How To Choose New Flooring Like A Pro!
Carpet | Vinyl Tile & Plank | Hardwood | Local Stores
(Free Information by Consumer Advocate - No Flooring Sales)
Everyone Wants Soft Carpet!
And it must be durable, pet friendly, resist stains and last a long time!
Choosing the right grade of carpet is not as easy as it once was. Today there are dozens of different styles, grades and quality levels to choose from.
Why do some Carpets last longer than others? Understanding carpet specifications is the secret to choosing new carpet like a pro! Carpet durability is based mainly upon the raw materials they use in the manufacturing process.
Choosing the Right Carpet Fiber
The type of fiber you choose is the most critical factor when choosing new carpet. Which carpet fiber would be a perfect choice for your home? Choosing the right fiber is the first decision you need to make.
Nylon is the most durable synthetic fiber available today. The two most popular nylon fibers are Anso 6.0 and Antron 6.6. Nylon resists stains and cleans easily but is not as soft as Sorona or Polyester. Nylon is the most costly of all synthetic fibers and is only fiber that can be color dyed. $$$
Soft Nylon - The popular "soft" nylon carpet styles are created by extruding the fiber strand thinner to make it feel softer. A thinner strand is not as strong which makes the style a bit less durable than a standard nylon. Designed to be a less costly option over wool. $$$$
Sorona / PTT (aka Triexta or Smartstrand by Mohawk) is best known for its softness and stain resistance. Originally invented in the 1940's it was made available in the marketplace in year 2000. Not as durable as nylon. $$$
Polyester and PET is a less costly option but tends to mat down quickly in medium to heavy traffic applications, especially along main walkways, busy thoroughfares like hallways and stairs. Polyester is very soft and stain resistant, but not as durable as Sorona. $$
Olefin (aka Polypropylene) is a very strong fiber and is commonly used for inexpensive looped Berber styles, outdoor grass and level-loop or cut-pile commercial grade carpets. It's also great for damp pool areas, basements and patios because it is moisture resistant. $$
Wool is the most costly of all fibers easily topping $100 per square yard. It is naturally soft and durable fiber. It is more costly to install and maintain too, but is well known for it's elegance and ability to last a lifetime. Learn more about the Pros and Cons of Wool Carpeting. $$$$$
Too Many Homeowners...
You should never rely solely on any one salesperson to make all your carpet and padding choices for you. If your new carpet does not perform as expected, you cannot go back and blame the salesperson for giving you bad or misleading advice. You should do your carpet homework before you begin shopping for new carpet.
How Much Foot-Traffic Do You Have?
Your answers to these two questions will help determine what grade of carpet you need to select to meet your needs, goals and lifestyle. Most families with kids and pets have heavy foot-traffic in their home. You need to choose a carpet designed to tolerate your level of foot traffic. To choose the right carpet for your needs, you first need to determine...
1. What is the level of foot traffic you have in your home?
2. How long you want your new carpet to last?
Carpet cost, quality, durability and longevity are all inter-connected. Combine that with your own unique level of foot traffic and you can see how choosing the right carpet can become complicated. To avoid choosing the wrong grade of carpet, start by taking my free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test. It is a simple 6-question test to help you learn how to choose new carpet like a pro.
How Much Does Carpet Cost?
If you haven't checked carpet prices lately, you'll be shocked when you see the current prices for good quality carpet and padding. Ten years ago, a medium quality carpet, with pad and installation, used to run about $35 a square yard. Now that same quality is over $50. A medium-grade Carpet for a typical 2 bedroom home now averages $5700 with pad and installation. You can expect it to last 8 to 12 years depending on your fiber choice and level of foot traffic. Nylon Carpet Cost vs. Longevity
Choosing the Right Grade of Carpet?
It's not like it was 50 years ago when choices were very limited and most carpets were made to last at least 20 years. Today there are thousands of different grades, styles and quality levels to choose from. The trick is knowing which grade will be the best choice for your home. Some carpets are designed to wear out in less than 5 years, some are designed to take a beating and last for 20 years or more. Use my free Carpet Durability Guide Chart to help narrow down your choices.
What are Carpet Remnants?
Most carpet comes in rolls that are 12 feet wide and up to 100 feet in length. A carpet remnant is an amount of carpet that is less than a full roll. When part of the roll has been sold it leaves a balance still available for purchase, this is either called a carpet Remnant, Roll Balance or a Roll End.
Few homeowners know that they can enjoy new carpet at a fraction of the typical cost for new carpet. The trick is knowing how to choose carpet remnants wisely. How To Choose Carpet Remnants Wisely
Padding Types and Prices
A decent 6-pound Rebond Pad used to cost about $3 a yard. Now it's at least $5. Most carpet makers now recommend using 8-pound density padding. This link shows the various types of carpet padding, current prices and which pad might be the best choice for your home. Carpet Padding Cost, Options and Upgrades Explained
You rarely see it, but carpet padding does a very important job. It is the shock-absorber for your carpet. It helps reduce the damaging effects of abrasion. It's real easy to select the wrong grade, type, thickness or density of pad. Most people trust the salesperson to select the right pad. This can spell disaster if you are ill-advised.
The carpet you select has minimum padding specifications required by the carpet manufacturer, including type, thickness and density. Choose the wrong pad and you can instantly void your new carpet warranty. You don't want your padding to wear out before your carpet does. It would be wise to invest in a good quality pad that can easily outlive the lifespan of your carpet. Learn more about Choosing the Right Pad.
Unnecessary Padding Upgrades?
With most residential carpet styles, a standard Rebond pad will usually be more than sufficient. Don't be easily swayed by a salesperson who says you need to spend more for an upgraded pad or Specialized Carpet Pad unless the carpet manufacturer requires it.
Carpet Installation - Fees and Charges
Carpet Installation - This is one area where you should never skimp! Not long ago, it was common to pay $4 to $5 per square yard for qualified carpet installation. Installation alone for a typical 2-bedroom home used to be about $500. Today you can expect to pay closer to $800 or more depending on the layout of your home, where you live and the grade and style of carpet you select.
Finding a qualified carpet installer is getting harder to do because there is a shortage of experienced flooring installers nationwide. I suggest buying carpet from a reputable locally-owned flooring store who have their own "in-house" installation crews. You simply pay the dealer for the carpet, pad and installation. It's easy and much safer than hiring an independent installer.
Carpet at Home Depot or Lowe's?
Don't Fall For Misleading TV Commercials offering new carpet and installation at ridiculously low prices! If the price sounds too good to be true... Well, you know. Wouldn't it be great if everyone could quickly spot and avoid common retail Carpet Scams and know how to make wise and informed Carpet Choices? That's my goal. Learn more about Free Carpet Installation
Q. Should I Buy Carpet from Home Depot, Costco, Empire or Lowe's?
Avoid Pushy Salespeople
Unscrupulous carpet retailers often hire salespeople who will say or do just about anything to convince you to buy from them right now! Many of these salespeople know very little about carpet or the products they sell. They are hired because they are good at closing the sale. That means they won't take NO for an answer and keep pressuring you until you agree to buy today.
This is yet another reason why I've compiled my own Special List of locally-owned carpet and flooring stores to recommend to my readers. They have helpful, knowledgeable salespeople, do accurate measuring and provide qualified installers to get the job done right the first time. Don't let obnoxious strong-arm salespeople push you around!
Not quite sure if the salesperson's measurements are accurate? It is always wise to get at least three estimates from local carpet stores. Then you can compare prices and measurements side by side and make wise and informed choices. Learn How to Measure for Carpet Yourself!
Carpet Durability Guide
This guide will help you determine the level of durability of any carpet you are considering, based on the manufacturers specifications.
(Click on the image to view or print)
Stainmaster® Brand Update
The Stainmaster brand, well-known for the Nylon 6.6 fiber's durability and stain resistance, was recently purchased by Lowe's. They don't own the fiber, they just own the Stainmaster brand name. However, the Nylon 6,6 fiber manufactured by Antron® is available at most local carpet stores under a different name.
It's the exact same fiber with all the same benefits, but it just doesn't have the Stainmaster® brand name attached to it. Don't shop for carpet at Lowe's, ask your Local Carpet Store about carpet styles they carry made with the Antron® Nylon 6,6 Fiber.
©2023 Alan Fletcher - All Rights Reserved.
All content is the opinion of the author.