Chicago carpet expert educates homeowners
Who we talked to
Joel Schreier practiced law in Chicago for a decade before trading courts for carpet. He and his wife, Debbie, bought her father's long-standing carpet business in 2002.
"I loved being a lawyer, but I have to say that I have enjoyed this much more," Schreier says. "In a retail business, you get to see the impact of what you do every day."
What should I look for to ensure I purchase lasting, high-quality carpet?
"Wool and nylon fibers are the most durable. Wool is a natural fiber that is inherently resilient and is usually the best answer in high-traffic areas like stairs. It cleans up well and also has a 'green' story, in that it's natural and renewable.
"Nylon is man-made, resilient, and there have been great advances in making it softer like wool. Some brands are more stain-resistant than others. The disadvantage with nylon is that it will fade a bit over time even with professional cleanings.
"Density is important. Usually, the higher the price, the more material you get, and the longer it will last.
Density refers to the number of yarn tufts per square inch of carpet.
"There are different types of pile, which is what people usually mean when they talk about the carpet surface. There's cut pile and loop pile. The most popular piles are a combination of cut and loop. It's rather casual and hides some of the wear.
"You also can look at how many twists there are in the fiber. Generally speaking, the more twists there are, the more durable the carpet will be.
"The most common method of construction is called 'tufted.' The fiber is glued into the backing. In a woven carpet, the fiber goes through the backing and comes back up. Woven is higher quality, and you'll see it more frequently with wool.
Rebond pads are made from scraps of high-density foam and are the most frequently used pads in the floor covering industry.
"With padding, density is the key. The density is rated at pounds per cubic foot. If you have a lighter-weight pad, it's not going to bounce back over time. A 3 pound rebond pad, for example, will be lighter and less resilient than a 6 pound rebond pad. We offer upgrades to rubber pads, and those could have a density of 22 pounds. "There also are fiber pads made of synthetic felt. It's a very dense, firm pad, appropriate for stairs, for example.
"We price the carpet with the pad. If you want something that will last five-plus years, you should expect to pay $3 per square foot as a starting point, then add installation costs. If you are willing to spend $5 per square foot, you'll notice an appreciable difference in quality. And after that, you're really paying for style and color. The typical installation cost is about 75 cents per square foot."