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Carpet Buying Q & A

By Alan J Fletcher - 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 the living room. My biggest problem is the heavy traffic from the front door, across the living room and down the hallway to the bedrooms. This gets dirty super fast. Any help would be appreciated.

 

Carpet Professor's Answer: 

Nylon is the best fiber for homes with heavy foot traffic. If you need a quick solution right now, The first thing I would do is to get some plastic carpet runners or lay down some area rugs to alleviate some of the abrasion you are getting in those high traffic areas. This is not too costly and will surely help. Also make sure you have a good set of walk-off mats at the outer front door and entryway. 

 

Requiring house-slippers for the main family members is another great option. You have several carpet selection options that could work well for you when you are ready to install new carpet. You need to decide how long you want your new carpet to last, and learn what grade of carpet you need to select that is capable to withstand your high level of foot traffic. 

 

What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?    Learn about Sorona ģ Smartstrand Carpet Fibers

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Carpet Professor's Answer: 

Whether or not PET polyester is more stain resistant than Nylon is not the issue, it 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 ugly.

 

 

Q. Does this price range for new carpet 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.  What price range should I expect for a good quality Nylon Frieze style carpet?

 

Carpet Professor's Answer: 

Since you have two young children, and children spill a lot, you may want to consider a lesser grade of carpet and plan to re-carpet 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. A good quality nylon frieze carpet starts at about $30 per square yard ($3.33 per square foot) and does not include the cost of padding or installation. 

How much does new carpet cost?

 

 

Is there a Nylon Carpet Test? 

 

Is there a simple test to see if a Carpet is made from Nylon, Olefin or Polyester?

 

Carpet Professor'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. It is difficult for most people to determine what fiber a carpet is made from. Polyesters are softer than Nylons in most cases. Polyesters are softer but there are also manufactured with a thicker pile height and the tufts are packed more densely to try to prevent the pile from matting down. This is because the polyester fiber is much cheaper to manufacture than Nylon and is much less resilient than Nylon. Olefins are more abrasive to the touch and are used mostly in low-end looped Berber styles. Berbers styles made of Nylon are very durable and are much more costly to purchase that are those made of Olefin (aka Polypropylene). Interested in Mohawk's Smartstrand Fiber? Carpet Fibers - What Consumers Need to Know

 

 

Stinky Smelly Carpet?

Iíve 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?

 

Carpet Professor's 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 more about Carpet Styles

 

 

Is Using a Power Stretcher to Install New 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. Itís been a real education. 

As more anecdotal evidence of why itís absolutely necessary to get 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 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?

 

Carpet Professor'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). My 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. 

 

 

Beware of Newfangled Products

 

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 long gone. I have a basic 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 and unforeseen problems. 

 

This rule applies to Mohawk's Forever Fresh and the new Odor Eating padding 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. I don't know what the problem is, but the dealer and the mill rep are baffled too. These new products may only cost you more money than you really need to spend. Buyer Beware!

 

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