Carpet Buying Q & A
By Alan Fletcher, 30-Year Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate
Q. Does the brand of carpet padding make any difference? One business recommended their pad, which was Mohawk, 6-lb. 1/2 inch. Said they used to use Carpenters, but like the better quality of Mohawk. The business with the best cash and carry price uses Flexible Foam Rebond, 6 lb., either 7/16 @ @3.25 sq. yd or 1/2 inch @ 3.99 sq. yd. Their price for the carpet was $1.30 difference--15.99 sq. yd vs. 14.69 sq. yd. Would the cheaper price be a good deal if I purchase the Flexible Foam rebond pad?
Here is what I think...Carpet dealers usually buy pad from whoever will give them the best price. They may change pad distributors from time to time. Don't be fooled by them throwing around names. Pad is pad, the thickness and the density is what really matters. The real scam is, retailers will sell you 8-pound pad and then install a 6-pound pad hoping you will not know the difference! Flexible Foam Rebond pad? The term "flexible" is meaningless to me. All pads are flexible. Pad makers like Carpenters, Mohawk or Hickory Springs all make good quality pad and use similar methods to manufacture it. When a carpet store brags about their pad, it is all hype, all they care about is getting a cheaper price from the manufacturer. I have used pad from all of these companies. They are all basically the same to me.
Learn more about How to Choose Carpet Padding.
Q. I know you have addressed the P.E.T. question multiple times, and are very much in favor of Nylon. We have found a Nylon/P.E.T. blend carpet from Beaulieu that is very nice (at least on the sample!). This is for a very large family room in our basement that will be used for entertaining. Our two children are older (teens), and none of us wear our shoes in the house… ever! The face weight is 70 oz, twist is 5.65 and density is 2897 – this stuff feels great to the touch. Do you have the same (or similar) reservations for the 80% P.E.T. / 20% BCF Nylon blend carpets? Given our situation, if we have found a carpet with the coloring and "feel" we like – would we be OK with the blend – which is priced comparably to some of the mid-tier nylons we’ve looked at? Thanks, in advance for your assistance.
My take on poly/nylon blend: I don't think a polyester/nylon blend is a good choice for you. Sure it is soft. Sure it cleans easily. But it will still mat down in traffic lanes and high traffic areas. That soft thick pile is sure tempting isn't it? Well if you were to read all the horror stories I hear about polyester it is plain to see that the soft pile is a tempting ruse to get you to buy and soon afterwards the true nature of the beast is revealed.
Read more about Carpet Fibers
Q. I had a salesman out tonight who said even though his carpet is polyester, it is an excellent wearing carpet. My question is, have you heard of Empire Today Carpets? I want to know if you know if polyester can out perform a nylon Stainmaster carpet.
My Take: Be careful...Polyester mats down in a hurry, especially in traffic lanes like hallways. Don't buy polyester if you want your carpet to last more than a few years. Nylon is the most durable fiber available today.
Read more about Carpet Fibers
Empire Today? Yes I know all about them and their sales tactics. I don't recommend Empire Today. I suggest you visit a locally owned carpet store yourself and I bet you will save money and headaches.
Q. What is the best time of the year to get the "best deals" on carpet?
December 15th thru April 15th is when you can find the best deals, It's because of Christmas and tax time. Most people don't know that you can negotiate with retailers and carpet installers, as long as you buy from a locally owned carpet store. Big Box retailers don't negotiate. The key is to know what you want and how much it is normally. You should easily be able to get a 10% discount or more. It's like buying a car, if they won't negotiate, walk out the door. If they really want your business they will not let you drive away.
Q. I've read your ebook--it's packed with information, and I am appalled at how ignorant I've been about buying carpet. Thank you for imparting the wisdom you've gained in your 3+ decades in the business. Before buying your book I wrote to you about choosing carpeting to cover the concrete floor in the playroom area of our basement. (Based on your response, I decided against Berber--thanks for saving me from a bad decision.) We have waterproofed our 1920s home, but once in a great while water still finds its way inside. Either through the foundation wall if there's an extremely severe storm, which happened in October and caused water problems for many homes and businesses here in the Chicago area, or up from the drainage hole leading out to the street. Our street has lots of old trees whose roots tend to clog up the drainage tiles we're working on solving this. I've decided, a bit hesitantly, to go ahead with carpeting but to have it bound all around, on the theory that if it gets wet, it can be easily pulled back and allowed to dry and the affected padding replaced reasonably easily as well. I've done some shopping and have some questions for you before I proceed:
1) I am considering two Mohawk carpets. One is a nylon frieze; the other, a more economical polyester.
Your book warns against any carpeting with polyester and/or new fibers; sure enough, the local (and long-established) carpet store did show me a "new" polyester made by Mohawk. Its called Horizon and it's made of Smartstrand 3GT Polyester with DuPont Sorona Polymer." It's supposedly highly resistant to wear and stains and comes with a dizzying array of warranties. Should I continue to consider this option, or should I ignore it and go with a nylon frieze?
2) The local carpet store recommends a felt pad, but a shop-at-home service I consulted recommends eight-pound rebond. The carpet store offered felt for two reasons: one, they get a deal on it so it's supposedly cheaper for me, and second, they've found that although this padding retains water when wet, it tends to keep the water away from the carpeting itself. Who is right? I'm worried that if the felt pad gets even the least bit wet, it will need to be replaced; might rebond pad withstand at least some moisture better, or would it mildew just as easily?
I would go with the frieze and a synthetic fiber pad. Polyester mats down in a hurry because it is not a resilient fiber, no matter what they say or claim to have done to it to make it new and improved. Smartstrand is a relatively new fiber by DuPont that is a polymer derived from corn. They claim it is highly stain resistant and very durable. I tend to stick with the tried and true, which is nylon.
Rebond pad in a potentially wet area is like putting down a sponge. You can’t lift it when it’s wet without ripping it. A synthetic felt pad would dry out easier and quicker and not promote mildew. Be sure to get a "synthetic" fiber pad, not felt pad made from recycled fabrics. Be sure the pad is not glued down to the concrete floor, just loose laid so you can easily remove it and take it outside to dry if need be.
Learn more about Carpet Padding.
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