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Carpet Questions & Answers 7


Q. Best carpet choice for kids, pets and heavy foot traffic?

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.



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?



Q. Best Padding for Carpet Over Cement Slab?

Will most homeowners be happy with a 6 lb density pad when installing carpet over a cement slab or should the padding be a heavier weight? We have been told that the 6 lb is top quality and would be fine over the cement.


Carpet Professor's Answer:

6-pound density is the absolute minimum I would use in your situation. 8-pound density padding is better for carpet support, which can help your carpet last longer, provides a higher Rh factor to help keep the room warmer, as well as better noise reduction. It’s not much more money to switch from a 6-pound to 8-pound density, maybe $1.50 to 3.00 more per sq. yard.



Q. Best Carpet for Elderly with Wheelchairs or Walkers?

I have a little boy in a wheelchair, the carpet in our home needs replaced bad. It is around 20 years old. I find it difficult to push my son’s wheelchair sometimes due to carpet. Our son has spastic cerebral palsy and he has trouble walking with his walker due to carpet. What do you suggest? Under the carpet is particleboard and padding. I even thought about installing hardwood floors. But we are on a fixed income so what do you suggest?


Carpet Professor's Answer: 

You should consider a commercial-grade "level loop" or "cut pile" carpet, no pad, just carpet glued directly to the floor. It’s not very soft underfoot but is easy to clean, durable and is easy to push a wheelchair around too. The price is reasonable, you could get it all done for about $10-15 per yard installed for a 20 to 28 ounce level-loop single-color commercial carpet.


Q. What Type of Carpet Padding Do I Have?

I am in the process of having a house built and specified a number of upgrades including 8 LB pad. Unfortunately, many of the upgrades were missed during construction and I had to identify the errors. I am now wondering if the pad installed under the carpet is the 8 LB that I specified. I have a sample that I retrieved from the left over Rebond pad scraps. Is there an easy way to determine if the pad used is 8 LB versus 6 LB Rebond pad?


Carpet Professor's Answer:

While there is a mathematical formula that pad manufacturers use for determining the density of carpet pad, determining the pad density of a particular padding can very difficult for consumers to calculate accurately without having something similar to compare it to. With a pad sample in hand, you could visit a local carpet retailer and take a look at their in-stock 6 and 8 pound pad samples. 


A visit to Home Depot or Lowe’s would do nicely. They have various rolls of pad displayed down their carpet isles that you could use for simple comparison purposes. The pressure or resistance you observe when you squeeze padding between your thumb and index finger best determines density values. A 6-pound pad is easier to flatten than is an 8 pound pad and the difference will be noticeable. 


Remember, density is not the same as thickness. All padding comes in many thickness, from 1/4" to 9/16". Thickness has nothing to do with density. Not all carpet pad is created equal. Often retailers will say it is 8 pound when it is actually 6 or 7 pound. Some so-called 6-pound padding is really only 5.5 pound density. It is a tough world out there. Even if a full roll of pad is clearly marked on the packaging that it is 8 pound, it may not truly be. 


There are a lot of scams and deception in the world of carpet padding. The old "bait and switch" trick is one of the most common. They know most consumers won't know the difference between a 6 pound pad and an 8 pound pad, or a 3/8" thick pad verses a 1/2" thick pad.



Q. Is Textured Carpet More Durable Than Plush?

Our question is this: we have hallway and stair areas, and bedrooms to re-carpet. We like a Saxony (about 60 oz, high quality) but our understanding is that it would be best not to use this on stairs and halls? Is this right? We don't like frieze or loop construction. Would a Textured Saxony style  carpet be better than plush style carpet for the stairs and hallways?


Carpet Professor's Answer:

The main difference is appearance, not durability. A textured-style will hide vacuum marks and footprints better than a plush-style. A good-quality Textured Saxony or Plush Style carpet would be fine on stairs and hallways, but I would suggest using an 8-pound pad for better support, and a thickness of 7/16" or less. 


There is not a big difference between Plush and a Textured Saxony when installed on stairs, the key to longevity is proper installation, choosing the correct padding and performing required care and maintenance. There is usually no manufacturer's warranty provided for carpet installed on stairs.



Q. Is Mohawk's Child-Proof Carpet Worth Buying?

I purchased a Mohawk child-proof carpet 3 years ago that was advertised as can even spill bleach on. Yes, you can spill bleach, but the carpet looks disgusting even after 2 months. It has just flattened out and the dirt lays on the top, a carpet cleaner said the fibers have broken and cannot be cleaned. I am looking to replace and was hoping for a suggestion for steps and bedroom. I do like light colors. I see you say nylon is best so I will go that route. Also, now that I live here, my bedrooms have large beds and furniture. How do I replace the carpets now? It would be impossible to the move the king-size bed out.

Carpet Professor's Answer:

I have heard more horror stories about Mohawk's "Child Proof" carpet than any other specialized carpet style. When you take a close look at most carpet warranties, you will find that they typically don't cover things like matting and crushing, which you seem to be victim of.


Now that you are once again in the market for carpet for your stairs and bedroom, you have to ask yourself some questions. Namely, how long do you want this carpet to last and how much are you willing to spend? 


Stairs take more of a beating than bedroom carpets do, so if you want to use the same carpet in both areas, you need to buy a carpet that will do well on the stairs, or buy a cheaper carpet and order enough extra carpet to be able to replace the carpet on the stairs again in 3 to 5 years.


Yes, Nylon is the most durable fiber, hands down. It will wear longer and look like-new longer than any other synthetic fiber. But you still need to choose a carpet with specifications designed to tolerate the wear and tear that your stairs require or you will be replacing the stair carpet too soon. In light of this fact, I suggest you take a look at Frieze styles, and cut Berber styles as an option. 


Cut Berber is not a looped carpet like a typical looped Berber, but is a style that has a speckled appearance that looks like a Berber but has characteristics of a Plush or Saxony. A cut-Berber with a good tuft twist will do very well on stairs as long as you use the right pad, and have the carpet installed correctly, as would a good quality Frieze style. Again Nylon is the fiber of choice, even though it costs a bit more…and Olefin or Polyester fibers are definitely out of the question if you are looking for long-term wear. 



Q. Installing New Carpet On My Hollywood Stairs?

Your web-site is very helpful in my carpet search. I live in a condo with open (floating) steps leading to a loft. How do I know if the installers will install properly? I know that this is not too common. What questions should I ask the salesman about carpet installation on these steps? I am considering Masland Toccare (nylon cut and loop) for these steps and the whole condo where I live. I have another set of steps that enter from the ground floor up to the main floor of the condo so I need something that will wear well as this is the entrance from the outside into my home. The padding suggested was a 3/8" #10 pad. I wanted to use the same carpet throughout the whole two-bedroom condo. 


Carpet Professor's Answer:
Buying from a reputable carpet dealer is most important. Your stairs are called "Hollywood" stairs and require installation by a well-experienced installer. The usual charge is $10 to $15 per stair to install them. If they send out an installer without experience with this type of stairs, then you may not get the installation you deserve. 


You may not be able to determine yourself if your stairs are installed correctly unless you see that they are unsightly or loosely installed. Trust your instincts, if the installer fumbles around and takes a long time to install them, then perhaps he is not trained to install this type of stair. Ask him if he is experienced in doing this type of stair.


You need to be firm with the carpet salesperson when discussing these type of stairs. Let them know your concerns about having them installed improperly. Let them know you will have them back re-do the stairs if you are not satisfied. The padding specifications they suggested are acceptable. 


For added softness underfoot you could opt for a 7/16" thick, 8-pound padding. It still meets the Masland warranty guidelines, it will feel softer underfoot and still have the required support for your carpet. I think you might like my padding suggestion better and the cost should be comparable. 



More Q & A...


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