Carpet Information - Carpet Q & A
By Alan Fletcher - Consumer Advocate aka The Carpet Professor
Q. Should I Buy Carpet from Lowe's or Home Depot?
I think that buying carpet from Lowe's, Home Depot or any other nationally advertised big-box retailer may not be the best way for homeowners to go. I have a number of very good reasons for saying this and could easily write three pages to explain it all, but for now let me say it's mainly because I don't think they have your best long-term interests in mind. But let me be brutally frank, I think they are more concerned about their CORPORATE PROFITS than they are about you and your overall product satisfaction.
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I also I find their salespeople often lack basic carpet or flooring knowledge and experience that I firmly believe is absolutely necessary and required to advise homeowners wisely. They also use private labels on their carpets to make it difficult for you to comparison shop. Is that fair to consumers to make comparison shopping more difficult? So I must ask... Why buy carpet or flooring from any business that doesn't care enough about you, your time, your selection, and will purposely make it more difficult for you to make wise and informed choices, and have virtually no regard your long-term product satisfaction? My advice... Forget the big box retailers, you need to buy carpet from a reputable, locally-owned carpet dealer. See who I recommend near you
So what's the problem with home improvement warehouses?
They are solely init for the money! Their salespeople are all relatively new to the carpet business and have a lot to learn before they could ever be as good a resource as a locally owned carpet dealer with decades of hands-on experience.
Home improvement warehouses do a great service by offering do-it-yourselfer's the many items needed to do those common household replacements and repairs. I buy lots of products from them from light bulbs and tools to plumbing supplies and lumber. But buying new carpet or flooring products is not the same as buying a new tape measure, a ceiling fan, some screws and nails or a few bags of potting soil. There are just too many variables with selecting and installing the right grade of carpet and flooring, and it's too expensive a product to leave it in the hands of untrained employees and inexperienced installers.
Why big box stores fail to satisfy their customers who buy carpet and flooring.
You can't just display a bunch of new carpet samples and hire some unqualified salespeople to write up the orders, contract with an installation and measuring company and call it good. Selecting the right carpet is not an easy task and diligent care must be taken to get everything done right - from start to finish.
The typical corporate mindset is mainly concerned with making as much money as possible and spending as little as possible on subcontractors, salespeople and customer service. This means that YOU the consumer may not get your carpet installed by a well-trained and experienced carpet installer, you may not get accurate and experienced carpet advice from their in-store salespeople, and you may not get accurate measuring. The estimates you get from the measuring people they send out to measure your home may be way over-measured, and you have to pay for the measuring.
I hear plenty of complaints regarding all these areas from unhappy homeowners. That's why I only recommend buying from a locally owned, family run flooring dealers that have been in the carpet business for many years. Not only will they treat you like gold, but they will take good care of you before, during and after the sale. Don't take chances
Q. Is there a carpet for people that have allergies can use in the house. I have dogs and I try to keep the fur up. We put laminate in our living room, but I really would like to go back to carpet.
Alan's Answer: Visit www.carpet-rug.org and check out the allergies link.
Q. I just purchased your ebook the other day and am thankful I did. However, my wife and I went to a couple of retailers yesterday and are now in awe of the prices for Frieze carpets. Either your price estimates are years out of date or the info from your ebook will probably save us over $600 for a 32 square yard family room carpet. I was expecting to pay ~ $40/square yard for a top-quality nylon Frieze carpet, 8 pound pad, and carpet removal and installation. As you mentioned in your book, many retailers use the square foot method (we went to 3 and they all use square foot measurements). The best price we found for carpets we liked is $6.25/sq ft to $7.60/sq ft. This includes delivery, pad, install, and lift/removal of existing carpet. Transition bars are included with the $7.60 carpet and we need 14 feet.
The carpets we looked at (I have samples in my hands now) are; Queen Carpet (Shaw), Style: San Giovanni (S) Q0801, 100% Anso Caress Continuous Filament Nylon, R2X stain and soil resistance, SoftBac Platinum backing, and 10 year Texturegard warranty. Cost ~$7.00/sq ft. That’s $63.00/sq yd!! Masland Carpets and Rugs (Belize), 9380-613 Native, 100% DuPont Continuous Filament Tactesse nylon, Stainmaster Xtralife carpet, Textured cut pile. $7.60/sq ft or a whopping $68.40/sq yd. Anyway, you get the idea. We really like the carpets above, but can you clarify if the prices above are exorbitant or normal for the brand and style?
Your ebook states we really shouldn’t pay more than ~$50/ sq. yd for a very good quality nylon carpet. Are the carpets above top-of-the-line or are your quotes a few years old? You highly recommend finding a carpet installer, but we’re new to the area and don’t know enough people to ask for references and the yellow pages only had one name.
Again, your ebook is great!! I never knew the carpet industry was so complex and I’ve learned much. I just wasn’t prepared for the price quotes from yesterday. Thanks for your time and any feedback you can provide is greatly appreciated.
Carpet prices are constantly on the rise. A frieze is a higher priced carpet for sure, but the price you have been quoted is high. I found the Queen San Giovanni online (for less than $30 per yard, so your price of $63 is out of line. I would think you could find it for less than $35 at a retail store. The choice is yours, assuming you want to find these same carpets or similar carpets for a better price, you will need to comparison shop at some other stores. Yes, you have picked top-of-the-line goods but you could save money by not choosing Tactesse or Caress (soft nylon) and avoid Soft-Bac. Yes Tactesse or Caress is soft, and are priced higher for that reason. A standard nylon is more durable and less money. Soft-Bac is not something you really need. If your carpet is installed properly by an experienced installer the Soft-Bac features are pointless. I figure the installation (including tear out and transitions) and padding (8-pound 7/16" Rebond pad) should cost you less than $10 per yard total, so I think you could do the whole job for about $45 per yard if you shop around. Or you could do it all for a lot less if you just steer clear of the soft nylons. Prices have been rising, but there are a lot of high priced retailers who simply charge too much for their products and installation. Finally, it's easy to spend more than $50 per yard for a high quality carpet. My goal is to help homeowners choose a grade of carpet that will meet their needs and goals. Why spend $65 per yard when a $45 per yard carpet will last just as long? Some people are wealthy and cost is not a big factor. My website is for those of us who want to get the most bang for our hard-earned buck.
I read your ebook this morning and went on a mission to search for carpet today. Boy, what a task that is! Your ebook is incredibly helpful though and allowed me to narrow my search immensely. I went to about 6 different places and ended up back at the first place I went. It is an owner operated store in business for 25 years and they had one particular carpet that seems reasonably priced, although it is more than I intended to spend so I wanted your opinion before I make the purchase. It is a Shaw style: Windswept Magic (Q0382), Color: Light House, 100% DuPont Tactesse Continuous Filament Nylon, Frieze (just love that style), Face-weight: 49oz, 7/yr Stainmaster Xtralife, 5/yr Texture, 10/yr Abrasive, Lifetime Anti-Static. The only thing I don't know for sure is the twist but I told them I was looking for a 5 or better and it seems to be at least a 5 from what I can see. Using your charts & forms I calculated (rough estimate) 10 yards for the stairs with risers & 45 yards for the basement and their pricing was $1970.62 total. I was given a total price for the job so I had them break it down for me: Carpet:$23.47 yd. (on sale) Pad: $4.09sy 1/2" 6lb Rebond. Installation: $4.50 yd. Stair Steps: $6.00 per step (13 steps), Stringers: $45.00, Metal Door Strips: $1.50ft (9ft). I'd just like your opinion to make sure I'm not paying too much for the carpet or anything else.
Alan's Answer: Great job! You have done well grasshopper! All looks good to me, you will enjoy this carpet. Now, be sure to get a copy of the warranty. You have to have it professionally cleaned about every 2 years or less. You also need to keep a piece of leftover carpet for any needed repairs and for warranty purposes, be sure the carpet is installed with a power stretcher and don't let the installers leave until you are completely happy. The warranty will have other requirements so read it carefully. Although I don't put a lot of value into carpet warranties, I do think it is important to have you follow the guidelines they set forth. You are another success story for me and I am so pleased that you have avoided buying a carpet that would not make you happy in the long run.
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Q. Home Depot is selling a "home depot brand" carpet that is named Traffic Master. It has a nylon fiber that is solution dyed. The claim is that the color is completely through the fiber. Do you know anything about this carpet or the claims for solution dyed?
Alan's Answer: Yes solution dyed means that the strand is dyed before it is extruded. That is different than a fiber that is dyed "after" it was extruded. Solution dyed means the color is through and through, not just applied to the outside of the fiber. What this means to you is that it will hold it's color well, not fade easily and not come out of the strand due to cleaning or abrasion. Most carpets today are solution dyed so this is not such a big deal. Cheaper carpets are dyed in a vat and those carpets are usually used in apartments or "builder grade".
Don't go head over heals about this Home Depot claim, it is like saying that a new car has an "air bag". Home depot uses private labels, which means they change the names of their carpet so you can't easily comparison shop. The same carpets they sell are available at other stores under a different name. To comparison shop, you would need to take their samples to the other stores in order to locate the same style and color.
Question: Thank you for writing such a helpful book! My husband and I are beginning our carpet buying adventure and with your help, it is not so overwhelming! Some info on our situation: Our current carpet is in bad shape...it is old, stained, wrinkled, and several seams are coming apart. We have pets and are parents of a 10-month-old, who is the main reason why we need to get new carpet ASAP. We can not keep putting off this major decision any longer because, wouldn’t you know it, she notices every separating seam and pulls at them even more…occasionally detaching several carpet fibers to snack on if we would let her. We’ve concluded we want to by carpet to last 10 years: Material: textured nylon (A sales lady told us that frieze holds dirt longer than other carpets if not vacuumed regularly. Is that correct?) Face-weight approx. 40 oz, pad- 7/16 in., 8 lb. I wish I could spend more time researching and shopping around for the best possible choice but as a starting point, we have 2 types: (1.) Mohawk: Elk Grove and (2.) Shaw: Essential Silver or Essential Gold. I like the feel of Essential Gold more than the Silver but since we have pets and will possibly have more children, I don’t know if it will be better to get the Silver. (I don’t know the type of nylon or the face weight of the Mohawk, but it was in the middle price range.) What are your thoughts about our decisions so far? Is there a benefit of choosing one over the other? Could we go with thinner, 6-lb. pad? I also would like your opinion on the backing of the carpet. The Shaw carpet has a "Soft-Bac Platinum" backing which is supposed to prevent wrinkling. Do you have any experience with this? The salesman said it does not scratch the walls during installation. Even though it feels soft, I thought it could possibly hold moisture and possibly start to mold or mildew over time. Does the carpet backing cause any major problems like that?
Alan's Answer: Frieze does not hold dirt any longer than any other carpet, but yes, regular vacuuming is quite necessary to keep your carpet looking new. A textured nylon is a good choice for you. Here are the numbers you want to look for: Face-weight 36 to 45, Fiber: 100% continuous filament Nylon (CF or BCF) Density: at least 2500 Pile thickness: no thicker than 3/4 inch Tuft Twist: at least 5 twists per inch. As far as soft-bac goes, it is not something you really need.
The benefit of not scratching your woodwork is only an issue if the installers are careless, the feature of non-wrinkling is only an issue if the installers don't use a power stretcher. So... while Soft-Bac is good for installers, it is an extra cost for you. I wouldn't buy it, I’d rather just make sure the installers were careful with my walls and woodwork and be sure they use a power-stretcher.
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