These 7 Carpet Buying Secrets can help you avoid making costly mistakes. The last thing you want is to choose new carpet that wears out too soon, mats down and looks ugly. Not learning about carpet specifications is the #1 mistake homeowners make when choosing new carpet.
Carpet Buying Secrets #1
Know Your Foot-Traffic Score
1) Do You Have Low, Medium or Heavy Foot-Traffic In Your Home?
2) How LONG Do You Want Your New Carpet To Last… 5 – 10 – 20 years?
There are so many grade levels of carpet today. In years past most carpet was very well made and designed to last a lifetime. Not anymore! The Carpet and Padding you choose today must be able to tolerate your unique level of foot-traffic you have in your home or your new carpet will not last as long as you would like.
For example, if you expect your new Carpet to last at least 10 years, how will you feel when it actually wears out in less than 5 years? This is what happens when homeowners choose a grade of carpet that is not capable of tolerating their level of foot-traffic.
To avoid making this costly carpet buying mistake, start by taking my free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test. It will help you determine your level of foot traffic and what grade of carpet you need to select to last for as many years as you would like.
Then use my free Carpet Durability Guide to help narrow down your choices and choose the right grade of carpet. A carpet that is designed to meet or exceed your needs, goals, lifestyle and hopefully your budget too!
Carpet Buying Secrets #2
Choose the Right Fiber!
Nylon is the most durable synthetic fiber available today.
-Nylon is stronger than steel wire.
-Is used for making parachutes and ropes for rock climbing.
-Nylon will stretch up to 33% of its length.
-Resists abrasion better than wool.
-Nylon is static resistant.
-Retains its twist.
Carpet Quality vs. Carpet Longevity
Some Carpets are only designed to last for just a couple years before they start to wear out… but some carpets are made so well, they can easily last 20 years or more! What is the difference you ask? Learn about Carpet Specifications
Why do some Carpets last longer than others?
It all depends on the materials they use to manufacture the carpet! There are many carpet fibers to choose from. There’s several types of Nylon to choose from, Nylon 6, Nylon 6.6, and many soft Nylon styles.
Nylon is the most costly of all synthetic fibers and it is also the most durable. Nylon is very resilient which means it resists matting and crushing of the pile. Expect to pay $50 and up per square yard for the carpet only.
Polyester aka P.E.T.
There is Polyester and P.E.T Polyester. Polyester is the least expensive of all fibers and is is known for being very soft and is available in vivid colors but is prone to matting. I only recommend Polyester for low traffic applications.
Do you have medium to high foot traffic? Beware of Carpet Salespeople who recommend you buy carpet made from Polyester or P.E.T. Polyester and say it is “just as durable” as a carpet made from Nylon.
Polyester is not as durable as nylon, not even close. Even if they say that today’s Polyester is new and improved, or that it is better now than it used to be… Nylon is a better choice for medium to heavy foot traffic, especially if you want your carpet to last a long time. Learn more about Carpet Fibers.
Olefin aka Polypropylene
The Olefin fiber is also known as Polypropylene. Inexpensive looped Berber styles are made with Olefin. Outdoor grass is made from Olefin because it is durable and impervious to water. Olefin can be hard to clean and some spots may reappear after being cleaned.
Commercial grade level loop and cut pile styles are made with Olefin. This is what they typically use in banks, airports and office buildings because it is very durable and it tolerates heavy traffic when installed without a pad.
Sorona aka Smartstrand
The newest fiber on the block is known by many names, including Triexta – PTT – Sorona and is also marketed as Smartstrand by Mohawk.
They claim it is more stain resistant than Nylon. It may be true but not by a great degree. Some say it rivals nylon for durability, however, I am not convinced.
Then there is Wool-a natural fiber that is the most costly of all fibers used to make carpet. Wool makes a wonderfully soft and luxurious carpet.
Wool carpet is more costly to install and requires special care and maintenance.
There are carpet cleaning companies that specialize in cleaning wool carpet. Wool carpets can last a lifetime if well cared for. Be prepared to spend more than $100 per square yard for the carpet only. ($12+ per sq ft)
Choosing the best carpet fiber to meet your needs and goals can be challenging. Check out my free Carpet Durability Guide
Learn more about choosing the right carpet fiber.
Carpet Secret #3
Do Your Carpet Homework
You need to do your own carpet and padding research and NOT rely on any one salesperson to make your carpet and padding choices for you!
Ask any 5 carpet salespeople… “What Carpet Is The Best Choice For Me” and I bet you will get 5 different answers. It doesn’t matter what carpet question you ask, every carpet salesperson has their own opinion based on their experience.
So who’s advice should you trust?
Well, you might want to trust my advice since I have over 30 years of “hands-on” experience and make no money from your carpet purchase no matter who you choose to buy from.
I’ve read a number of help wanted ads for Carpet Sales lately. They often say “No carpet sales experience required.”
Do you want to trust the advice of a newly hired carpet salesperson where the help wanted ad reads “Knowledge of floor coverings and the flooring industry is helpful but not required.”
Here are the Minimum Qualifications required from a recent big box home improvement store listing for carpet sales:
- High School Diploma or equivalent.
- 2 years of experience in a trade directly related to flooring OR 2 years experience selling flooring.
Two years of related experience? That means a vacuum salesperson would qualify. It takes longer than two years to be able to offer sound carpet advice. Just learning how to accurately measure for carpet takes longer than two years.
This is why many carpet salespeople you might encounter lack sufficient “hands-on” carpet experience. How would you know if they have enough product knowledge to advise you? Do they know what grade of carpet is capable of meeting your needs, goals and lifestyle?
The Best Carpet Buying Secrets?
The best way for you to combat this problem is to do your own carpet homework. You don’t need to know everything, just learn enough so you can make the best choices to meet your needs and goals.
Check out my list free carpet buying articles can bring you up to speed. I also have free forms charts checklists and guides you can print and use to help make wise choices.
Common Carpet Scams and Rip-Offs
Unfortunately there are also plenty of unscrupulous carpet salespeople who are hoping to overcharge you by using sneaky sales tactics, deceptive advertising gimmicks, bait & switch tricks and literally dozens of other common retail carpet scams!
Read more: Costly Carpet Buying Mistakes
Carpet Secret #4
Learn About Carpet Specifications
There are Five (5) Carpet Basic Specifications you need to take into consideration when choosing new carpet.
Nylon 6, Nylon 6.6, Polyester, PET, Olefin/Polypropylene, Sorona/Smartstrand/PTT/Triexta.
Measure of the pile height from the backing upward, usually ranging from 1/4″ to over an inch
These are strands of Fiber grouped together and twisted while heated to form a tuft. The number of twists per “lineal inch” is the Tuft Twist Rating.
This is the weight of the surface fiber, which is also called the “Pile”. It does not include the weight of the carpet backing.
This is a number ranging from 1000 to 6000 to define how dense the carpet pile is; a mathematical formula based on the pile height and face-weight.
“It’s your responsibility to choose new carpet and padding wisely. 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 wrong advice. Learn more carpet buying secrets: Carpet Manufacturing Specifications Explained
Thank you for an incredible amount of information! As I’ve been carpet shopping, I am dismayed at the number of carpets made in China :(. As an environmental advocate for many years before it was popular, I was looking for more information on eco-friendly carpets. We plan to purchase wool carpets with all steps made in the USA.