Carpet Q & A
- Carpet Buying Questions and Answers
Alan Fletcher - aka The Carpet Professor -
30-Year Flooring Expert and Consumer Advocate
Read your ebook
and loved all the information. I went armed with my requirements to
three carpet dealers this last week, feeling very smart I might add.
The problem I'm running into is that no one seems to have the weight,
density, twist information and it's not on the carpet sample.
salesman was good enough to call the manufacturer but no one there seemed to
know the twist number (or even what it was). Another one gave a twist
of 4.5 on an extremely high quality/expensive (63.3 & 2779) carpet and I
have since figured out that number isn't the twist but their rating system
of 1 to 5. I've tried Shaw and Royalty directly on line with very limited
success - just the weight on the Shaw site and nothing for Royalty.
Bottom line: I've had no success in comparing quality in the carpets
I've looked at. I live in a small town area (Medford/Ashland, Oregon)
and the carpet stores have limited numbers of samples. The two locally
owned stores don't have the same carpets to directly comparison shop.
And, of course Carpet One has all private labels. I told the salesman that
buying carpet without the spec information was like buying a car because the
color is pretty and the seats are soft (don't have a clue what's under the
Of course he wasn't impressed with my analogy. I have
three of them coming out to measure and I have a few carpet samples here at
home but am in a quandary as to what would be a good value. I asked
each salesman to come with the necessary information relating to each sample
I took from them but have my doubts whether they will do it and/or the
information will be accurate. Any thoughts on carpet quality/price
comparison? Thanks, C.J.
It's getting more difficult to get the
dealers to supply the carpet specs, but they do have access to it. You
have to be insistent in many cases before they will make the call to the
manufacturer. Calling their distributor will not yield the results, so
carpet one and others who get their carpet from a secondary source have to
dig deeper. It's just not right that consumers should be denied this info.
As far as twist rates go, you can count the twists yourself, it's the
number of twists per inch, so if the tuft is longer or shorter than an
inch you will have to take that into consideration. I look forward to
hearing back from you when you have all three bids in hand. They do make a
power stretcher for stairs, but few installer use it, so the knee kicker
is still the main tool used for stairs.
I found a customer service e-mail for Shaw carpet
manufacturer and asked them directly for the specs on two carpets I'm
considering. I actually got an answer so if I can get the
manufacturer name and style name, maybe that's the way to go. None of the
manufacturer general websites are user friendly for finding a particular
carpet nor do they have the specs so it takes an e-mail. Are you
familiar with a division of Carpet One called No Frills? It is under
the Lippert's company name. Thanks. C.J.
Every locally owned carpet dealer that
buys directly from the mill has a mill representative that services
their account. These reps have all the specs or have access to all the
On the other hand, Carpet one is a huge
conglomerate franchise with hundreds of stores. They get their
stock from the carpet one source distributor that re-labels popular
carpets from Mohawk, Shaw and Beaulieu among others. Their dealers don't
have a local mill rep to call. The corporate office does not reveal
much about their carpets so that they can limit comparison shopping, and
they are reluctant to provide any carpet specifics to consumers. You can
try to dicker with them, or negotiate to some degree, but they have a
billion dollar company with a huge national advertising
budget. This means they don't need to negotiate with you.
Personally I would rather buy from a
smaller dealer, who is more willing to negotiate a better deal and
still provide first class service on a more personal level. I know you
are limited by your location, but you still have the upper hand in a
down economy to play your cards well and win.
Put those carpets side by side, compare a
Nylon BCF to a Nylon BCF and use common sense to determine the best
quality. You know enough to choose wisely. Take your time and keep
emailing me if you have questions!
I'm still working on getting all the information on the
carpets we are considering. I'll let you know the particulars and
the price when I get them. No one (we've been to three different
places) seems to be willing to negotiate prices -- first price is their
last price and as far as I can tell, they are similar in what they are
charging. I've told them I'm getting multiple bids but they hang
I have a question about specialty pads. The dealer we probably are
going to buy from is touting a moisture-barrier scrim that is attached
to the top side of the pad. You said it may make pet urine and
odor problems worse --- How? Is it likely that water could get
trapped in the pad under the moisture barrier and not dry very well?
Is it easier to clean liquid accidents and pet urine without the
moisture barrier? They want $3.24 a yard for their moisture barrier pad.
The price they are
charging for the pad $3.24 per yard is reasonable. My goal is to prevent
consumers from spending a fortune on a pad they don't need. This price
does not worry me unless you have a serious pet accident issue. If I
understand you correctly, the total price for the rebond moisture
barrier pad is $3.24 per yard, not per square foot or as an upgrade
price above and beyond the regular price for pad.
Most rebond pads
have a plastic surface that acts like a moisture barrier of sorts.
Padding is stapled down on wood floors and has seams down the middle of
the room at every 6 feet widths so even the most costly (so called)
moisture barrier pads are not completely sealed and moisture proof.
Any liquid in sufficient quantity will find a way to soak through the
pad and into to the subfloor.
So many dealers
charge so much more for moisture barrier pad. The moisture
barrier is not a good thing if you have a serious pet urine problem. Why?
Pet urine initially creates a small stain on the top of the carpet (about
3 inches in diameter) and then when it reaches the moisture barrier pad,
it spreads out into a much larger diameter underneath the carpet (on top
of the pad) and eventually dries undetected. Dried pet urine is worst in
hot summer months. This makes it virtually impossible for it to be cleaned
from the surface and increases the source of the odor under the carpet.
Even if you immediately clean the 3" spot you see on the surface of
the carpet, the larger area underneath that is affected will go undetected
and be a source of odor every time the carpet is disturbed (walked on).
Does this make sense
Alan, Thanks for your answer.
Yes it makes sense. The price for moisture barrier padding is per
yard. It's 36 cents a sq. foot. My carpet measurements (three
people came to measure) came out to be 58, 87 and 60. Obviously the
middle one is off. My measurements were a challenge since the
hallway is a large "U" shape (approx. 44 feet total) with a
small bedroom (9 X 11 & 8.5 X 9.5) at each end plus a set of stairs.
The person with the 60 sq. yd. measurement did add 4 yards because I
didn't want more than one seam in the U hallway. The other seams
will be at the doorways to the bedrooms (and a couple of closet sections).
Back to the padding: The store said they would order two rolls of
non-moisture barrier padding for me. Don't know the price yet.
But we don't have a pet urine problem since our dog has been totally house
trained for three years and has doggie doors for immediate outside access
even if we aren't home. My other concern would be if we spilled a
liquid and the padding got wet underneath the barrier. Would it dry
okay? Spills shouldn't be a problem since, other than the dog, there are
only two adults in the house. Thanks. C.J.
In your situation,
the MB pad wouldn't hurt. Like I said, most rebond pads have a thin
layer of plastic on the surface. Is that a 6 or 8 pound rebond?
7/16" thick? that's what you need, and the 8 pound would be better
than a 6. Other than that, isn't it amazing how the measuring can swing
so far? 87 yards to 58 that's a 29 yard difference!
Alan, What's your opinion on
carpet with soft back? It feels almost like felt on the back of
the carpet versus a very rough backing for other carpets. Thanks.
From where I
stand, soft back is just another added expense with little benefit to
the consumer. It is not a necessary feature if you use a qualified
carpet installer who is careful to not scratch your walls when they
bring in the carpet and use a power stretcher to stretch in the carpet.
It's been a
month since I've heard from you and I wanted to check in on you to see
how your carpet purchase went. Did everything go alright? Who did you
buy from, and would you recommend them? What was the name of the
person that helped you? I hope I was helpful to you in your search for
the right carpet. Your response will help me help others in your area.
First of all: bless you for your wonderful ebook.
Everything went well with one exception and perhaps this is normal but
I wouldn't think so. The installer's helper installed the carpet
(very forcefully) on the stairs with a knee kicker (this manual form
of stretching was something I expected). But the day after they
left, my husband and I found about four places on the stairs where
entire tufts (like two or three in each instance) came loose when we
pulled gently with thumb and forefinger. We initially panicked
and thought the carpet was unraveling but once the loose fibers were
gone, the carpet looked fine. The stairs was the only place we
found this problem and I have since figured the person was too
vigorous with the knee kicker and the grippers ripped these fibers
from the backing. One tuft even had a piece of backing on it.
Could that be the case? The installer didn't vacuum and I
thought that should be part of finishing his job but he didn't see it
that way. I probably wouldn't hire this person again even though
the carpet installation looks great.
This part totally has nothing to do with the actual installation but I
have to admit the installer did irritate me with his inappropriate
sense of humor. When I spoke of guarantees from the different
carpet stores, his reply was he guaranteed his work...until the check
cleared. Ha, ha -- not funny. That comment as well as a
few others did not sit well with me. By the way, he actually
guarantees his work for one year and he did check out fine with the
BBB and the Oregon State Contractor's Licensing Board.
The carpet store I recommend without hesitation is "No Frills
Flooring" located in Medford, Oregon, best carpet store in our
valley. They went the extra mile to get me everything I wanted.
They didn't balk at my request for specifications on each carpet --
went right to their computer, contacted the manufacturer, and printed
out a spec sheet for me. Also, the carpets are all labeled with
the mill name and the original carpet names, no hiding behind phony
names to confuse the customer. They don't hire subcontractors to
install your carpet but will give you a list of a dozen people who do
the work -- you are on your own to choose someone and hire them.
Since this is what I wanted to do anyway, it worked well for me.
I noticed you don't have a recommendation for our area and urge you to
include No Frills Flooring. I went to four different carpet
stores and this one was by far the best. The name of the person
who helped me at No Frills is Dick Kyker. He was very helpful,
as well as patient and I was impressed with his follow through.
The padding I bought from them didn't have the density designated on
my invoice, so I asked Dick to give me some kind of verification for
my records that I purchased an 8 pound, 7/16 pad. Even though it
was after the carpet/material was completely
paid for and installed, he didn't forget and mailed me the pad
My friends rely on me for recommendations because they all know I'm a
fanatic about research and thoroughly check out each product, company
and/or service person. In fact, I have a "good" list and
a "bad" list for all kinds of products and services in our
area. Once again, I found your book invaluable and well worth the
$15 price. Left to our own devices we might have ended up at
Carpet One -- the store that was the most expensive and had the least
quality of carpet. The salespeople at Carpet One refused to talk
specifics about their carpets and kept circling back around to their
wonderful warranties and guarantees (which we both know are mostly
Oh and by the way, one of the salesmen at No Frills Flooring knew about your
ebook and said even he learned things from it that he didn't know.
If you would like to use any excerpts from my letter for your web site,
please feel free.
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