More Carpet Buying Q & A
By Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate
Q. Do you know anything about Empire Today carpeting? They come to your home, have no showroom. I’m not sure about quality of carpet or installation.
Empire Today sells carpet to those folks who want super fast carpet installation and don't want to take the time to go from store to store looking for the right carpet deal. I think they are way overpriced, use one-call-close sales tactics and I hear they tend to push low quality polyester carpets, which as you know is the absolute worst fiber to make a carpet. Do I need to say "Let the buyer beware?" Please don't get duped into buying a polyester or a PET polyester carpet if you want your carpet to last more than a few years at best, it will likely mat down and look horrible long before you think it should.
Should you buy carpet from Empire Today? I would never recommend them to anyone. If you want a fair and square deal on new carpet I suggest you visit a locally owned carpet store that has been in business for many years and has experienced salespeople and qualified installers. I've spent years building my database of locally owned and reputable carpet dealers. See who I recommend near you Alan's Preferred Carpet Dealer Directory
Smartstrand® by Mohawk® (Aka Sorona® invented by Dupont®)
Q. DuPont has developed a new fiber that may be as durable as Nylon and has the excellent cleaning properties of polyester. It is known as Sorona or Smartstrand. It is not the same as PET polyester. Mohawk manufactures the carpet. Do you have any experience with this new carpet fiber?
Smartstrand® is also known as Sorona®, Triexta or PTT. It is made of a polymer derived from corn. It has great anti-stain properties and cleans as well or better than other carpet fibers.
Sorona® is not a new fiber, it was invented back in the 1940's and was too expensive to manufacture at that time to compete with nylon. Now that oil is more expensive causing carpet prices to increase significantly over the past 25 years, Sorona can now be offered at a comparable cost to nylon. Learn more about Carpet Fibers
While Sorona® is known for being very stain resistant and easier to clean than nylon, I don't believe Sorona is as durable or resilient as nylon. Thanks to anti-stain treatments like Scotchgard®, nylon is very capable of resisting stains very well and easy to clean, so buying Sorona instead of nylon may not be your best choice if you are looking for the longest lasting carpet. Take my free Carpet Foot Traffic Test to see what grade of carpet you might need to buy.
I suggest you determine what matters most to you, best clean-ability or best wear-ability. Nylon has stood the test of time and will look like new longer than any other fiber. Dollar for dollar, I think that if you care for your new carpet properly, nylon would easily out-perform Sorona in high traffic applications. No carpet is stain proof, and no carpet warranty covers all types of stains.
The key to having your carpet last as long as possible is proper care and maintenance. That means professional cleanings at least every other year, spot cleaning, as needed and frequent vacuuming with a good quality vacuum. I think Sorona® is a good product and may be a good choice for those who want a very stain resistant carpet. You may want to read the Sorona warranty to see what the limitations and requirements are.
Q. We are re-carpeting our 14 x 32-foot living room. We have teens, dogs and two adults. I have gotten a reasonable price, I hope, of $1400 from Carpet One for carpet, install and upgraded pad. The carpet I chose is the Carpet-One gold series 100% Nylon Zwerlon with a 15-year wear warranty, 7 year stain resistance warranty and 5 years texture retention. From this info, can you tell me if this is a quality carpet? I need one that will wear and resist traffic patterns.
Here is what I think.... Carpet One is a franchise operation, anyone can buy a franchise and begin selling carpet through them. All their carpets are private labeled. This means you can't easily shop around to find similarly named carpet to compare prices. Here's the catch, Carpet One buys from the mill, they in turn sell it to the franchise holder, who then sells it to you. The mill makes money, carpet one makes money, and the franchise holder makes money. I tell you this because when its all said and done, you are not really getting a great deal. Everybody's got his or her finger in your wallet. The breakdown. The carpet installer makes about $4 per yard and the pad costs about the same. That's a total of $8 for pad and install. Your price is $28 total per yard and you need about 50 yards. That's $1400. Subtract the pad and labor and you have $20 for the carpet alone. The franchise holder makes at least $2-3 per yard, Carpet one probably takes $3-4 per yard profit. Now you are down to $12- 15.00 carpet at best. You have teenagers, dogs and 2 adults using that living room, and you want it to last at least 10 years, resist wear and traffic patterns? You need a better grade carpet if you want it to perform well. My advice: Check around some more. Go to some local carpet stores. You want a nylon yes, but you want Continuous Filament nylon. Also called BCF or CF. You want a shorter pile more than a taller pile, a shorter pile wears better. Now for some numbers. The carpet you buy should have a tuft-twist of at least 5 or more, a density of at least 2500 or more, a face weight of at least 35, 40 would be better. If the retailer does not provide these numbers to you then shop somewhere that does. These numbers are critical if you want a carpet that will last. Do not buy a looped carpet, no Berbers. You want textured plush or a frieze if you can afford it. Frieze styles have high tuft twist that makes them wear like iron.
Q. We are looking to replace 17+ year old nylon plush carpeting in our living room with another good quality plush carpet. When we find a carpet that we like, the colors aren't right. We went to Prizant's Carpeting (flooring America) and found a Bedford Mills carpet (Olde Beau) that we truly like. We are carpeting over cement (dry, no water concerns). I have never heard of this brand before and was wondering if you had any information on this manufacturer. Also, it was recommended to go with the 8lb padding, is this correct?
The fact is, the top three big mills, Mohawk, Shaw and Beaulieu have bought up most of the smaller carpet mills. I bet that Bedford is a subsidiary of one of these three. Anymore, most larger carpet stores use "private labels" for their products and because of this, you have no way to shop around since the brand name and style names are made up by that store. The exact same carpet may be at the store down the street but it also has a different name, style number and color name. It makes it very hard for buyers to comparison shop. That is why I have my website and informative e-book, consumers need to have a fair shake and I want to help whenever I can. Now, 8-pound Rebond padding is nice and I do think it is a good choice in most circumstances. Lots of dealers sell 6-pound pad and call it 8-pound pad. They know you would never know the difference. An 8-pound pad should sell for less than $4 per yard. A 6-pound pad should sell for about $3.50. What type of carpet you choose will dictate what pad you should use. Don't fall for the fancy pads that offer special benefits like moisture barrier or odor eating pads. They are not worth the extra cost, and I do not think they do any good. I suggest you shop around a little more, just to be sure you are getting the best deal!
Q. I started shopping around and have found a higher quality of carpet, I believe. Have you ever heard of Gulistan carpet? I have narrowed my choices to a textured Gulistan and a Saxony Mohawk I found at Lowe’s. I like the appearance of the Gulistan but the warranty of the Mohawk. Is Gulistan a high quality product?
Gulistan makes some wonderful carpets, but like most mills, they have high end and low end goods. Don't base your choice solely on the warranty, Most warranties are worded in such a way as to rarely come into play. Choose carpet based on the facts. (Now for some numbers. The carpet you buy should have a tuft-twist of at least 5 or more, a density of at least 2000 or more, a face weight of at least 35, 40 would be better.) Beyond these numbers, choose the carpet you like the best.
Follow-up: The Gulistan carpet exceeds all those figures. The density was 3800, the twist 6.5 and a face weight over 50. So it sounds like this is a good carpet. All for about the same price Carpet One quoted me for a much inferior rug. I thank you very much. We are budget conscious folks by necessity so it means a lot to me to get the most for my money.
Another success story! It always makes me happy to see consumers get a fair shake. There are too many carpet retailers out there trying to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. Glad I could help.
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