Boston carpet installer offers purchasing advice

Boston carpet installer offers purchasing advice

Peter Richard has been working with flooring since elementary school, when he would vacuum floors for his father's residential cleaning company to earn money. "My father didn't believe in allowance," Richard says jokingly.

In high school, he worked with installation crews and eventually started his own floor measuring service working for several flooring installation companies. Richard's been with Mal Elfman's for 11 years and enjoys helping customers pick the right carpet for their needs.

What should I look for to ensure I purchase lasting, high-quality carpet?

"You have to look at the overall construction of the carpet. Fiber is the largest factor and the only thing you can consider on its own. The fiber gives the carpet its durability and softness.

"The best is wool. It's the most expensive but it's the most durable, softest and will last the longest. Wool also contains natural stain fighters, like lanolin, whereas synthetic fibers have stain fighters added.

Of synthetic fibers - nylon is typically the best, but there are dozens to choose from. Synthetic carpet isn't as soft and durable as wool, but there is a big difference in price. A wool carpet may cost twice as much, but may last twice as long and be more cost-effective in the long run.

"Pile, density and weight come into play, but individually these aspects are misleading. You sacrifice softness with a loop pile, but gain durability. Density is good for durability, but a very dense carpet can sacrifice softness.

"You also have to consider where the carpet is going. In a low-traffic area, you can sacrifice durability and go for comfort without worrying about it getting matted down, but on stairs you want the most durable product you can find.

"The quality of the pad is also important. You need to match the type of pad with the type of carpet. You don't want movement in the pad because it increases the likelihood of bubbles in the carpet. I'd never suggest using an inferior pad, even with a cheaper carpet.

"A high-quality pad will make a difference on how long the carpet lasts. The pad's a very minimal part of the price, but it's critical to the longevity of the carpet. It'd be a bad idea to neglect the pad to try to keep cost down. Whatever you buy, make sure you like it. It doesn't matter how durable it is if you hate it."

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