Carpet experts offer purchasing advice

We spoke with three highly rated companies on Angie’s List to find out what homeowners should look for to ensure they purchase lasting, high-quality carpet.

Richie Wells: You need something with good density. A dense carpet will give you more wear because there’s more yarn packed in per square yard. The higher the density, the more the fibers hold themselves up. It’s packed so tightly that it won’t crush as you walk over it.

Robert Peoples: For a long-lasting carpet, you want nylon fibers, not polyester. Polyester is less expensive by weight, so the manufacturers are pushing them. The polyester is going to feel thicker because it’s cheaper and they can stuff more in there, so customers sometimes think it’s a better value. But it’s not as durable and it tends to crush more quickly. Nylon has a better memory and it bounces back.

Elisabeth Stubbs: Carpet fiber is important because some fibers are more stain resistant than others and some wear better than others. Pile refers to the look of the carpet. There are cut and looped piles and many different styles. Pile is important because different construction methods cause the carpet to perform in certain ways. A loop carpet is going wear better because it’s woven flat to the backing as opposed to a cut pile, which fights gravity every day to keep from matting and crushing.

Peoples: The twist level on the yarn is also very important. When the yarns become untwisted, the tips burst and become tangled with each other, and it looks matted and crushed. More twists mean it’s less likely to untwist and get tangled. You want a carpet with good tip definition. Shorter, tighter tips tend to perform better than tall and fluffy ones. The thick and tall carpets tend to lay down more quickly, especially on stairs.

What about the padding?

Stubbs: The quality of carpet and the quality of padding go hand in hand. You can’t expect to purchase an inexpensive carpet and the most expensive pad, and expect that the carpet will perform twice as long. However, the better the pad, the longer before the carpet begins to show wear.

Wells: You should always use a padding of at least 6 pounds density, and it should be at least half an inch thick. That helps it hold up over time, so in the main traffic area, where people walk the most, you’ll still have padding in 10 years.

Peoples: Most manufacturers will void the warranty if the padding is taller or thicker than their standard, which is usually about half an inch. You want density instead of height. A 6-pound density is the standard to get a warranty, but it doesn’t cost much to upgrade to an 8-pound pad.

What else do I need to know?

Wells: A good carpet will cost $3 to $5 per square foot. Who installs the carpet is also very, very important. A lot of factors go into installing carpet correctly, such as how the different pieces connect and where the molding goes. You can buy the best carpet in the world, but if the company putting it in doesn’t know what they’re doing, it won’t matter, because it won’t look good or hold up as well.

Stubbs: Most importantly, make sure you get something you like. If something isn’t attractive to you, it doesn’t matter how well it wears – you still won’t like it.


Comments

Can anyone tell me if Shaw's Designer Twist Platinum (T) has Anso Nylon Caress or just Anso Nylon? It's EA097. I'm comparing it to the Silk variety. It's a frieze. Will it be an excellent, strong carpet? We have 3 teenage kids, a dog, and a pool. Will kids walking on it dripping with pool water and a dog be a smart choice for carpet? It's not cheap! Also, I think I like the Balsa color, but I don't want it to look yellow/gold when it's down but rather light beige. Anyone? Thanks!

The best synthetic carpet to purchase is a carpet made from 100% Nylon - Type 6,6 this is a particular type of Nylon and is extremely dense so it holds up well, does not crush, has excellent yarn memory and has the best stain resistance due to this material density. As for yarn weight, stay within 35-40 ounces per square yard. Stay away from Polyester, Polypropylene or Olefin and "blended" materials these fiber materials will crush and mat in a very short period of time. DO NOT buy carpet based on the name ( Tactasse, Frize, etc.) These are purely marketing terms and really have no meaning so far as the fiber material is concerned. Always ask to see a CONTENT LABEL for the carpet you are buying. If they cannot show you one, go some where else. The best style should be a Cut Pile carpeting. Stay away from BCF (Bulk Continuous Filament) since these carpets are really made using one strand of yarn and if snagged will "run." Finally comes the padding, a good quality pad is worth it's weight in gold since padding absorbs the shock of walking and foot traffic across carpeting, plus padding gives that "cushy" feel, so don't scrimp on the pad. Don't accept the padding that is usually included with carpet, it is usually only bits of foam rubber glued together and will soon fail. Purchase a pad made from Polyester, yes, this is the time to buy Polyester, as a carpet pad, it holds up very well.

I disagree with the comment regarding carpet cleaning with steam or hot water extraction. This system over wets carpet fibers and can result in mold or mildew growing beneath the carpet pad. Chem-Dry does not over wet carpets.

I would like to know the best contractors in Amarillo, Tx

Several years ago I got toughly screwed by carpet installation. The carpet had more waves than the ocean in a couple of weeks. The installer would not stand behind it and even the credit card company told me “when that carpet hits the floor it’s yours”. No more fitted carpet for me. When did replace it I used self-installed laminate to my complete satisfaction. For those who still want carpet tiles are now available. Check out the carpeting used in CVS stores. Next flooring job this will be my choice, different color of course.

Looking for recommendations on the best kind of professional carpet cleaning.

Does anyone have any comments about SmartStrand carpet? How is wear, texture retention/matting, durability?

We recently installed 200+ yards of Karastan Smart Strand, a Frieze style in a color called English Khaki. We LOVE it. We had lots of tile before carpet. The experience is like walking on silky sand. Ours does show foot steps but that's part of the casual contemporary look of the carpet. You have to be a little careful when it comes to vacuum cleaner selection. We were told to NOT use a Dyson, and to get a machine with manual height adjustment and adjustable suction (if possible). The Karastan Smart Strand is incredably stain "proof". We tested a scrap piece of carpet rubbing in grape jelly, mustard, ketchup, chocolate syrup, coke and cherry juice. We then placed the stained carpet in the Florida sun for 5 days. Finally we took a garden hose to it. Amazingly, it washed clean! The pile was a little napped from the hose washing but it sprang back to original. We now have that piece on "life test" outdoors in full Florida sun to see if it will fade.

Could someone tell me who is a relibale company to clean a carpet or what chemicals are relieable

Alarm... If you are looking for good carpet, Stick to nylon. Dont go for these crazy newer fibers, there is not enough real life data. lab tests and demos dont mean nothing.... Besides, Mohawk is just a BAD COMPANY WITH BAD ETHICS. I WOULD NOT BELIEVE A WORD THEY SAY. A salesman told me that that smartstrand carpet is not even recyclable, it goes straight to a landfill, I have yet to look into that.

If I'm laying carpet onto a concrete floor, how do I keep the carpet stretched tight since I can't install furring strips at the room edges. Also, do I need a vapor barrier below the pad?

What is the thought about wool carpeting. I read it was tne best for antiallergies and environmental friendly. How do you clean an area rug if there is new hardwood flooring that is not supposed to get wet.

Patty, At AngiesList.com, there are thousands of reviews on service companies, such as carpet installers and carpet retail stores. By becoming a member, you can read reviews from other homeowners who live in your area about their experiences. This will help you make a smart hiring decision.

We're looking to replace our carpet including padding. It hasn't been replaced in over 20yrs. Can you suggest a good company to go w/ and for a good price?

Arthur Dawe The best kind of carpet cleaning is hot water extraction. Renaissance is one of the best carpet cleaning companies in Fort Wayne. The owner and his son do all the work.

Molly , Take the smart strand challenge www.smartstrandchallenge.com the best product in the market IT'S JUST BETTER

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