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Carpet Information - Questions & Answers

By Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate


Can you tell me about recycled P.E.T. Polyester carpet?


What are your opinions on this new fiber? I have a very active home (4 inside dogs, 2 kids, traffic, traffic, traffic) and I am considering purchasing this carpet for my living room and hallway. What do you think?

Answer: Thank you for your question! This is one of my favorite questions to answer, as this is not a new fiber at all! P.E.T. (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is polyester produced from recycled soft drink bottles, and has been available for years. Here is my take on this fiber:

While polyester is a very soft synthetic fiber, and it is available in wonderful colors, polyester fibers will mat down quickly and is very hard to clean. It sounds to me like you really need a carpet that cleans easy.

The main problem is that the pile will easily mat down and crush. That means in areas where there is heavy traffic, like down the hallway, polyester carpets will mat down quickly and never come back to its original appearance. In your case, with kids and pets I bet within six months you would be very unhappy with your polyester carpeting.  Do not listen to the advice of carpet sales people who recommend polyester, no matter what they say! Because polyester is so cheap to make, carpet manufacturers have tried for years to make a good carpet out of polyester, with limited success. every year they come up with some new technique that they claim will make polyester more durable. It hasn't happened yet.

What I do recommend is for you to buy Nylon! Nylon carpet is more expensive than polyester, but it will tolerate an incredible amount of abuse. It cleans easily and won't mat down like polyester. Buy a continuous filament 100% nylon carpet and you will be much happier in the long run!



Does face weight have any bearing on the quality of carpet?


Answer: Carpet face-weights do have bearing on the quality of carpet but not with every type of carpet. Let me explain. face weight is the amount of fiber that is used to make the carpet. I am sure that you have seen thin carpets and thick carpets, the thicker the nap (fibers) the higher the face weight. Just because a carpet is thicker doesn't mean it will last longer or wear better. 


The key to longevity is in the fiber. Nylon is the toughest, longest lasting, most durable, resilient, easiest cleaning fiber of all. A thin carpet made of nylon is just as good as a thick carpet made of nylon, because the fiber is durable. On the other hand, Polyester is a fiber that is not resilient, not easy to clean, non durable fiber. The manufacturers of carpet have to make it of high face weight in order to try to make it last longer, and be more durable. It generally doesn't work out well.


My suggestion to you is to buy a carpet made of nylon, of the best quality you can afford in order to get the best bang for your buck. I would stay away from polyester carpets at all costs! They just don't last. As far as how they gauge the face-weight of carpets, you need to know that there is a lot of confusion about how each manufacturer determines their actual face weight.


Unfortunately I cannot give you the formula because they all use different methods. Some use just the weight of the fibers, others use the weight of the backing and the fibers. When I look at a carpet I want to see tightly twisted tufts, closely packed together like a dense forest, and difficult to see the backing when I spread the tufts apart with my fingers. 


How do I install carpet on my indoor stairs (steps). How do I go about completing this job?

Answer: Putting carpet on stairs will require a professional to measure and install. You should contact a qualified carpet installer to help you with this. Carpet manufacturers do not offer any warranty for carpets installed on stairs.



How well does Berber withstand high traffic areas?


Is it easy to keep clean and what kind of padding is the best? I am going crazy trying to decide if I want a plush carpet or Berber. I have a newborn son and know I will soon have lots of messes to clean up! Thank you for responding at your earliest convenience.


Answer: Berber can be made of Nylon or Olefin, and of the two, Nylon would be the better choice. Berber is a nice looking carpet, and can be quite reasonably priced. However, It is not the best choice for folks with kids or pets. A good Nylon plush would clean easily, wear better, and retain its new appearance much longer than would a Berber. If you must buy a Berber be sure to select one with small loops, the big loops fall over quickly and look bad sooner. As far as pad goes, a 6 pound, 7/16" rebond pad for the plush, or an 8 pound 1/4" for the Berber. 



I think they sent me the wrong carpet, what do I do now?


I just purchased some nylon Berber carpet. However, the weave or loop is much larger than the sample and I have concerns about the nylon pulling. I like the smaller loop. The larger looks like the yarns has been snagged or pulled. I found you web site very helpful, but what happens when the carpet comes in and it does not appear to be the same weave, or loop that was selected?


Answer: You should always inspect your new carpet as soon as it arrives at your home, before they begin to install it. If you have ordered carpet from a carpet retailer and the carpet does not closely match the carpet sample, you have every right to refuse the carpet. You should get exactly what you ordered, so contact the retailer and ask them to look into it. 


If there is a noticeable difference they should reorder the carpet and there should not be any additional cost to you. In many cases they will deny your claims and say that the difference is insignificant and the carpet falls within normal manufacturing specifications. 



I am looking for a good quality carpet that can withstand kids, cats, dogs and traffic. 


I have a somewhat formal living room that you land in upon entering my house. To get to any other part of the house at that point, one needs to walk through that living room. My biggest problem is the traffic marks from the front door, across the living room and down the hallway to the bedrooms. This gets dirty fast. Any help would be appreciated.


Answer: There is only one type of carpet that can potentially withstand all these things, it is Nylon. A textured plush style will hide the footprints and show dirt the least, depending on the color you select. Select a dense carpet with at least 40 oz face weight, this will better withstand the traffic. 


A good tuft-twist at least five twists per inch is important to keep your carpet looking new longer. It must have anti stain. You will need to vacuum regularly at least every other day, and have the carpet cleaned when it gets dirty, once or twice a year. You might want to consider laying down a plastic runner in the heavy traffic areas. Stay away from looped styles of carpet like Berber and never buy Polyester carpet (P.E.T.) no matter what they tell you. 



I have read that the new PET fiber is even more stain resistant than nylon. Your web site indicated PET is the worst. Can you refer me to any other authorities?


Answer: Whether or not it is more stain resistant than Nylon is not the issue, it is that P.E.T. Polyester carpets mat down quickly and have poor resiliency. That means that Polyester carpet will not retain a new appearance very long. Clean it all you like, it will still be matted down. Nylon has excellent resiliency and will look new longer and it cleans well too.



I want to replace my family room carpet with a different color, but not the bedroom. What do you do where the two carpets meet?


Answer: The carpet layer would seam the two carpets together at the doorway between the two rooms. Even if the two carpet colors are very different it doesn't usually look bad, it is very common to have different colors of carpet throughout the house.



What Carpet Pad is Best? Rubber, Rebond or Fiber?


I am shopping for new carpeting to be installed over a dry concrete floor. Every salesperson gives us a different recommendation for the padding. What is best? Rubber, Rebond or Fiber?


Answer: Your question is a valid one, and most salespeople do not have a clue about what pad is right for your needs. I need to know more before I can answer your pad question.

1. What type of carpet are you buying? Berber, plush? frieze?
2. How long do you plan on this carpet lasting?
3. Might you be selling your home soon?
4. What fiber will the carpet be made of?
5. Do you have kids or pets?
6. What is the estimated price of the carpet are you buying? ($10, $20, $30, $40 per yard?)


Follow up:


1. Plush Mohawk Signature

2. 10 years

3. Not planning to sell home soon

4. Probably Polyester, but maybe Nylon

5. No kids or pets

6. $13 / yard


Although our basement does not have a water problem, we have been told by some salespeople that "rebond" will grab and hold moisture, and transmit it to the carpet. Others have told us that "rebond" is better because it will allow the padding and carpet to breathe. And rubber will cause moisture to accumulate between the pad and concrete and cause mildew.


Follow-up answer:


Answer: Based on your reply I believe that you have a two-fold problem.
First, considering buying a polyester carpet and hoping it lasts 10 years is unrealistic. Polyester is the WORST fiber to make carpet from. It mats down quickly and will look horrible within a year or two.

Second, you have retail salespeople that are unaware of the truth and are giving you false information. If your basement is dry you have nothing to worry about. Rubber padding is expensive and is a great pad. Even in a basement. The truth is, that rebond pad is great too, but it is much less expensive. 


If I were buying carpet for my basement, I would definitely buy the Nylon carpet, and use a 6-pound,  7/16" inch thick, Rebond pad. Expect to pay about $300- $4.25 per yard for the pad. Forget buying rubber, it is not worth the extra money.


Anyone who tries to sell you polyester is not giving you good advice. If you want your carpet to last ten years, buy Nylon and stick with a plush style. The only other viable option I would suggest is a small-looped Berber made of Olefin, using a 1/4 inch 8 Lb. rebond pad, since you have no kids or pets.


Follow-up reply:


Well, went back to the same dealer, and they insisted that polyester / rubber was the way to go. All the other dealers in our town agreed with you, so I went to another dealer, got 100% nylon with 8lb rebond, and paid a cheaper price to boot! Thanks again for your help.





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