How to buy a new carpet

New carpet is a long-term investment to improve the value of your home

Carpet is a costly investment, but one that may add value to your home over time. When you buy new carpet, you want to choose carpeting that provides comfort and style, is reasonably priced and carries manufacturer warranties. When shopping for carpet, practice due diligence and visit several different retail outlets. Ask about installation costs, labor warranties on installation, and if the installers are licensed contractors. The final cost of your carpet will include not only the carpet itself, but the installation and cost of padding. Most retail outlets break down the cost into cost per square foot or per square yard.


Step 1

The right fiber

The different types of fiber used in making carpet have an impact on the quality of carpet and its appropriate use. Common fiber materials used in carpet construction include polyester, nylon, olefin and wool.

Polyester is a soft material, but tends to shed when vacuumed. Nylon is a slightly more rigid fiber, and retains its density better than polyester. Olefin is primarily used in commercial applications, though home offices with high foot traffic and rolling office chairs would benefit from olefin carpeting.

Wool is soft, luxurious and expensive. It also requires higher maintenance than other types of carpet. For the average homeowner, polyester or nylon is the more logical choice.

Step 2

The smile test

When shopping for carpet, ask the sales associate for a sample of the carpet that interests you. Hold the sample of the carpet by opposite corners and bend it back, forming an arch. If you see the backing, the carpet is smiling at you. You do not want a smiling carpet.

Check the specifications of any carpet you’re considering purchasing. Look for the density and twist numbers. The density of a carpet indicates how many fibers there are per square inch. The twist tells you how many times an individual fiber, or yarn, has been twisted. The higher the numbers, th denser the carpet. A dense carpet will not smile at you.

Step 3

The right color

Carpet is a sizable element in your design scheme. It extends from wall to wall, from room to room. When considering color, consider that you will live with that color for years to come. Avoid bright, trendy colors such as turquoise, cherry red or neon green. Mid range tones in brown, blue, green and gray are likely to work well with most design schemes.

Take carpet samples home with you. The lighting in the showroom is likely different than that in your home. The color of the carpet may be a mistly blue in the showroom but a dusty gray in your living room. If possible, bring fabric and wood samples with you to the showroom. This will enable you to select appropriate samples to test at home.

Step 4

The right warranty

Ask yourself, «How long am I going to be in this house?» Carpet warranties range from 5 years to 25 years or longer. The longer the warranty, and the more coverage it provides, the more expensive the carpet.

If you intend to remain in your home for more than ten years, purchse a high-end carpet with suitable warranty. Select a warranty that covers wear, texture retention, and staining. The carpet may be more expensive, but it’s better carpet, intended for long-term use.

If you plan to sell the home in the next five years, purchase a carpet that offers at least a seven-year warranty. This ensures that should you have a manufacturing issue with the carpet or any issue covered under the warranty, the issue will be corrected before you sell the house.

Things Needed
• Color samples from your home
• Carpet samples from the sales outlet
• Time to visit several carpet outlets

Tips & Warnings
• Get the best padding you can afford. Good padding extends the life of the carpet.
• If you have a limited budget, consider purchasing carpet the dealer has in stock. These may be lower quality, but do have limited five year warranties.
• Be sure an adult is available to be at home on the day the carpet is to be installed. Many contractors will not install without an adult present.


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