Free Carpet Information and Buying Guide
By Alan Fletcher - 30 Yr Carpet Expert / Consumer Advocate - I do not sell carpet. ABC
Carpet Buying Guide 2022
Misleading Carpet Information?
Some salespeople are more knowledgeable and more experienced than others. It's common to get conflicting information from carpet salespeople. Their advice may not be bad, but maybe it's not the best advice for you.
Many retail carpet websites fail to provide complete, accurate or honest product information. It's hard to know what information is useful and what information is useless. This should not surprise you because we are living in the age of misinformation.
Today, a lot of product information is intentionally skewed or distorted by carpet retailers or manufacturers. They often limit or leave out important facts and details that consumers need to make wise and informed decisions. Misinformation does not always mean false information, but it does mean misleading.
Getting accurate information has become a serious problem for anyone trying to select new carpet and padding. If you select the wrong "grade" of carpet, it can be a very costly mistake. For example, If you want your new carpet to last for at least 15 years, then you must choose a carpet and padding that is capable of doing that.
Carpet Advice You Can Trust
Choosing the "Right Grade" of Carpet is not as easy as most folks think. You have to look at several types and styles, and determine which grade will meet your needs and goals.
This is exactly what you need to do when it comes to choosing new carpet, padding and installation. It is important that you get at least three free estimates and measures from three different local carpet retailers. It's the only way for you to compare all your options side by side.
Comparing is the smartest way to help you choose the right carpet dealer, the right products at the right price to meet all your needs, goals and budget... Just Right!
To get started, I suggest you take my Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to help determine what grade of carpet you need to select that is designed to meet your needs, goals and lifestyle.
How Much Should I Spend on New Carpet?
If you are just starting your journey to buy new carpet, you are going to find that Carpet is more costly than you expect. There are many factors that must be considered.
Here are 3 questions you need to answer before you begin shopping for carpet.
Q. Why do most homeowners OVERPAY for new Carpet and Flooring?
It's because they don't do their Carpet homework! By doing just a little bit of research on my website, most homeowners can quickly learn how to select the right grade of carpet or flooring products to meet their needs, goals and lifestyle. You can also save money by avoiding common retail sales scams.
Get Honest Answers To These 4 Key Questions
These are just a few of the important Questions & Answers you need to learn about before you agree to buy new carpet from ANY retail source.
I have dozens of free articles posted on my website to give you all the answers you need to make wise and informed choices. My goal is to help make sure you choose wisely and end up happy with your carpet purchase.
How to Avoid Common Carpet Scams
Buy the wrong grade of carpet and you stand to lose hundreds or even thousands! Choosing the wrong grade carpet can cost you dearly! You might hope to buy carpet that will last for 15 years. What will you do when your carpet wears out in just 3 years? How to Avoid Carpet Scams
Times have changed! It's not like it was 50 years ago when there were limited styles and colors but all carpets were well-made and able to last a long time. Today there are thousands of different colors, textures, patterns, grades and quality levels to choose from.
Choose the wrong grade of carpet today and you may end up having to replace it much sooner than you think! You need to know... Some Carpets are designed to last for only 3 to 5 years... and some carpets are made to last 7 to 10 years. Some are designed to last 15 to 20 years or longer! Carpet Specifications - Face Weight, Pile Density, Tuft Twist
Whatever grade of Carpet you buy, it will eventually wear-out based mainly based on YOUR level of foot traffic you have in your home. What level of foot traffic do you have? Low traffic, medium traffic, heavy traffic? Learn more: What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?
How long your new carpet will last has very little to do with the manufacturers warranty limits or the wear-rating they attach to it. It mostly depends on the amount of foot-traffic you have in your home verses the grade or quality level of carpet and the padding you select! Of course, your carpet will wear out faster if it is not properly maintained. How often should I have my carpets cleaned?
Carpet Quality is Not Always Obvious...
Carpet specifications are the key to understanding carpet quality. A medium-grade of carpet may last 7 to 12 years in your home, however, a higher-grade carpet may last up to 25 years, all depending on the Amount of Foot-Traffic you have in your home and how well you care for your carpet.
While identifying a low-cost, cheaply-made carpet might be obvious for most homeowners (costing less than $20 per yard), it can be challenging for homeowners to tell the difference between a medium-grade carpet (priced $20 to $35 per yard) from a higher-grade of carpet (costing $40 to $65 per yard or more), just by looking at the Carpet sample or just by feeling the surface fibers.
Nylon vs. Polyester
This is especially true when comparing a nylon carpet with a polyester carpet. It is easy to be fooled into thinking the polyester carpet is a better choice because it is softer, it has a higher fiber face weight, and it's less expensive.
The Nylon fiber is not as soft as the Polyester fiber but nylon is way more durable. Consumers who make their choice based on the look, the feel, and the price, will almost always choose the polyester carpet.
In a home with medium to heavy foot traffic, choosing a polyester carpet is not a wise choice. What they often fail to mention, is that the polyester fiber is prone to matting and crushing of the pile. So if you want your carpet to last as long as possible, choosing the nylon carpet would be the best choice.
Softer Nylon Styles?
There are several carpet mills that make a softer nylon carpet. They are more costly and are not quite as durable as a standard nylon fiber. The reason is that they extrude the filament thinner to create the soft feel. In doing so I think they sacrifice some durability and resiliency of the carpet pile.
All Carpets Look and Feel Great When Brand New!
However, cheaply made carpets made from Polyester and P.E.T. Polyester are not very durable or resilient and can quickly mat down in medium to heavy foot traffic areas, especially in hallways and stairs. Once this happens, there is really nothing you can do to fix the problem.
What does this mean to You?
If your home has moderate to heavy foot-traffic and you buy a grade of carpet not capable of tolerating heavy foot-traffic, any carpet warranty claim you submit will likely be denied and you will likely have no recourse whatsoever.
In fact, most new carpet warranty claims are denied for any number of reasons, and in many cases...They will blame YOU for not taking proper care of your new carpet; not following the required maintenance or cleaning schedule; not choosing the right grade of carpet to meet your level of foot-traffic you have in your home or simply say that your new carpet was not installed properly. Claim Denied!
Why Buy a Carpet Made of Nylon?
Carpets made from Nylon are generally more capable of tolerating medium to heavy-traffic applications. Nylon is the most durable and most resilient fiber on the market today. There are many different grades of the Nylon Fiber and you need to learn what they are and what it means to your own unique application. If you have moderate to heavy foot traffic in your home, then I suggest you select a carpet made of NYLON!
SmartStrand®, is a fiber known by 4 different names. This can be quite confusing for homeowners.
Please be advised these are all the same carpet fiber:
Mohawk's SmartStrand® Fiber, is made from DuPont's Sorona polymer. SmartStrand® is also known as P.T.T.; Triexta; or Sorona and is, to some degree, very much related to the Polyester fiber. In fact, they say it is manufactured on the same or similar machines as Polyester.
While the manufacturers of the SmartStrand® Fiber may claim it is as, or more durable than Polyester, or P.E.T. Polyester, I believe it is much less durable than any standard denier Nylon fiber, and the SmartStrand® Fiber is more prone to matting and crushing of the pile over a Nylon.
SmartStrand® is often touted to be more stain resistant than Nylon, but from my own experience, I think SmartStrand may be a bit more stain resistant than Nylon, but only to a small degree, if at all.
Stainmaster® and other carpet brands using Antron's 6.6 Nylon fiber no longer use Teflon to help resist stains. Now they use a topically applied solution called DuraTech®. I think it is a good option to consider if stain resistance is a major issue for you. Learn more about Carpet Fibers
I am not as impressed with Smartstrand® as many carpet salespeople are. I don't think it is as durable as they claim it to be. It's priced similar to nylon, so if durability is what you need, then nylon seems like a better choice. If softness and stain resistance is your main concern, then go with Smartstrand.
In my opinion, I think Nylon is a more durable fiber and it also resists stains and cleans easily too. Nylon is the most resilient synthetic fiber available today. What more can you want? A cheaper price would be nice, but that is not going to happen anytime soon.
Nylon is more costly to manufacture than all other synthetic fibers. so that means there is less profit from selling Nylon than from other synthetic fibers such as Smartstrand, Olefin and Polyester.
Q. Why Do They PUSH Polyester Carpets?
Polyester & P.E.T. Polyester are among the cheapest fibers to manufacture which is often why manufacturers and carpet salespeople work so hard to convince homeowners to buy it.
When you buy a carpet made from Polyester, it translates into more profit for the carpet dealer, for the carpet manufacturer and higher commissions for the carpet salesperson too!
Q. Is Carpet made of Polyester just as durable as Carpet made of Nylon?
NO! The Polyester fiber, and the P.E.T. Polyester fiber is prone to matting and crushing of the pile. Choose a carpet made from Polyester and your new carpet will start to mat down and look ugly in a very short period of time, especially in moderate to heavy main traffic lanes, on stairs, hallways and any other area in your home that has anything more than light foot-traffic.
Regardless of what any carpet salesperson tells you, polyester carpets are not intended for medium, moderate or especially heavy foot-traffic applications. Polyester is and will always be Polyester. If they say that Polyester is NEW and IMPROVED... or say it is just as DURABLE as NYLON... don't believe it!
Learn all about Carpet and Padding Specifications to be sure you choose wisely. The "manufacturing specifications" are what allows you to determine the grade or quality level of a carpet or padding. Carpets that are made from low-quality materials will wear out faster than those that are made using higher-quality materials. This is why you need full access to the specifications of any carpet or padding you are considering.
The 5 Basic Carpet Specifications
Learn more about Carpet Specifications
Next... You need to be sure to...
After that... You must properly maintain your new carpet by:
Confused About Choosing The Right Carpet?
How to Select The Right Carpet and More...
Many homeowners choose their carpet based on color, look, feel and price. However, there are many other important factors that need to be taken into consideration. From start to finish you must make all the right decisions to be successful and satisfied with the final outcome.
Choosing the right Carpet, the correct padding, getting qualified installation and a reasonable price is just the tip of the iceberg! Learn more about Carpet Comparison
Where NOT to Buy New Carpet
Where you buy carpet is a major factor because not all carpet retailers have your best interests in mind, and some carpet retailers should be avoided at all costs! Never be pressured by any salesperson into buying right now!
Take your time, take some samples home for a few days and make wise and informed choices! Buying new carpet wisely starts with knowing how to select the right grade of carpet for your home! The last thing you want to do is buy the wrong grade of carpet and have it wear out in a hurry.
There are many other key factors for you to consider too including - Selecting the correct padding; obtaining qualified installation; and getting a good price! Learn more about Best & Worst Places to Buy New Carpet
Costly Carpet Buying Mistakes / Common Carpet Complaints...
Here is a list of common carpet complaints from homeowners who bought new carpet and why they were unhappy with their carpet purchase.
My years of experience and ongoing research has revealed that fewer than 14% of consumers make ALL the right Carpet choices from start to finish. The other 86% either spend too much, choose the wrong materials, end up with installation problems or unhappy in some way with their Carpet Buying Experience.
What can go wrong you might ask? Plenty! Here is a list of unfortunate homeowners who didn't do their carpet homework and have lost thousands! Read about how to avoid Costly Consumer Carpet Buying Mistakes
How Much Carpet Do You Actually Need?
Too many Carpet Salespeople are not proficient at measuring for carpet and that could spell bad news for you. It's easier for them to just add on a few extra yards of carpet to the estimate and not have worry about ordering too little material to do the job.
Why should they take the time and effort to be spot-on accurate when adding a few extra yards of carpet and padding to your order will only increase their profits?
Homeowners Need Honest and Accurate Measuring
Over-measuring will cost you money and you may never know you have become a victim. Greedy salespeople might deliberately try to sell you more carpet than you actually need just to make more commissions from the sale. The more carpet material you need, the more you also pay for padding and installation fees too.
Under-measuring will cost you time, frustration and job completion delays. Inexperienced salespeople can easily under-measure your needs making it impossible to finish the job without having to order more carpet and make you wait another week or two before the job is finally completed. Sometimes they can't order more of the exact same carpet color (dye-lot) and then your carpet will not match.
About Carpet Salespeople
Some homes are simple or easy to measure because the rooms are small or square. While other homes have unusual shaped rooms with varied angles that can create more material waste. Unusual room dimensions and layout oddities can be very difficult and time consuming for inexperienced salespeople to measure up accurately.
In many cases, it is beyond their capability to measure accurately in a way that will save you the most money on materials and labor costs.
An experienced salesperson can measure your home in such a way that will take advantage of waste materials from one room to help fill in the needs of other areas are such as stairs, landings, closets or seams for rooms that are wider than 12 feet.
As long as the same carpet or flooring is used throughout the home, leftovers from one area can be used in other areas, thus saving you money.
If your carpet salesperson is not proficient at measuring or doesn't have your best interests in mind, they can easily add hundreds to your final bill by not fully utilizing your material waste in a useful manner. Inaccurate measuring can easily add hundreds to the total cost of your carpet job.
You need to learn how to avoid this common carpet measuring problem which in some cases may be a deliberate carpet over-measuring scam to charge you more for materials and labor! Read on...
Learn more: How to Measure for Carpet Yourself!
What Should I Spend on Carpet?
If you are just starting your journey to buy new carpet, you are going to find that new Carpet is more costly than you might expect. There are so many different factors to consider. Installation is almost always more costly than you might imagine. There are 3 questions you need to answer...
There are no shortcuts and no specials to help you alter any of these three parameters. Don't fall for those home improvement store specials that advertise free or whole-house discounted carpet installation. If you do not have enough money saved up, then consider doing your project in stages.
Don't lower the carpet quality to meet your budget limitations. If funds are tight, either wait until you have more money or replace your carpet in two or more stages, for example: Do the downstairs this year and then do the upstairs areas next year.
Beware of Nationally Advertised Carpet Advertisements and Scams!
Most nationally advertised Carpet specials you see on TV are rarely as good as they appear to be. Don't fall for those offers to sell you three rooms of carpet for the price of just one room until you get a chance to read all the fine print. You don't need to buy from any carpet or flooring dealer who advertises in this fashion.
I truly believe you can get a much better deal buying from a local, family-run flooring dealer. Not only a better price, but better quality materials an more qualified installation too!
I never recommend buying from any nationally advertised carpet retailer. You would be amazed at the number of horror stories I've heard from unsuspecting homeowners since I started my first website back in 2000.
If the price sounds too good to be true, then carefully read all the fine print. Take a gander at this: Home Depot & Lowe's Free Carpet Installation Special
Don't Pay for Your New Carpet "In-Full" Upfront!
It is customary for reputable locally-owned carpet dealers to ask that you pay 50% down before they will place your carpet order. This is a reasonable request. You will be asked to pay the final balance-due upon competition and upon your complete satisfaction of a job well-done. This is how smart consumers protect themselves from shoddy materials and workmanship.
Home Depot and Lowe's require that you pay for your carpet job, 100% in full, before they will place your carpet order. This means if you are not satisfied with the completed job, you will have no leverage to compel them to satisfy your concerns.
With a local carpet retailer, you don't pay the final balance due until you are completely satisfied. When the installers have finished, you should do a walk-through with the installer to inspect the completed job before leaving your home. Use my free Carpet Installation Inspection Checklist.
Take a look at my Carpet and Pad Pricing Chart to get a good idea about how much new carpet is going to cost you. Why do so many homeowners overpay for new Carpet and Flooring?
Free Carpet Information and Buying Guide
©2022 Alan Fletcher - All Rights Reserved.
All content is the opinion of the author.