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When Linda Sherwood of Lake City, Michigan purchased Berber carpet for her living room, she made it clear to the salesperson that she was looking for a carpet that can withstand her four children, two dogs and a cat. 

 

No one at the carpet store mentioned that Berber carpet isn’t a good choice for a family with small children or pets.

Sherwood didn’t find that out until just over a month after her new carpet’s installation as she watched helplessly as a snag on the carpet was pulled by a curious child.

“It was like getting a run in your nylons,” Sherwood recalls. “But this was my living room carpet not a pair of $3 nylons. Now I have this run the width of my living room. At first I tried to repair it by using super glue, but it didn’t work.”

The run in her carpet can be repaired, but the cost of repair rivaled what Sherwood paid for her carpet.

“I’ve decided to live with it for now,” Sherwood said. “Still, I was shocked when a few months later I read in a book that Berber carpet isn’t recommended for small children and pets because it can snag and run easily and is difficult to repair.”

Sherwood found out the truth about Berber carpet when reading “The Complete Carpet Buying Guide,” by Alan J. Fletcher. With more than 30 years of experience in the carpet business, Fletcher offers advice to consumers shopping for carpet including tips on carpet selection, padding, and installation.

Pam Louden of Grand Rapids, Mich., had a similar experience with Berber carpet in her bedroom. How to choose the right carpet style

“I didn't realize the dogs' nails would catch in it and leave little "pulls" all over the place.” Louden said. “It was like carpeting your room with a sweater.”

Fletcher says that Berber carpet has become a popular choice with consumers in recent years because of its elegant appearance.

“It’s tufts are looped and aligned in rows for a clean uniform look,” Fletcher said. “When choosing this type of carpet, be sure to select one with smaller loops to get the best wear. Learn about Carpet Comparison

“If you have young children or pets, it’s probably best to go with a plush style to avoid the possibility of snags.”

 

Don’t Skimp on the Padding

Determining how long you want your carpet to last is important in determining what grade of carpet to buy, Fletcher said. Choosing the wrong carpet fiber may translate to replacing the carpet in just three to five years.

If you want carpet to last longer, the quality of the pad can help extend the carpet life, Fletcher said.

“Carpet padding is the heartbeat of your carpet and installing a good padding is very important,” Fletcher said. “Even if you plan on spending a small amount on carpeting, plan on installing the best padding you can afford.”

According to Fletcher, rebond pads are most often used in homes. Made from recycled materials, it comes in every thickness and density.

Some types of padding are required with certain types of carpet. Failure to use the correct padding could result in voiding a manufacturer’s warranty.

 

 

Best Overall Value

“Nylon is the best fiber to choose, and selecting fibers other than nylon can reduce the longevity factor,” Fletcher said. Nylon is also one of the more expensive choices. More about Carpet Fibers

The type of materials used, the amount of fiber, its weight and density, as well as how it is constructed is all used to determine the grade. In general, the thicker and denser the pile, the higher the quality. Fletcher warns, however, that a thick polyester carpet isn’t comparable to a thick nylon carpet.


Fletcher recommends you check the carpet’s fiber twist. In plush styles of carpet, the tufts are twisted in the same way people curl their hair. The more the fibers are twisted, the better, Fletcher said. If you count the twists, five to seven twists per inch is good. Less than four twists may not meet your expectations.

 

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