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Common Carpet Buying Questions and Answers

By Alan Fletcher - 30-year Carpet Expert and Trusted Consumer Advocate


Q. Carpet Shedding and Fuzzing


I vacuum a lot. And out of the 2 months I've got about 10 bags of carpet FUZZ filled in my vacuum bags when changing. The store says it is because it is a heavy nylon carpet and will stop fuzzing in a couple of more months. I paid a lot of money for this home improvement. What's up with this?


Alan's Answer:

You bought a nylon carpet made from staple fibers, these are short pieces of nylon, about 8 inches long. Better quality carpets are made of a continuous filament nylon, one long extruded strand. These carpets are labeled CF or BCF for "Continuous Filament". Yes, you will be vacuuming up fibers for awhile, but it will subside eventually, up to a year. You should have been told in advance that you were buying a carpet made with a  Staple Fiber  and that you would be seeing a lot of loose fuzz. 



Q. How to know if you're getting a good deal on carpet? 


Alan's Answer:

You wouldn't. There is no carpet blue book and there are literally thousands of carpet styles and colors and they are constantly changing everyday. There are no carpet magazines that have a list of current carpet styles and colors that I am aware of. The carpet you buy today may not be available tomorrow! 


This website offers the best and most complete information to help consumers obtain a square deal on carpet. Until now, all carpet buying consumers could hope to do was to shop around from one store to another to hopefully find another similar or identical products to be able to compare prices. It is very time consuming and not easy to compare by any means. I have tried to help by providing unbiased carpet information and make a short list of flooring dealers that I believe are honest and reputable. 


Learn more Before You Buy New Carpet Checklist



Q. What about offers for Free Carpet Padding or Installation?


Alan's Answer: 

Its easy to fall for those "FREE" carpet sales gimmicks! It is very common for carpet retailers to "hide" the cost of those FREE  items in the price you pay for the carpet or other add-ons and upgrades. Make no mistake, they know if they can lure you into their store, then they'll have a good chance to convince you to buy carpet from them... Beware, you can spend hundreds more than you need to.... You can get a good deal on carpet but you need to watch out for sneaky carpet sales scams!



Q. What about retailers who claim to have Wholesale Prices?


Alan's Answer:

Carpet retailers have to make a reasonable profit because they have a building to maintain, lots of overhead, and employees to pay. They may carry second-quality goods at prices at lower than normal, but still they have to make at least a 40% markup on all their products in order to survive. Carpet dealers can often get great deals on rolls of carpet from the mill. These discounted rolls of carpet may be over-stock, factory-seconds, off-color, roll ends or discontinued goods. If you buy some of these items, you can get a good deal as long as you know exactly what it is you are buying. 


All the signs, banners and other advertising gimmicks you see and hear about are used to lure you into their store. Once inside, they will use every trick in the book to get you to select one of their products and buy from them. Some carpet dealers are reputable and some are not. 


Should I Buy Carpet from Home Depot, Costco, Empire or Lowe's?



Everyone wants to buy a soft carpet


Many retail carpet salespeople will ask you to feel how soft the carpet is with your hand. They may suggest you dig your fingers into the pile. To feel how thick and luxurious it is! Perhaps they will have you walk on a swatch of carpet with a square piece of pad underneath it to show you how soft it feels underfoot. 


These common sales techniques are just like the test drive at the car dealership. If they can get you to imagine in your mind how great the carpet would look and feel in your home then they know you will buy it. You need to check out some carpet samples and take them home for a few days! This will give you the opportunity to compare and consider all options!


How a carpet feels and looks when it is new has absolutely no bearing on whether or not it is a quality product, if it will last, if it will clean easily, and especially if it is the right carpet for you! This is exactly why I created this website.


  • Be very cautious, a soft carpet is not always the most durable carpet.

  • Do your homework, and learn about carpet fibers.

  • Don't fall for sales gimmicks and don't buy under sales pressure!

  • Don't be pressured into buying right now, take some samples home for a few days!



Q. Installing Baseboards Up Off The Floor?


We are remodeling our house and will be installing carpeting in the bedrooms over hardwood floors.  Should the baseboards be installed on top of the new carpet, or installed 1/2 off the floor prior to installation of new carpet? I have been given conflicting advice on this subject so am not sure which installation to go with.  


One installer mentioned that it was better to have the baseboards flush with the floor so create a better seal and not allow air and dust to come up from under the house and prevent that dark edging that can occur around the perimeter of the room.


Alan's Answer:

You could go either way, but I think installing the baseboards 1/2" off the floor, prior to carpet installation, is the best way to go. If there is a gap (to prevent dust and airflow) it needs to be sealed first using some sealant or caulking. The tack-strip can then be installed after the baseboards are installed and be placed in the proper position, in front of the molding for proper carpet installation. Do all interior painting at least a week prior to installing new carpet and plan on doing a little touch-up on the baseboards afterwards.



Q. Are Carpet Specifications important?


We are shopping at Home Depot for carpet and noticed the weight, density and twist is listed on the back of each sample. Other carpet stores in the area don't list that information on their samples which makes it difficult to compare. How do I handle this and is that information critical to the carpet purchase?


Alan's Answer:

Some stores show the carpet specifics on the back of their samples and some don't. Those that don't are hoping you won't ask. Would you buy a car without knowing what engine size it was? Of course not. So why buy carpet from a dealer that wants to keep you in the dark. I'd simply say, if you want my business I need to know the numbers, if you can't or won't provide them I will take my business elsewhere. 


Carpet Fibers - What Consumers Need to Know



The Tuft Twist count is very critical. Defined as the number of twists each tuft has per inch, the more twists, the longer your carpet will look like new.  A 5 to 7 Tuft Twist is good, less than 5 and your carpet will mat down faster. You need enough fiber face- weight if you want your carpet to look good for years to come. Frieze styles usually have the highest Tuft Twist Ratings of 6 or more.


Pile Density, or how thick the pile is, is super important too. The more tufts per square inch the thicker the carpet. In a nutshell, if you can easily find the backing through the pile the density is low. If you have to work hard to separate the tufts to be able to see the backing, then the density is higher. With low quality carpets you can almost see the carpet backing without spreading the tufts apart with your fingers. 


Dense carpets don't crush as easily like the grass on a putting green. A thick and dense pile works well and it provides good support and resists matting and crushing of the pile.  


Learn more about Carpet Specifications




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