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Carpet Questions & Answers 8


Carpet Grade vs. Carpet Quality?

How do I know what grade or quality of carpet to buy? Which grade is right for you? That's the $64 question. It is all about quality. What matters is the materials they use to manufacture carpet and the process they use to put it all together. From the top down, the fiber you select, the amount of fiber is called the face-weight. More fiber also means more pile density, and the pile thickness helps determine the level of durability. 


Then there is the backing system. This is how is your carpet held together. They use latex to bond the backing mesh to the carpet fabric. Some backing systems have a secondary backing that increases the carpet stability and helps prevent wrinkles. It also makes it heavier and more difficult to handle for installers.


Choose too low a grade and your carpet will wear out too fast. Choose too high and you will spend way more than you need to. Little red riding hood comes to mind because you want to choose the grade of carpet that is Just Right!


You need to know how to choose the carpet grade that is just right for your needs, goals, lifestyle and budget. Sounds easy but it's not. Where to start? What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?


Are Soft Nylon Styles a Wise Choice for Heavy Traffic?
We just bought a house and need to re-carpet. We've got a quote from Lowe's for a Mohawk carpet, 53-oz face-weight, 6.5 tuft twist, BCF,100% Lisse® nylon, "textured" style carpet.  We like it but I have been rethinking it because I'm not sure it is dense enough.


This carpet is for our entire upstairs, two bedrooms, one office and the main stair well.  It's only the two of us, but I want to make sure we are making a good investment. 


Does this carpet sound like a wise choice? Would you advise something more dense? We checked out a more dense carpet made by Pacific Coast (I think) and it would be $500 more for the same amount. I just don't know if the higher density justifies the added cost. Let me know what you think!


Alan's Answer:
Your carpet selection basically seems fine to me based on what limited carpet info you have told me. 53 ounces is a good carpet face-weight. But you didn't say how much the carpet cost per yard or what carpet pad you selected and how much that will cost, or the density ratings of the carpet or padding.


The soft nylon carpet you are considering might be a good selection for your needs and lifestyle, but without knowing all the specifications I can't say for sure. Lisse' is one of the "soft" nylon styles and is more expensive than a standard nylon carpet because it feels more soft to the touch.  




Best Carpet and Pad For Growing Family?

I am a new homebuyer. I would like carpet throughout a majority of my home (including the stairs). My family (which includes a 2.5 year old and a newborn) walks around barefoot all day everyday. So we would like our carpet to be as soft as possible, but also very stain-resistant as well. Can you please help me figure out the best carpet and carpet pad for my situation? I would like the carpet to last 10-15 years and I am willing to spend up to $30/yd. please help!



You really do need help because you are asking a lot and have a limited budget. As far as selecting the right carpet, there are a few good carpet choices that are within your price range that I discuss in detail. You must buy a durable carpet if you want it to last and you must follow my care and maintenance advice to the letter, but that's only the first step in my five point plan to be sure you get the whole carpet job done right, including carpet selection, correct padding, professional installation and a good price. 




Best Carpet Choice for Upstairs?

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 30oz. face weight and give a quote of $4000 dollars and the shop-at-home carpet company quote $3,750.00 with w/60 ounce Face-Weight.  Looking forward to hearing back from you.




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, but it should still have good specifications, hopefully more than 30-ounce face-weight and good pile-density rating.



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