Carpet Professor,

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Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert / Consumer Advocate - Retired after 30 years, do not sell or install carpet.



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Q. 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 that living room. My biggest problem is the traffic marks from the front door, across the living room and down the hallway to the bedrooms. This gets dirty fast. Any help would be appreciated.



You have a common dilemma, too much foot traffic that few carpets can tolerate. You have several carpet options that could work well for you, but you first need to decide how long you want your new carpet to last, and then learn what grade of carpet you need to select that is capable to withstand your high level of foot traffic and all your family members. You need to choose a carpet made from Nylon, as it is the most durable fiber. Learn about Carpet Fibers


A textured plush style would be my first suggestion for you. Choosing a low pile-height of 1/2" or less would help make it more durable and easier to clean. Check out my Carpet Durability Guide Chart to see how your carpet selection would rated.



Q. I have read that the new PET fiber is even more stain resistant than nylon. Your web site indicated PET is the worst. Why is this?



Whether or not PET polyester is more stain resistant than Nylon is not the issue, it is that P.E.T. Polyester carpets mat down quickly and have poor resiliency. That means that your new PET polyester carpet will not retain a new appearance very long. Even after a good cleaning it will still be matted down and ugly.



Q. Does this price range sound reasonable?

I am installing a DriCore subfloor 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 declawed (front & back) cat. I have been looking for a good quality frieze carpet to put over the Subfloor.  



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. 


How much does carpet cost?



Nylon Carpet Test?


Is there a simple test to see if a carpet is made from Nylon or Polyester?


All fibers used to make carpet have different melting points, and there are burn tests that can be performed to determine what fiber it is. I don't advise consumers to perform these tests, but they can be found on the internet by doing a simple web search. 


What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?



Stinky Carpet?


I’ve just installed Mohawk wall-to-wall carpet throughout my home. I do not have the paperwork with me as I write this, but I remember it is a new type of carpet that resists pet problems more than any other type, and the pad is the standard type. The problem is a very strong odor has developed within 2 days of the install. The odor resembles if someone left wet towels piled up. Every room smells and it seems to be getting stronger every day. Now 5 days later, we have moved to a motel while the carpet people contact a rep from Mohawk and determine what the problem may be. They say they have never experienced this. Any ideas?



One of my most important rule for consumers for making a major purchase, (car, appliance, carpet) is to never buy a product that has just been released to the public. I always wait until all the bugs have been ironed out and make sure that the product has stood the test of time. In this case, it sounds like you have purchased Mohawk's newly released Odor Eaters Carpet. Now, while I do not know what the smell is, I would be willing to make an educated guess that it has something to do with a reaction between the processing chemicals, and the type of padding you have used. I am very interested in knowing what the carpet rep has to say. 


Learn about Carpet Styles



Carpet Installation / Power Stretchers

I got your ebook and it and this website have been very helpful. Based on your book, I even developed my on 45-question worksheet for each and every carpet company I talk to. 


It’s been a real education. As more anecdotal evidence of why it’s absolutely necessary to get two bids, I called one guy who was listed under carpet layers in the phone book. 


He said they also like to sell carpet and came out to the house to measure. He then tried the lump sum pricing, which I asked him to break down. He did so reluctantly, giving me the carpet price and the pad price, and saying everything else was installation. 


It worked out that installation was about $17 a sq. yard. Yikes. I went to another company and without having him to the house asked about installation - $3.50/sq. yard + $1.50 for removal, a bit more for stairs and $2/ft for transition metal (of which we have maybe 20 feet), working out to about $5.50 sq. ft. 


I called a carpet installation company and their pricing was similar to the second company. Amazing.

Another anecdote - you don't recommend Berber for pets. We bought a remnant for our dog to sleep on. Within a day he'd put a run in it. Not surprisingly, we decided against doing Berber.

Anyway, now to the question. In your book and on your site, you strongly recommend a power stretcher. 


All three companies say they'll use if it needed, but, as a general rule won't for residential work unless there's a 50-foot room. 


For a smaller room, it doesn't provide as much flexibility in angling (one company showed us a picture and trade article). Any response for these guys?




Yes! I have two words for these guys. No thanks! No respectable carpet installer would ever say that a power stretcher should only be used in a 50-foot room. It's one thing to say that a small closet may be "kicked in" with a knee kicker, but every consumer should know the facts. 


Using a power stretcher is required in order to have your carpet installed properly. Unless you want your new carpet to develop wrinkles within 1 to 3 years, you must insist that a power stretcher be used in every room of your home. 


"If these installers won't use a power stretcher then you should hire a carpet installer who will.   


Learn more: Carpet Comparison


Learn more about How to Verify a Contractor's License 

Regarding Specialty Pads and Other Reinvented Products


Every year I see and hear about problem-solving products that the carpet and padding manufacturers come up with. As the next year rolls around, many of those so-called new and improved products from the previous year have vanished from the marketplace. These are just gimmicks to get you to pay more. 



My New Product Rule:  


I never buy a new untried and untested product. This goes for cars, appliances, electronics, and carpet / padding. 


I usually wait at least three years to make sure that the product is worthwhile and all the manufacturing bugs are worked out. 


This rule applies to Mohawk's Forever Fresh pad and the new Odor Eating padding products too. 


I just received an email from an attorney yesterday who has been forced to move into a motel because their newly installed Odor Eating Carpet has a horrible smell they just can't tolerate. 


My advice? Don't be tempted to spend more on a newly released product just because the salesperson suggests it. 


Many of the newfangled products I find will just cost you more money and likely not provide you with any measurable benefit for your investment.


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