company showed us a picture and trade article). Any response for these guys?"

Using a power stretcher in smaller rooms? Yes! I have a word for these guys. Thanks, but no thanks! No responsible, qualified installer would ever say that a power stretcher should only be used in a 50-foot room. Its one thing to say that a small closet can be "kicked in" but every consumer should know the facts: unless you want your carpet to develop wrinkles within 1 to 3 years, insist that a power stretcher is used in every room of your home. "If these installers won't use a power stretcher then hire someone who will. 

 

Learn more: All about Carpet Comparison


Every year I see and hear about all the great new innovations that the carpet manufacturers come up with. As the next year rolls around, some of those great new innovations from the previous year are gone. I have a rule: never buy an untried and untested product. This goes for cars, appliances, electronics, and carpet. 

 

I usually wait at least three years to make sure that all the bugs are worked out and that there are no unknown problems. This rule applies to Mohawk's Forever Fresh and the new Odor Eating products too. 

 

I just received a letter from an attorney yesterday who has been forced to move into a motel because their newly installed Odor Eating Carpet has developed a horrible smell. These new products only cost you more money than you really need to spend. 

 

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Recommended Carpet Stores

Preferred New Carpet Dealers

 

 

Best Carpet Cleaning Services

Carpet Cleaning Service Directory

Buy New Carpet or Have Your Old Carpets Cleaned?

 

 

How To Choose New Carpet

5 Ways to Ensure Your Carpet Buying Success

How Much Does New Carpet Cost?

Carpet Specifications Explained

What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?

Best Carpet Choice for Kids Dogs Cats & Pets?

Retail Carpet Scams and Rip-Offs Revealed

Buy Carpet at Home Depot Costco Empire or Lowe's?

 

 

Carpet Padding Choices

Selecting the Right Carpet Pad

Types of Carpet Padding

Specialized Carpet Pads

 

 

Carpet Installation Facts

Carpet Installation Cost

How to Find a Qualified Carpet Installer

 

 

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