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Common Carpet Buying Questions

By Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate


11. Children and Pets Playroom Carpet
I am looking to buy a Karastan Gaviota coast textured carpet for a large playroom, hallway and two bedrooms. There will be a lot of traffic in the playroom. It is a Stainmaster ultra life with Tactesse. It does not seem very dense, as I can see the matting when I separate the fibers. It does not tell the fiber density or number of twists. It's about $5 per sq. ft. I really like the color (It is flecked), but want the retention is more important to me. We have 8 children and pets. Could you please tell me if I should look at different carpeting and if frieze would be a better selection for me?

Alan's Response:

You are spending too much and considering the wrong carpet style. I do not recommend the Tactesse fiber for your situation, as you have too much traffic. I think you should consider a 100% nylon frieze instead.  Frieze styles have a high tuft twist and is tried and tested to be a durable long lasting carpet. Another great option is to install a commercial grade cut-pile style. Nylon or Olefin fibers in this style would both hold up to your heavy traffic and are easy to clean. Avoid looped carpet styles like Berber as they tend to snag easily where kids or pets are involved. Commercial grade carpets can be installed over 1/4" padding or you can glue the carpet directly to the floor. 

12. Beach House

I really need your help. I buying 80 yards of carpet for our beach house -four bedrooms and the hall and stairs. The hall and stairs get heavy wear and traffic.
After much research I decided to purchase Berber nylon and was trying to decide between a Lees carpet and another nylon Berber with Scotch guard until I read your web site. Now I am wondering if Berber is the way to go or should I be looking at textured plush or this commercial grade cut pile you refer to on your web site.
We do rent out the house some of the time so we need something that is very durable and cleans up well. We had olefin Berber before and it crushed over time, but was pretty good on the stains. Thanks so much for your help.

Alan's Response:

Just to make sure you don't get the wrong impression, I do like Berber carpet. It's just that some carpet salespeople don't seem to care about the needs of their customers when recommending Berber to someone with children or pets. You did not state whether or not you have kids, but did say that you sometimes rent out your beach house. In this case, I do suggest you consider a Nylon plush style. Perhaps a Frieze if it is in your budget.

Follow-up question:

Thanks so much for your response. We certainly do have children at our house when we rent or have guests. We have always bought Berber because we thought it was very tough and hid the stains and dirt well. Most of the nylon plush carpets I see are solid colors, which would seem to show all the stains in the lighter colors. We have an off-white nylon plush in our bedroom and it is difficult to keep clean. Is there any one brand that you would recommend that has speckled colors or just one that you know is very durable and stain resistant? What should I look for in nylon plush? Thanks again for you help. This carpet search is extremely confusing.

Alan's Response:

You are so right! Shopping for carpet is confusing. That's why I wrote the book about it. As far as selecting a carpet that will work for you, I suggest you shy away from the off-white carpets and go with something a little darker. I cannot suggest a style or color, that's your decision, but Mohawk carpets are where I would start looking. Consider ordering my Downloadable E-Book to give you a head start.


13. Best Carpet Selection

Your website is great...the information has been so helpful! We have just started carpet shopping and have brought home a couple of samples. Both are frieze carpets made of nylon. One says that it is 100% Continuous Heat-Set Nylon. The other is 100% WearOn;™ Nylon. What does this mean? Also, do you have an opinion on either of these brands: Milliken Carpets or Design Alliance? Also with respect to frieze carpets, does the pile length make a big difference for durability and wear? One has a longer pile (however we prefer the color of this one) and seems to show footprints more than the other.


Alan's Response:

Frieze is my favorite carpet style. It has higher tuft twist and is usually made of nylon. You can't go wrong with a nylon frieze style. Heat set nylon just means they use heat to "set" the twist in the fiber, just like you might use heat to set the curls in your hairstyle. The other  is a trademark by a company. Milliken is a well-known carpet brand. I think you should stick with the well-known brands.  Pile height play a huge role in the application of carpets. Many confuse pile height with pile density. You are better off selecting a carpet that is more dense, than choosing a carpet that has a taller pile height and less density.

Follow up:

Thanks for the info and your prompt reply! After looking through some of the paperwork, I just realized that the Design Alliance frieze I was asking you about is made by Coronet/Beaulieu (label: 3M Scotchguard). Is that a well-known brand?

Alan's Response:

Yes, coronet, is a good company. They have been a leader in the carpet business for years. They have high-end and low-end carpets just like any other company. That doesn't mean that all their products are designed for your application. You need to consider all aspects of your carpet job: the carpet, the padding, and the installation. Only when you get all three done correctly will you have a winning combination. Combine all this with a fair price and you will have what I strive to offer my readers in my e-book! 

14. Carpet Stain
I have bad carpet stains from water flooding and it cannot be removed via professional steam cleaning. What carpet can I replace it with that is absolutely stain proof and cannot be stained again by water flooding?  The carpet is in the basement, which is a full basement entertainment room.

Alan's Response:

There is no carpet made that is totally stain proof. There is a new carpet fiber available that claims to be almost stain-proof, it is called Sorona, and it is a polymer made from corn. Originally, Dupont came up with the idea back in the 1940's but it was too expensive to make back then. I don't think Sorona is as durable as nylon, but it will be interesting to see how well this fiber performs in the next 10 years or so. Prices are pretty high for carpets made with the Sorona fiber  right now, probably because it is so new on the market, hopefully the cost will go down in the next few years. We'll keep our eye on this fiber! 

15. Is it a common practice to "haggle" with carpet dealers?

We are considering purchasing replacement carpet from a local reputable dealer. It will be about 160 yards of carpet. We are wondering how negotiable pricing is. The dealer has given us a price and we wonder if we should try to get some reduction in price. Is it common practice to "haggle" some with carpet dealers?

Alan's Response:

You can't negotiate with Big box carpet sellers like Home Depot or Lowe's because their salespeople do not have the authority to change the prices. Every item they sell is coded into their computer with a barcode and is non-negotiable. 

You might be able to negotiate a discount with locally owned carpet dealers. You need to focus on getting a lower price on the whole deal rather than trying to get a discount on each individual item or product. You shouldn't ask for a discount on the installation cost unless you are hiring an independent installer and paying for their services separately. Your best chance on a discount will be right before you sign the contract. Asking for a 5 to 10% discount on the total deal might work, all you can do is ask and see what they say. Most homeowners do not like to "haggle" and usually don't. That's why I created my own coupon that can give you up to a $100 off your new carpet. Homeowners will be more likely to have the dealer honor my coupon then to convince them to negotiate a lower price. Visit my Preferred Carpet Dealer Directory to print out a coupon for a dealer new you.


16. Are Frieze carpet styles available wider than 12 feet?

Do you know of any manufacturers that sell frieze carpet in something wider than 12' width? We have a room layout that will not work with 12' width and we are pulling our hair out trying to find something we like in a 13'6" or 15' width.
We have found some Saxony carpets, 100% nylon, twist 5, density 3108, face weight 58 oz, but we don't know if this will take the high traffic of our hallway and living room. Also we aren't sure we like the way it looks. We really want frieze, but we have only found ONE in over 12' and we've looked and looked. We found one by Milliken in 13' 6" (which will work) but it is pricey. The density seems rather low at 1874. Twist is 7.5 TPI, and weight is 40 oz. Which one of these do you think will stand up to heavy foot traffic and kids best? If you could point out any other wider frieze carpet we would be grateful.

Alan's Response:

I would suggest having your salesperson contact their various mill representatives by phone or email and ask them what Friezes are available in wider sizes. The mill rep. can then make arrangements to make those samples available to you.

While the Saxony and frieze carpets you have mentioned are plenty durable for your needs, I always suggest that my clients buy the carpet they like best. Don't settle for a Saxony when you really want a frieze (my favorite). If all specs are virtually alike, a Frieze style will inherently more expensive than a Saxony style but will retain its like-new appearance longer due to the tighter tuft-twist.

17. Best Carpet Selection

I have learned so much about buying carpet by reading your web-site. What a wealth of information! My husband and I have pretty much made up our minds about the carpet we are going to purchase for our living room and hall. I thought that I would run it by you first, just to see if we had done our homework correctly. We have two older children and no pets. We are looking at a Mohawk product called Bigelow Chateau. It is 100% DuPont Tactesse BCF nylon. Its face weight is 45 ounces. We will pay approx. $27/square yard. The pad that has been suggested is a rebond pad that is 8lb. for approx. $5/square yard. What do you think?

Alan's Response:

I'm sure it is a beautiful carpet! The price is good and I think it will do you nicely. The padding is where I see a little problem. $5 per yard for 8 pound rebond is HIGH. Not only that, but your carpet does not require an 8 pound pad, a 6 pound pad would be less expensive and a little softer underfoot. The 8-pound pad would be quite a bit stiffer. A good 6 pound, 7/16 inch, rebond should only be about $3 per yard (unless you live in Hawaii or Alaska). That will save you $2 per yard! I bet you will save at least a hundred bucks and be happier with the outcome. Thanks for the kind comments! Read More




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