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"How To Choose New Carpet Like a Pro"

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By Alan Fletcher - 30 Yr Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate



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Should I Clean or Replace

My Old Carpet?


Some Carpets are designed to last for less than 5 years. Some carpets are designed to last for 25 years, but sooner or later your Carpet will have outlived its usefulness and should be replaced. 


Maybe it is just worn out or maybe it is harboring years of dirt, grime, mold and mildew hiding deep down in the pile where it can't be reached by any carpet cleaning process.


Perhaps you are getting tired of looking at your old carpet and want to spruce up the place a bit. Either way you might want to consider both sides of this question carefully because choosing new carpet wisely is a costly and time-consuming adventure.


Below is my Carpet Replacement Quiz to help you determine if your old Carpet is still worthy of another Professional Carpet Cleaning or if it’s finally time to Replace My Old Carpet.


Carpet Cleaning or Replacement Quiz

1. Is Your Carpet Matting Down?


One of the first signs of permanent carpet damage is when the pile starts to mat down in the main traffic lanes, walkways and stairs. If your carpet is made of P.E.T. or Polyester and is matting down, then your carpet may be quickly on its way out. 


Polyester fibers are well-known for matting down and crushing because polyester is not a resilient fiber. Once the tuft falls over and lays down it will never return to its original upright position. In this situation, having your carpet professionally cleaned will not give your carpet any increased or renewed lifespan.  


However, if your carpet is made from Nylon or Sorona® then you may be able to remedy the problem of matting with a Professional Cleaning. Nylon is well-known as the most resilient carpet fiber because it has the ability to regain its like-new appearance after a good cleaning. 


Sorona®, also known as Smartstrand®, PTT or Triexta is more resilient than polyester and can possibly regain some of its like-new appearance after a professional cleaning. Check out my free Carpet Cleaning Service Directory


2. Do You Have a Looped Berber Carpet?

If you have a looped Berber carpet made from Olefin and the once upright loops are now laying down flat as a pancake then it’s likely that your old carpet has seen better days. While Olefin is a very durable fiber, it is not very resilient and therefore prone to matting. Olefin is cheap to manufacture and is inherently oily by nature; it tends to attract dirt and is hard to keep clean. Many homeowners report that oily spots or stains reappear soon after being cleaned.


If your Berber carpet is made from Olefin and is more than three years old, is matted down and looking dingy; spending money on professional cleaning may not yield beneficial results. It may be time to consider replacing your carpet.


Berber styles made from Nylon are much more desirable because they resist matting, are stain resistant and have a much longer lifespan. The only downside is the cost because Nylon is much more expensive to manufacture than Olefin.


Expect to pay $20 to $40 per yard for a good quality nylon Berber carpet. If your Berber carpet is less than 10 years old and is made from Nylon, a professional cleaning can easily rejuvenate your carpet and provide you with many more years of service.



3. Is Your Carpet Permanently Stained?

No carpet is stain proof and even the most expensive carpets can be ruined by staining. Berber styles made of Olefin can attract dirt and are more prone to staining than nylon styles. 


Anti-Stain Treatments


Berber Carpet Stain All carpets sold today have some form of anti-stain treatment either applied or infused. All topically applied anti-stain treatments can wash off or wear off over time. 


Here is a Carpet Style Chart to determine what type of fiber your carpet is made from and what anti-stain solution has been applied.


Shaw carpets use the R2X® topically applied solution. Scotchgard® is a well known anti-stain treatment product that is topically applied and can be reapplied as necessary.  Most carpet cleaning companies provide this service for a nominal fee. Stainmaster® carpets and any carpet made with Antron's Nylon 6.6 fiber has a topically applied solution called Duratech® that does not wash or wear off as easily.


Professional carpet cleaners can remove most household stains but in some cases there is little hope. Carpet manufacturers have a list of certain types of stains that are not covered under their warranty including mustard, teas, bleaches, acne medications, plant fertilizers, drain cleaners, and plant food - to name a few.


If your carpet has permanent stains or damage caused from vomit, urine, feces, mold, mildew or other biological substances then your carpet may be a health hazard and should be replaced. Consult with a professional carpet cleaner if you need an expert opinion or advice.



4. Is Your Carpet More Than 10 Years Old?

Most carpet and padding sold today is designed to last about 10 years. This is considered to be a medium grade or quality level that most homeowners select. Prices range from $30 to $45 per square yard installed with a good quality Rebond type pad.


If your existing carpet is more than 10 years old and you have issues like ripples or wrinkles, color loss or fading, matting or crushing of the pile or a lack of padding support in halls, main walkways and on stairs then your carpet and padding may be at the end of its intended lifespan.


Lower quality carpet may reveal these end-of-life warning signs much sooner and spending hundreds having your carpet professionally cleaned won’t bring a worn out carpet or padding back to life.

5. Is Your Carpet Padding Worn Out?

When you buy carpet it is very important that you buy the correct padding to go under it. Padding is considered the heartbeat of your carpet and once it fails to provide enough support your carpet will start to wear out much faster. So when you are ready to buy new carpet, be sure to choose a good quality padding that is able to provide sufficient support and has a lifespan equal to the grade of carpet you select.


If you find that your existing padding is worn out and your old carpet still looks like new, you might be able to just replace the padding to give your old carpet several more years of added life. This is not a common thing to do and you should ask your professional carpet cleaner if this might be a viable option for you.


Why Hire a Certified Carpet Cleaner?


Not all carpet cleaning companies are created equal. Some are definitely more reputable than others and homeowners need to be careful who they hire. Costs can vary greatly and hiring the company with the lowest price may not be the smartest way to go. Watch out for companies that have low-cost specials that sound too good to be true. 



How Much Does Carpet Cleaning Cost?


You don't want to hire an inexperienced carpet cleaner that will soak your carpets and do a lousy job. Hiring a Certified Carpet Cleaning Company will ensure you get the job done right and get a fair and square deal.


There are several well known non-profit organizations that establish and maintain industry standards. Reputable carpet dealers receive ongoing education and training, earn certification and agree to follow honest business practices; use top quality cleaning products and equipment and follow a published code of ethics. You never want to hire a fly-by-night carpet cleaner!


The two organizations I trust are:

  • The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)

  • The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)


seal of approval These are their seals of approval you should look for when looking for a reputable carpet cleaning company. There are other several other organizations that train and certify technicians.


There are several types of carpet cleaning systems available and choosing the right process for your type of carpet is very important. Most carpet cleaning companies use a truck mounted machine that uses a steam cleaning process also known as "hot water extraction".


Dry carpet cleaning method -  Bonnet styleFor Berbers made of Olefin, you never want to get Berber carpet too wet, so using a low-moisture cleaning process would be a smart way to go. 


Wool carpets should only be cleaned by a reputable company that specializes in cleaning wool carpets. Contact your professional carpet cleaner for more information and carpet cleaning advice.



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