to know when shopping for new carpet
Colors, Fibers, Warranties
When you select the floor finishes for you new house, you may decide
to splurge on tile or hardwood for your kitchen and entry foyer.
But for most of your living space, you'll probably conclude that
carpet is the most cost-effective choice. That's the easy part.
Then you have to pick one or two from a vast number of carpet squares
that line the walls of the builder's sample room.
As you begin to get oriented to this dizzying array, the first
thing you'll notice is that the number of color choices increases
with price. Indeed, this is part of the builder's marketing strategy.
Only six to ten colors are usually offered in the lowest, base carpet
grade that is included in the house's base price. The carpet supplier
typically sells the base grade to the builder at or below cost,
and invariably it is of minimal quality. But as many as twenty-four
colors may be offered in the highest upgrade category, where the
builder's (and his supplier's) profit margins are greatest. Beyond
color and price, there are additional but more subtle differences
between carpet grades that can make one choice prudent and another
The first thing to note on the carpet samples is the fiber type.
Your builder will most likely offer nylon, polyester, and/or olefin.
Of these, nylon is the most widely used and the strongest. A nylon
carpet never becomes threadbare, and in this conventional sense
it never wears out. But nylon will "ugly out" and look
ratty if not properly maintained or if inferior padding has been
installed. Nylon will also stain if the fibers are not treated with
a stain-resistant product such as Dupont Stainmaster. Higher quality
nylon fibers are "branded" and the carpet label will list
the fibers as "100% nylon Monsanto
or "100% Dupont Masterlife." Lower quality, unbranded
nylon fibers are listed simply as "100% nylon."
Polyester carpet fibers are less strong than nylon and tend to
shed some, but they are more stain resistant and the colors are
brighter. Polyester is also cheaper than nylon and more environmentally
benign. Some or all of the polyester fiber material, depending on
the manufacturer, is made from recycled plastic bottles. Image Polyester,
a division of Mohawk Carpets, manufactures polyester carpet made
of 100 percent recycled material. Phil Cavin, Image's national procurement
officer, estimates that the firms' manufacturing activities consume
about 5.5 million bottles a day. Before you buy a whole house full
of polyester carpet, though, try to see a room with it. Some people
find the carpet sounds odd when they walk on it and it has a different
sheen because it is plastic.
Polypropylene, commonly called olefin is the weakest of the three
synthetic fibers, but this material works well when made into looped
berber-type carpet with a knobby weave. Its knobby berber texture
conceals dirt, even in light colors. For this reason, olefin berber
carpeting is often selected for high-use areas such as family rooms.
Next check the twist level of the individual carpet fibers. All
carpet yarns are twisted together to form lengths of yarn, but the
degree of twisting varies. The higher or tighter the twist, the
better and generally more expensive the carpet. A twist rating refers
to the number of times the fiber is twisted together in a one inch
length. With a loop-pile carpet such as a berber, the twist level
is less critical because the fibers are looped in and can't unravel.
Now check the density, a measure of how tightly the fibers are
attached to the carpet backing. The closer together the fibers are
attached, the less wear to each individual fiber, and the longer
the carpet will last. To test for density, see how easily you can
move the carpet tufts to see the backing. The harder it is to see,
the higher the carpet's density.
Face weight measures the number of ounces of fiber per square yard
of carpet. It is a significant quality determinant, but harder to
distinguish by visual inspection. The higher the face weight, the
more yarn, and the better the carpet, with this caveat: A carpet
with a longer fiber can have a higher face weight, because face
weight simply measures the weight of all the fibers above the primary
lacking. But a longer-fiber, higher-face-weight carpet can still
have a low density, and it will not wear as well as a carpet of
identical face weight but shorter, more numerous fibers and higher
To determine overall carpet quality, you need to look at face weight
and density as well as the twist level. As a general rule of thumb,
carpet with a twist level of 4.0 or better, a density of 3,000 to
4,000, and a face weight of 35 to 40 ounces will hold up well. For
production-built houses in the middle or lower price ranges, such
a carpet may be two or three upgrades above the builder's standard.
For production-built houses in the upper price ranges, some builders
may offer carpets with face weights that can range from 45 to as
high as 70 ounces.
Durability is another important factor in selecting a carpet, but
it is difficult to ascertain by visual inspection. Many carpet manufacturers
assign a durability rating to each carpet style after testing it
by simulating wear conditions over time. For example, Shaw Industries
has a 20,000 steps, the equivalent of about three years of normal
residential use, are taken by six to eight people walking in shifts
for eight hours a day over a five to seven day period.
The higher the durability rating of a carpet, the more slowly it
will lose its like-new appearance. Shaw measures the durability
of its carpets on a scale from one to five, with five being the
most durable. For a household with more than four adults, toddlers,
children, teens, pets, or one that entertains frequently, a durability
rating of 3.5 and above for heavily used areas is recommended. For
other households, a durability of 2.5 for most rooms will be adequate.
While Shaw uses the sliding scale, other manufacturers describe
their carpet's durability by rating its performance in individual
rooms-bedroom, living, dining and family rooms, hall, and steps.
Still others rate their carpets by their suitability for light,
normal, heavy, and extra-heavy foot traffic.
Besides helping home buyers evaluate an individual builder's carpet
offerings, all of these factors enable buyers to compare one builder's
carpet offerings to another's. There is no industry-wide standard
for disclosing this information, but many manufacturers voluntarily
list it on the back of their samples. Manufacturers who do not will
usually give out the figures when asked. If you don't see any rating
on your builder's samples, ask the sales agent to track it down
from the builder's carpet supplier.
Yet another characteristic that distinguishes different grades
of carpet and can serve as a quick test is the backing. An inexpensive,
low-end carpet has big squares on the back. Better grades will have
small tighter squares and the best quality carpets have a woven
A carpet manufacturer
s warranty is also telling, especially the mat and crush clause
that attests to the carpet fibers' "memory retention"
-their ability to retain their twist level and return to their original
upright shape after being walked on. A 15-year mat and crush warranty
is offered on more expensive carpeting., and top-quality carpets
offer a 25 year warranty. A production homebuilder is unlikely to
offer this, but you should try to get carpeting with at least a
10-year warranty. If the warranty is shorter that this, the carpet
will show wear in a few years. A production builder's base-grade
carpet will likely have only a five-year warranty, but check the
In the market for a new carpet? Be sure to check out the performance
characteristics to ensure you choose a carpet that will hold up
well and have a long life. There are several things to look for,
including a twist in each individual yarn. Several qualities give
performance, including the density of the carpet and the amount
twist, or crimp. Density should not be confused with the height
of the pile. Pile height has nothing to do with performance. Generally,
the more twist in the carpet yarns, the more spring, which hides
footprints. However, there is a tradeoff. Colors are more vibrant
in carpets that don't have that crimped texture.
Other properties to look for are stain protection, soil protection
and static resistance. Most homeowners clean their carpets about
once a year, so in the interim, you want the carpet to perform as
well as possible in these three areas.
The carpet industry has done some amazing things in protection
against stain, soil and static. When no carpet is completely protected,
today's products are better than ever.
When purchasing a carpet, be sure and buy from a reputable dealer.
Look to a quality-oriented decoration center for a good selection
of custom carpets as well as better-grade pads and qualified installers.
Remember that with carpet, as with many other things in life, you
usually get what you pay for.
Your Hometown Carpet Cleaner - Wilson - Rocky Mount
Carpet Magic is a family owned and operated carpet cleaning &
hard floor cleaning business. We are located in Wilson, North
Carolina, but our mobile cleaning plant comes to your Wilson
or Rocky Mount area home or business. Ades takes all IICRC classes
( Institute of Inspection Cleaning
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He will be on every job.
Certified Carpet Cleaning Services in WIlson NC
Hello my name is Ades Gros, I started Carpet Magic Carpet
Cleaning in Wilson, NC. in 1992, from then on have been
taking IICRC ( Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration
Certification ) training classes. For Carpet Cleaning - Odor Control
- Upholstery Cleaning - Tile & Grout - Mattress Cleaning - Water
Call Carpet Magic today to schedule your cleaning appointment.
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