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What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?




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By Alan J Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate


About P.E.T. Polyester Carpet


Q. What are your opinions about this new fiber? I have a very active home (4 inside dogs, 2 kids, traffic, traffic, traffic) and I am considering purchasing this carpet for my living room and hallway. What do you think?




This is not a new fiber at all! P.E.T. (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is Polyester produced from recycled soft drink bottles, and has been available for years. Here is my take on this fiber:

P.E.T. Polyester is a very soft synthetic fiber and is available in many wonderful and bright colors, it  is not very resilient and the carpet pile tends to crush or mat down quickly, often within a year or two. That means in areas where there is medium to heavy foot traffic, like in main traffic lanes, down a hallway or on stairs, polyester/PET carpet will mat down quickly and likely never return to its original shape or appearance. 


In your case, with active kids and pets, I think within six months you would be very unhappy with a P.E.T. or Polyester carpeting.  Do not listen to the advice of carpet sales people who recommend polyester, no matter what they say! 


There is more profit to be made from the sale of Polyester carpet than a Nylon carpet. 


Because polyester carpet is so cheap to manufacture, carpet manufacturers have tried for years to make a durable carpet with polyester, with very limited success. Every year since the 1950's they come up with some newfangled marketing campaign touting a new manufacturing technique that they claim will make polyester a more durable and long-lasting product. It hasn't happened yet and I seriously doubt they ever will. My father was an expert in carpet fibers after 35 years as a carpet mill rep and he warned me about polyester carpet decades ago. From the emails I get every year his warning has been proven accurate. Yes, nylon is more expensive and in some situations, P.E.T. or Polyester might be a wise choice. That is, as long as you know what to expect, and have all the facts. PET or Polyester may be a suitable choice for you in low-traffic applications, or if you need to replace your carpet often, or if you are selling your home soon and need it to show well, or in a spare bedroom with little traffic. It is also important to know how to choose the right carpet with the right specifications. A low pile-height will wear better than a high pile height. Selecting a carpet with less than 3/4" pile height will wear better no matter what type of fiber it is. Also, the more dense the pile the better. The Pile Density Rating and the pile Face-Weight make a big difference in the long run. Of course, a polyester carpet with excellent specifications will cost nearly as much as a good nylon, so you have to be careful and do your homework. Over the years I have found that a low-grade Nylon Carpet will wear better and look like new longer than a high-grade Polyester Carpet. 

For the best results, I recommend you buy Nylon! Nylon carpet is more expensive than polyester, but it will tolerate an incredible amount of abuse. It cleans easily and won't mat down like Polyester. Buy a continuous filament 100% nylon carpet and you will be much happier in the long run! 


Sorona aka Smartstrand or PTT, is another option if you want a carpet that is easy to clean and very stain resistant. It is marketed as Smartstrand by Mohawk. It is a fairly new product but it seems to wear better and resist stains better than Polyester in low to medium traffic applications. I don't recommend Sorona in heavy traffic applications. It's a better choice than Polyester or P.E.T. Polyester if you want your carpet to last longer or be more durable. I don't believe Sorona is as durable as Nylon. See my Recommended Carpet Stores near you.



What Is Carpet Face-Weight?


Does Face-weight have any bearing on the quality of the carpet? How is this gauged?





Face-weight does have bearing on the quality of carpet but not with every type of carpet. Let me explain. Face-weight is the amount of fiber or yarn that is used to make the carpet pile. I am sure that you have seen thin carpets and thick carpets, the thicker the nap (pile) the higher the face-weight. Just because a carpet is thicker doesn't mean it will last longer or wear better. The key to longevity and durability is in the type of fiber you select. Learn about What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?



Installing Carpet on Stairs


I have a question regarding carpet for my indoor stairs (steps). How should I go about completing this job myself?



Installing carpet on stairs is very difficult and easy to make costly mistakes. Putting carpet on stairs will usually require hiring a professional to measure and install. You should contact a qualified carpet installer to help you with this. If you give me more details about what you would like to accomplish, I may be able to give you additional helpful information. Carpet manufacturers do not warranty any carpet installed on stairs. In my Complete Carpet Buying Guide ebook I provide detailed instructions about how to measure your home for carpet including a Stair and Landing Measuring Chart to help you determine about how much carpet you need to buy. Learn more about Carpet Installation Cost



Should I Choose a Berber Style Carpet?


Hi, I was wondering how well does Berber withstand high traffic areas. Is it easy to keep clean and what kind of padding is the best? I am going crazy trying to decide if I want a plush carpet or Berber. I have a newborn son and know I will soon have lots of messes to clean up! Thank you for responding at your earliest convenience.





Berber can be made of Nylon or Olefin, and of the two, Nylon would be the better choice. Berber is a nice looking carpet, and can be quite reasonably priced. However, It is not the best choice for folks with kids or pets. A good Nylon plush would clean easily, wear better, and retain its new appearance much longer than would a Berber. If you must buy a Berber be sure to select one with small loops, the big loops fall over quickly and look bad sooner. As far as pad goes, a 6 pound, 7/16" rebond pad for the plush, or an 8 pound 1/4" for the Berber. Learn about Carpet Cost


Not The Carpet I Ordered?


I just purchased some nylon Berber carpet. However, the weave or loop is much larger than the sample and I have concerns about the nylon pulling. I like the smaller loop. The larger looks like the yarns has been snagged or pulled. I found you web site very helpful, but what happens when the carpet comes in and it does not appear to be the same weave, or loop that was selected? Can you help?





If you have ordered carpet from a carpet retailer and the carpet does not closely match the carpet sample, you have every right to refuse the carpet. You should get exactly what you ordered, so contact the retailer and ask them to look into it. If there is a noticeable difference they should reorder the carpet and there should not be any additional cost to you. With any Berber carpet, a smaller loop size is always preferable to larger loops, as the smaller loops will retain their new appearance longer. Large loops tend to fall over and lose the new appearance quicker.  Learn about Carpet Styles



Seaming Different Color Carpets Together

I want to replace my family room carpet with a different color, but not the bedroom. What do you do where the two carpets meet?





A carpet layer would seam the two carpets together right underneath the door between the two rooms. He cuts both sides straight and puts some hot melt seaming tape under the carpets to join them together. Even if the two carpet colors are very different it doesn't usually look bad, it is very common to have different colors of carpet throughout the house.


Moisture Barrier Pad for My Dog?


I have an older dog that does have urine accidents and this is what I am faced with. I plan on putting down a moisture barrier pad, that I think will help w/the cleaning. What do you recommend for this situation?





Don't waste your money upgrading to a fancy moisture barrier pad, it won't make that much of a difference in the long run. A regular rebond pad will work just fine. I suggest you invest the money you'll save in a carpet cleaning machine like a Bissell to help deal with your frequent pet accidents. They cost less than $200 and work very well. Learn more about Carpet Fibers



Best Padding for a Dry Basement


I am shopping for new carpeting to be installed over a dry concrete floor. Every salesperson gives us a different recommendation for the padding. What is best? Rubber, Rebond or Fiber?




If your basement is dry you have nothing to worry about. Rubber padding is expensive and is a great pad. Even in a basement. The truth is, that rebond pad is great too, but it is much less expensive. If you had any moisture in your basement at all, I would recommend using a Synthetic Fiber Pad. It breathes well and is mold and mildew resistant. It would be a smart idea to do a moisture test just to be sure. you can get a low-cost moisture test kit at a flooring distributor or ask your carpet dealer where to buy one near you.


If I were buying carpet for my basement, I would definitely buy the Nylon carpet, and use a 6 or 8 lb. Rebond pad. Expect to pay about $3.50- $4.50 per yard for a good quality Rebond pad. Forget buying rubber padding, it is not worth the extra money. 

Which Carpet is Better?


We are considering these carpets a our family room. We would greatly appreciate your opinion. There are no children in our household, and this is a low traffic area:


Master's Choice - style Chokio, which is rated for heavy use, face weight of 52 ounces, twist of 7.5, and density of 1910 made of 100% DuPont Stainmaster Xtra Life Nylon, or Traffic-master (Wear-Dated Carpet II) style Pacesetter , rated about 3.7 for performance (at high end of active traffic wear), 100% Solutia Wear-Dated II Nylon, twist of 3.85, density of 3.772, and face weight of 72 ounces. 




With your nylon selections and low traffic application, either carpet would be a good choice. Personally I like the Master's Choice because it has a higher tuft twist of 7.5, which tends to make a carpet look like-new longer. You are considering two quality carpets. They both have the capability to last 10 to 20 years if cared for. You have done your homework well, good job!


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