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How To Buy Carpet and Flooring Wisely


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Carpet Comparison (How to Compare Carpet)



What Makes One Carpet More Durable Than Another? Carpet Quality and Durability is determined by several key factors.


Here is important information homeowners need to know before shopping for new carpet and before you make your final carpet and padding selections. I will explain more about Carpet Specifications and where you can locate or obtain all the crucial information you need to know as you begin shopping for new carpet for your home, office or rental property. 


What is the "Carpet Specification" label?


On the back of almost every Carpet Sample there should be a manufacturer's label that shows the name of the manufacturer; the Type of Fiber used to make the carpet pile; the limited warranty information and the carpet style and color names. The label might also reveal which anti-stain or anti-static treatments have been applied. 


carpet display It may also include the Pile Density Rating, Pile height, Face-Weight and the Tuft Twist rating, but in most cases these specifications are NOT listed on the manufacturer's carpet label. Why? 


Some carpet retailers don't want you to ask too many questions. They just want you to choose your new carpet based on the color you like, the style you like, the overall feel and the final price. 


Which is, from my perspective, the absolute worst way for any homeowner to choose new carpet. Choosing new carpet this way will likely end in you being unhappy with your carpet performance a some point down the road. Let me help you learn the smartest way to choose new carpet and padding for your home based on your needs and goals, the product specifications, and then... the price. 


The 5 Main Carpet Specifications

  1. Fiber Type

  2. Pile Height

  3. Tuft-Twist Rating

  4. Pile-Density Rating

  5. Pile Face-Weight


Carpet Specifications help you determine how durable the carpet is, and whether or not it would be a good choice for your unique needs, goals and lifestyle. Sadly, some carpet manufacturers refuse to place a complete list of specifications on their carpet samples.  


Some Carpet salespeople may intentionally refuse to provide this critical information to you, and that every consumer needs to make wise and informed carpet choices. Don't be the victim of a Carpet Scam! Learn how to combat this common carpet scam and learn how to gain access to all the carpet specifications you require. 



Key Carpet Information for Homeowners:


Learn how to locate or where to obtain the necessary specifications for any carpet you may be considering. If your carpet retailer is not willing to provide you with all the carpet specs you ask for, then you might consider shopping somewhere else. 


Bear in mind that the salesperson will often have to call the carpet manufacturer to gain access to the "spec sheet" and it could take a day or two to gather all the information for you. Be patient! Visit Carpet Specifications to learn more.



What Grade of Carpet Should I choose for heavy Foot-Traffic?

Take My Free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to help determine what grade of carpet you need to buy to meet your needs, goals, lifestyle and budget! It is absolutely critical for you to select the grade of carpet (and padding) that is capable of withstanding your unique level of Foot-Traffic you have in your home.


Why is it so difficult to Comparison Shop for New Carpet?


Most carpet stores carry the exact same carpet brands, styles and colors as other nearby carpet stores. Some carpet retailers may not be willing to provide you with the carpet specifications to make it harder for you to comparison shop. 


They don't want you to shop for a lower price on the exact same carpet down the street. In their mind, it's not fair for their  salesperson to spend hours helping a customer find the perfect carpet... then for that customer to buy the exact same carpet down the street because it was a few dollars cheaper. 


While I do understand their frustration with dealing with customers who want to shop around for the best deals, I believe all consumers deserve to have full and complete access to the carpet specifications and prices. Be aware that getting a cheaper price on carpet may not result in the best overall scenario for you. 


Some dealers have lower prices but their customer service is not as good. Some dealers have lower prices but have less qualified installers. Some dealers have lower prices but don't return your calls when you have a problem or complaint. This is why I have created my own preferred list of carpet dealers that I recommend to my readers.



The Smartest Way To Shop For New Carpet? 

You should take your sweet time shopping for new carpet 

and gradually narrow down your selections to just a few carpets that you really, really like. Then ask for specs sheets on those selections. 


Select carpets that are most suitable for your needs and goals first, the choose the style and color second, and finally choose those carpets that are within your price range. 


Don't be afraid to select a more costly carpet. If you need to do your project in two or more stages, then plan to do so. Never compromise quality over price. Always buy the best quality materials you can afford, even if you need to complete your project in stages over a longer period of time. You will be much happier with the final outcome by doing so!


Consider this:

You might want to consider doing your new carpet project in stages if the grade of carpet you require is more costly than you anticipated. Perhaps you can do the bedrooms and stairs first, then do the living areas when more funds are available. This way you can make sure your carpet will be able to last as long as you intend. 


If you go with a lower grade, your carpet will not last as long as you intend and you may need to replace tour carpet much sooner than you think. Then before you make your final choice, ask the salesperson to provide you with a spec-sheet for each of those carpets you are considering. Now you can compare them side by side based on their specifications. Print out my free Carpet Durability Chart for help choosing new carpet.



Q. What are "Private Labels" on Carpet Samples?

One problem you may encounter when shopping for carpet at home improvement stores like Lowe's or Home Depot, is that they have placed private labels on the back of all their carpet samples. They have deliberately changed the style and color names to prevent you from being able to comparison shop at other local carpet stores. 


What this means to you is that if you find a carpet that you really like, you will have a very hard time finding the exact same carpet at another carpet store. This is a sneaky trick that prevents you from determining if their prices are fair and reasonable. I consider "private labeling" a Carpet Scam!


Chances are good that the exact same carpet is available at other local carpet stores in your area, but are selling them under a different style and color name. Using private labels is how they prevent you from comparing their prices with other nearby carpet retailers. 


This is also how they can get away with charging you more for the carpet, padding and installation. They try very hard to take away your right to shop around to find the best deal. Are their prices fair? How would you know if you are unable to comparison shop? For this reason and many others, I do not recommend buying carpet or flooring from any home improvement store. Learn more: Common Consumer Carpet Buying Mistakes



What is the Carpet PAR Rating System?

Many carpet manufacturers have a durability scale they use to inform consumers. It is usually based on a number from one to five, with five being the most durable. I don't like their rating systems because I don't think it is an accurate true-to-life calculation. I suggest you take my free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to see what grade of carpet you might need for your home. More About Carpet Specifications



What is a Carpet Tuft? 


Carpet fibers, strands or "filaments" are grouped together to form tufts and twisted while heat is applied to "set" the fibers permanently, hence the term "heat set". The tighter the filaments are twisted the more durable the carpet will be. 


For Example: 


Tuft Twist 7This tuft has 7 twists and is a sign of a well-made carpet. I have used green and white to better show the twisting of the tuft. In this example the tuft is one-inch long (tall). 



Tuft Twist 4This tuft only has 4 twists and is not as good and is a sign of a lower grade of carpet



The Number of Tuft Twists is an important factor to help determine how long your carpet will retain its like new appearance. 


Frieze styles always have a higher Tuft Twist rating (usually over 6) and is why Frieze styles are well-known for their durability and retaining a like-new appearance longer than most other carpet styles. (I am referring to Frieze styles made of 100% Nylon)

  • The Tuft Twist rating is based on the number of twists per "lineal inch" of tuft. 

  • The Tuft Twist rating numbers usually range from 3.0 to 7.5


What makes a Carpet look or appear worn out?

Carpets with a low Tuft Twist rating (3 to 5) are more likely to untwist or “blossom”  at the yarn tips more quickly... thus creating a worn out or matted down appearance.


Tuft Twist BloomThis example shows a single tuft that has unraveled thereby making the carpet look matted down and ugly looking. Nothing can be done to repair a carpet when this happens. 



Tufts cannot be re-twisted. Carpets with a lower Tuft Twist rating tend to "blossom" more quickly and as a result will soon appear worn out in main walkways and thoroughfares. 


This is why it is important to choose a new Carpet with a higher Tuft Twist rating. It will resist untwisting of the tuft; retain its like-new appearance longer and tolerate a higher level of foot traffic. When comparing new carpet side by side, you must consider the Tuft Twist to help determine which carpet may be the better choice.



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