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Carpet Measuring Scams (and how to avoid them)

By Alan J Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate



You Need Your Home Measured Accurately!


If you were to blindly trust a dishonest or inexperienced carpet salesperson to determine the proper measurements for your home, you could easily be over-charged for the amount of materials and overpay for the total cost of the job, including overpaying for padding and installation costs too. 



What is Carpet Over-Measuring?


Most two-bedroom homes require about 100 square yards of carpet, or 900 square feet. 

If you were to select a carpet that cost $20 per square yard installed,  for 100 yards your total price would be two thousand dollars. When the salesperson measures your home, all they have to do is tell you that you need 110 yards of carpet, your total price would be $2200.00, a difference of $200! It really is that easy to overcharge you for materials and labor, and it is very common!




Note:  Accurately measuring for carpet is a learned ability. An experienced carpet salesperson can save you a lot of money by efficiently and strategically measuring your home and utilizing material waste from one area and apply it in another area to save you money. In contrast, An inexperienced carpet salesperson can mistakenly over-measure, not make good use of materials and charge you hundreds more for materials and labor than necessary!




But even worse...  An unscrupulous carpet salesperson can intentionally over-measure you and thereby over-charging you by hundreds or more for materials and labor... and how you may never become aware of it. 


Any homeowner could easily be over-measured by 10, 20, 30 yards or more and never know it. This could easily cost you hundreds or even thousands more than necessary. If you have a large home, you could be overcharged for thousands of dollars and never know it! You need to learn how to avoid this common carpet scam, and many other common carpet scams. Read on...






Some Carpet Salespeople are Lousy at Measuring. 


Measuring for Carpet is not easy and it takes years to truly master it.


It took me ten years to become proficient at measuring for carpet. Some homes are easy to measure. Some are really difficult to measure. One room is simple. Add a few more rooms and a staircase and a hallway and it gets more challenging. A large home with many angles and curves and it can become a nightmare and time-consuming to measure accurately.


In this case, what inexperienced carpet salespeople generally do is to over-measure. Why? They would rather order way too much material than to order too little material. It is embarrassing for them to order too little material and not have enough carpet to finish the job. It is an obvious sign of incompetence. This fact should make you take a deep breath and consider your situation carefully.


Do you have a large home or have a difficult layout? You need to have your home measured by an experienced professional, and verify the measurements at least once or twice before you commit to buying.


Some carpet salespeople are well trained and can save you the most money by measuring your home accurately and minimizing waste. Some salespeople are lousy at measuring and will cost you hundreds more than necessary. Whether they are just bad at measuring, don't care or just make simple mistakes with their math, you shouldn't have to pay for more material than you actually require. 


The best way to avoid incompetent measuring job or an outright measuring scam is to get several estimates from several different sources and compare side by side. But realize this, it's not easy to know which estimate is the most accurate. You can't assume the lowest estimate is the most accurate. The last thing you want is to not order enough material to do the job. This is why I have created my own hand-picked list of locally owned Carpet Dealers. See who I recommend near you




Which Carpet Measurements are the Most Accurate?


In almost all cases, if you get three free carpet estimates, you will get three totally different measuring results. This is because measuring for carpet is really an art-form. Everyone measures a little bit differently. For example, some carpet salespeople add an extra 5% for seaming while others add a few extra inches in material length for each room. But beware: the lowest measuring estimate is not always the most accurate so you have to be careful who's estimate you choose to trust, and ultimately agree to purchase. 


Some sneaky carpet salespeople will give you a measurement that is a few yards less than all the other estimates you get, just to get you to go with them. They do this purposely. They are prepared to add the missing yards back to your total after you agree to buy from them. They get the sale because they lied to you about how much material you need, but in the end they will because they make up the difference by fudging the numbers. They make a little bit less profit, but they get the job and add on some extra costs on the backside. You end up paying more in the end. 


Some salespeople will not want to show you their measurements or give you a complete copy of the diagrams they have created, but instead will try to convince you to agree to "One Price for the Whole Job". While this is a common practice that many retailers use, you still should be able to get a basic breakdown of the cost of carpet, the cost of padding and the cost for installation, if you ask for it.


You should always ask for the measurement totals and make sure you know exactly what you are being charged for each separate item: cost of the carpet, the pad, the installation, any extra fees and charges. Some dealers resist giving a detailed invoice, but at the very least you must receive a sales receipt or invoice that shows the cost of the carpet (how much per square yard or square foot) shown separate from the cost of the padding and installation. 


Why? A sales receipt showing the cost of the carpet separate from the cost of padding and installation will be required by the carpet manufacturer should you ever have a need to file a warranty claim.  The sales receipt or invoice must show exactly how much you paid (per square yard or by square foot) for the carpet material alone. 




Carpet Measuring Suggestions: 


If your are unsure about the amount of carpet your home requires, you might be wise to pay a small fee of $60 to $150 to hire an independent carpet installer to measure your home. The bigger your home, the more it will cost to have a carpet installer come by and measure it for you. It would be wise to ask for a diagram that shows where the seams will go. Craigslist has a list of carpet installers, buy many larger cities have a Carpet Layers Union that you can call to get professional help and advice. You can also contact CFI ( to locate a qualified installer near you.


Carpet seams are often considered to be the weakest link in any carpet installation. It is important to not have seams located in major walkways, in front of couches and in areas with chairs (as in the dining room) if at all possible. Carpet seam placements can often be strategically moved away from common walkways, major thoroughfares and near furniture to limit the amount of carpet wear and tear created over time. 


Sometimes carpet seams cannot be placed in the best case scenario. There are only so many options to choose from. Discuss your carpet seam placements with whoever is measuring your home. Ask for a diagram and discuss all options. If they refuse to give you a diagram, or discuss where the seams will be placed, then I suggest you buy from another carpet or flooring dealer. Always get everything you want in writing. Never rely on the promised word or handshake of any salesperson, not just a carpet salesperson. All salespeople! 


Be sure to ask for a simple diagram showing the seam placements that mater to you.  You can also ask about various installation options you may consider such as: types and colors of of doorway transitions available, best nap direction, custom stair and upholstering options, etc. 






Advice from an Experienced Carpet Installer


You can learn a lot from a seasoned carpet installer. Their knowledge and experience differs greatly from most retail carpet salespeople. Why? Carpet installers have years of hands-on experience with all types of carpet in many applications. Many carpet installers with more than 20 years of experience, know a lot about the durability and longevity of various types and styles of carpet. 


On the other hand, many retail carpet salespeople obtain their product knowledge from manufacturer brochures and from reading flooring trade publications. They often lack sufficient hands-on experience to advise homeowners and are better trained at closing the sale then they are able to provide accurate and useful carpet and flooring product information and advice. You can also learn how to measure for carpet yourself. 




Proper Carpet Care and Maintenance


Make sure you get and read a complete copy of the manufacturers carpet warranty and follow the care and maintenance suggestions to the letter. Pay close attention to the periodic carpet cleaning required and accurate record keeping requirements. Many carpet manufacturers warranties are available for download online.



How often should I have my carpets cleaned?     Carpet Cleaning Cost





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Carpet Measuring Scams, how to measure for carpet, carpet measuring, bad carpet measures, Accurate carpet measurements. How an inexperienced carpet salesperson can over-measure your home and end up charging you hundreds more than necessary!




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