Here are 7 carpet buying secrets to help you avoid making costly carpet buying mistakes. The last thing you want is to buy new carpet that quickly mats down, wears out and looks ugly. This is the #1 problem homeowners face today when choosing new carpet.
Carpet Buying Secret #1 – Determine Your Level Of Foot-Traffic
Do You Have Low, Medium or Heavy FOOT TRAFFIC In Your Home? How LONG Do You Want Your New Carpet To LAST… 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? These are the two most important questions you need to answer before you begin shopping for new carpet.
There are so many grade levels of carpet today. In years past most carpet was very well made and was designed to last a long time. 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 you can 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 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.
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 Buying Secrets #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 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 Advice?
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.
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 Buying Secrets #4 – Carpet Specifications
There are Five (5) Carpet Basic Specifications you need to take into consideration when choosing new carpet.
1. Fiber Type
Nylon 6, Nylon 6.6, Polyester, PET, Olefin/Polypropylene, Sorona/Smartstrand/PTT/Triexta.
2. Pile Height
Measure of the pile height from the backing upward, usually ranging from 1/4″ to over an inch
3. Tuft Twist
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.
5. Pile Density
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 Manufacturing Specifications Explained
Carpet Secret #5 – Select the Correct Pad
Why is it so important to choose the correct carpet padding for your home?
If your new carpet is designed to last for 12 years, then your padding must also be able to last 12 years or longer. Padding helps provide support, durability and abrasion resistance to your carpet. If your padding fails before your carpet does, your carpet will wear out much faster too.
Choosing the wrong type of padding can cause your carpet to develop wrinkles. This can permanently damage your carpet, void your warranty and be costly to repair.
Don’t allow the salesperson to make the padding choice for you.
Verify that the suggested padding is the correct padding for the carpet you select.
Every carpet manufacturer has padding type, thickness and density requirements you must follow to keep your new carpet warranty in force. You can call the carpet manufacturer to ask what type of pad, thickness and density rating they recommend to maintain your new carpet warranty.
Learn more about Types of Carpet Padding and Specifications
Some padding upgrades are worthwhile
Most carpet pads provide excellent support for your carpet. A few are reasonably priced, while others are not so great and are way over-priced.
Rebond is the most common type of padding used in residential homes today. It provides excellent support and is reasonably priced. In most residential applications, upgrading from a 6-pound density to an 8-pound density is a wise choice. You might even want to upgrade to a 10-pound density if you have super heavy foot traffic.
These higher density pads will support your carpet better, increase durability, longevity and reduce the chance of your carpet developing wrinkles over time.
The Typical Cost For A Padding Upgrade?
To give you a realistic idea about padding upgrade cost, if a 6-pound Rebond pad costs $4.95 per square yard (.55 per square foot), then an 8-pound density Rebond pad should cost about $6.95 per square yard (.77 per sf). This example is to let you know that upgrading to a higher density pad should not cost you a fortune.
Read more about Choosing the Right Carpet Pad and about Carpet Padding Specifications.
Secret #6 – Avoid Unnecessary Upgrades
It’s real easy to pay too much for pad, especially if you follow bad advice from an inexperienced or unscrupulous salesperson.
There are many types of padding available but choosing the right pad can be challenging. Don’t blindly agree to any padding upgrade until you have a chance to do your padding homework!
You Probably Don’t Need a Specialty Pad
Don’t be swayed by a carpet salesperson who says you need to spend more for a pad that has a moisture barrier. Chances are good that you do not need a moisture barrier pad.
In fact, moisture barrier pads can help cause mold and mildew to form underneath your padding. If your basement has moisture problems, a moisture barrier pad is the wrong pad for you.
You also don’t need the pad that has baking soda infused to help eliminate or reduce pet odors. The cost is high and the benefit is low. Even the box of baking soda you have placed in the back of your refrigerator needs to be replaced once a month.
How long do you think the baking soda infused inside a 1/2″ thick pad will remain effective? Not long enough to make it a worthwhile and cost-effective padding upgrade I bet.
What About Padding That Will Extend Your New Carpet Warranty?
Carpet makers like Shaw and Mohawk offer a special padding that if you buy it, they will increase the length of your New Carpet Warranty by up to 10 years.
I think the increase in carpet warranty length they offer is too limited. I think this is just a slick marketing ploy to get you to spend more on a padding that you do not need. Sure, it’s a good quality pad, but it’s way overpriced. I think the cost is too high and the benefit is too low.
New Carpet Warranties
Seasoned Carpet professionals know that New Carpet Warranties are not worth the paper they are written on, and the fact is, a longer wear warranty will rarely end up beneficial to you.
What is a new carpet abrasive wear warranty? It’s not what you think. You should never choose a carpet just because it has a long abrasive wear warranty limit. Find out why
It practically takes an act of congress to substantiate a valid new carpet warranty claim and even if you do, they only cover affected areas and pro rate your replacement credit based on the age of your carpet.
Specialty pads will certainly cost you more today but from my perspective they provide little to no measurable benefits to you in the long run. Frankly, I believe they are a waste of your hard earned money.
Read more about Choosing the Right Carpet Pad and about Carpet Padding Specifications.
Carpet Buying Secrets #7 – Don’t Believe Everything You See On TV
Should I Buy Carpet from Home Depot or Lowe’s?
Don’t fall for misleading TV commercials offering new carpet, pad and installation at ridiculously low prices! Buy One Room of Carpet Get Two Rooms Free? I’m sure you’ve seen the ads about Free Carpet Installation at Lowe’s and Home Depot. If it sounds too good to be true… well, you know.
When it comes to buying new first-quality carpet, you usually get what you pay for. If the price for similar products is significantly lower at Joe’s Carpets, than it is at Mike’s Carpets, there must be a good reason for it.
The lowest price is not always the best deal for you. Most of the time, great sounding carpet deals are not so great once you read the fine print. You might save a few dollars going with the lowest proposal but in the end are you sacrificing something else, like qualified installation or service after the sale?
Read the Best & Worst Places to Buy New Carpet.
Everybody wants something for free.
7 Carpet Buying Secrets Revealed for Free? Advertising experts know that the general public is easily swayed when they hear the word “free”. This is especially true when it comes to Free Carpet Installation offered by Lowe’s and Home Depot. Do you really want free carpet installation? Is it really free?
Read my FREE article to learn the answer to these free carpet installation questions and more! Free Carpet Installation Specials
- Take your time when shopping for new carpet! Learn how to make wise and informed choices! Visit my Sitemap to view all my free carpet articles.
- Use my free Carpet Shopping Form. Take several copies with you while you shop. This form will help you compare products, choose wisely and narrow-down your final selection.
- Print out all my free checklists, forms, charts, guides and coupons here.
- Best places to buy new carpet? Can you help me find a reputable Carpet Store Near Me?
- Best Time of Year To Save on New Carpet
- Carpet Professor’s Carpet Buying Guide
It’s hard to find an honest and reputable carpet store these days! That’s why I created my own special hand-picked list of locally-owned carpet and flooring stores. They give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and use qualified installers.