By Bryan Wanshek, Contributing Editor
Picking out carpet is a big task – one that affects not only the appearance and style of your home, but also the functionality and practicality of your lifestyle. As a result, many decisions need to be made when selecting new carpeting: What style – plush, berber, sculptured. What color – neutral, bold, patterned, dark, light. What type of yarn as the yarn impacts the look, feel, durability, and price. What type of stain resistance. All of these questions create difficult choices, but with some knowledge, you can make the decision that’s best for your home and even save you some money.
1. Find a reputable store and trustworthy sales person. I know it’s cliché, but a reputable store and trust worthy sales person will guide you through the process with relative ease. As discussed above, you need to make many decisions when picking carpeting, however a knowledgeable sales person that asks the right questions and works to find the best solution for your home and lifestyle will enable you to make a smart carpet purchase. Remember this is a decision that is not necessarily inexpensive, and the carpet you select will probably remain in your home for at least 10 years. Take your time and do your research. Ask friends and family about their experience. If you are using a builder, ask who they recommend. If you are working with an interior designer, see what experience he or she has had with carpet stores in your area.
2. Have a carpet installation diagram. The second tip is directly related to the first: Ask your sales person to review your carpet installation diagram. To save yourself an extra trip to the store, bring this with you when you first visit. If it’s a new home or remodeling project, bring the blueprints. If you are replacing existing carpets, draw out a diagram of the rooms and area you wish to carpet with exact measurements, including the layout of the rooms. If this isn’t possible or tape measures make you break out in hives, at least discuss on the phone where seams may be placed, and the total square footage for the installation. A reputable store and honest sales person will spend the time to do this, and work with you to layout the carpet in the most economical manner. But beware, some stores will inflate the square footage to try to increase the price of installation.
3. Beware of sales gimmicks. You’ve seen the ads: buy one room and get a second free. Nothing is for free; you will pay for it in some manner. Sales are fine, but watch that the ads don’t just promote poor quality carpets. Again, the best deal is a carpet that enhances your home, will meet your lifestyle needs, and is planned for the best installation with minimal waste (leftover carpet).
4. Upgrade the padding. The padding really makes the difference in the feel and durability of your carpet. The least expensive padding will perform that way and will lessen the life of the carpet. More dense paddings will increase the longevity of the carpet, and reduce traffic wear patterns. When it comes to the padding, you really get what you pay for. Don’t cheap it here. Buy the best, densest padding you can afford.
5. Research and carefully select the yarn. Wool, nylon, polypropylene, olefin, P.E.T., are all types of yarn that manufacturer’s use to make your carpet and each has features and benefits, and each are directed for a certain purpose. Again, your sales person can guide you through each of these. Natural fibers are luxurious and feel wonderful on bare feet. Man-made yarns like nylon and olefin can increase durability and stain resistance and lessen the cost. Issues such as pets, children, traffic patterns, desired style and feel will help impact what is the best yarn for your home. If you followed the advice in tip 4, you can go with a shorter pile in your yarn and less density although be careful to have a sufficiently dense carpet when going over stairs and to pick a carpet quality suitable for your home’s style.
Remember carpeting is an
investment in your home and daily life. One that will make an impact on
the first day it is installed as well as years later. Do your homework and make a smart carpet
purchase that will beautify your home now and in the future.
Contributing Editor Bryan Wanshek is Vice President of Roger's Flooring with stores in Yorkville, IL (630-553-8500) and West Chicago, IL (630-231-8500). Roger's Flooring can be reached online at www.rogersflooring.com.
Editor's Note: I have used Roger's Flooring for both my own home and a house I built for resale. They were very helpful, worked with me to find the best carpet that I could afford, and worked the layout so tightly that I had hardly any waste. I have used them for hard wood floors, carpet, and tiling.