There's a lot to consider when choosing and buying new carpet and it can feel overwhelming. Taking your time, doing the proper research, and finding the right retailer will make the job manageable and enable you to select a carpet you'll be happy to live with for years to come.
Read on to learn how to choose carpet by thinking about the answers to the following important questions:
- Which fiber type works best for your home?
- What type of manufacturer warranty do you need?
- How will you determine carpet quality?
- How do you find a retailer that you can trust?
- How can you compare quotes?
- Which style and color of carpet do you prefer?
- How should you choose carpeting for living rooms and bedrooms?
Do learn about the fiber types to figure out which one will work best for you. Not all carpet fibers are created equal. There are natural fibers, such as wool, and synthetic fibers, which are commonly used in wall-to-wall carpets. Understand the characteristics of each fiber type so that when you go shopping, you can almost immediately narrow down your selection.
Don’t assume that one fiber is always better than another. Each fiber type has its strengths, but the other components of the carpet, such as fiber twist, have an equally big impact on how the carpet will perform.
Do learn about the manufacturer’s ratings and warranties. Carpet is typically a big investment so make sure that you're buying a product that is covered for your particular situation. For example, many warranties don’t cover stairs, so if you are buying carpeting for your stairs, look for a warranty that includes that type of installation.
Even if you never plan to use them, the warranties demonstrate the faith that the manufacturer has in its product. If a warranty doesn't provide long or comprehensive coverage, then that is a good indication the manufacturer doesn't expect the carpet to stand up well for a long period.
Do learn how to tell the quality of a carpet. You don’t have to become an expert on the subject, but if you have an overall sense of the various factors that contribute to a carpet’s quality and how well it will perform, then you can avoid choosing the wrong carpet.
For example, don’t pay too much attention to the face weight, which calculates the weight of the carpet pile per square yard. It may mean there's more yarn in the carpet. But the face weight doesn't have anything to do with the construction and durability of the carpet fibers, which are more important factors to consider in determining how a carpet will perform over time.
Unfortunately, face weight is marketed as an important selling feature and can lead you to believe that a higher face weight equals a better carpet. This is not always the case, and buying a carpet based on its face weight alone can result in buying a carpet that does not meet your needs.
Finding a Retailer
Do shop around and find a retailer you are comfortable with. You may feel vulnerable when shopping for carpeting because the quality of the carpet isn't always immediately apparent, so you often have to trust what you see and are told. As part of your research, ask the retailers you visit the following questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- What is included in the price?
- Will you measure the room for the right carpet size?
- Who does the installations?
- Are you/your installers bonded and insured?
- Do you have references?
Don’t assume that a big box store or national chain will always be the best option. They tend to spend more money than smaller carpet-only stores on advertising campaigns designed to grab your attention. Compare all sizes of carpet dealers to help you decide where to buy your carpet.
Don’t allow yourself to purchase something you don’t feel comfortable buying. Welcome a retailer's input, but don't make an impulse buy you might regret. If you aren't confident you've done all the necessary research, asked all the important questions, or feel hesitant to sign on the dotted line, hold off on making your purchase until you're ready.
Do get several quotes. You may find that prices vary significantly from retailer to retailer, so once you've selected a carpet, get a price from two or three stores. Make sure that the price is inclusive of everything you will need. If you are having your carpet installed, make sure that all installation charges and taxes are included. If you're buying only the carpet, make sure that the underpad and any other materials you will need are included, as well as taxes.
Don’t try to compare quotes on different products: If you're getting quotes from Company A and Company B, make sure they're providing them on the same carpet, or at least the same quality of carpet. Otherwise, you're not giving the retailers a fair chance at winning your business and you're not giving yourself the benefit of knowing for certain which retailer can offer the best price.
Deciding What You Like With Confidence
Do decide on a style that works for you. While there are hundreds of carpets available, they can all be narrowed down into one of only a few style categories. Learn about the benefits and drawbacks of each carpet style, so that you'll know whether it will work in your home.
Don’t base your decision solely on appearance. Choosing a carpet without considering the details of its construction could mean that the carpet won’t look the same in a few years’ time due to poor performance or staining and soiling.
Do think about what thickness of carpet is best for a room. You'll also want to think about the differences in pile heights. Your choice of carpet padding will also impact the thickness of your carpet. Here are two general rules of thumb for selecting wall-to-wall carpet:
- If you're choosing a carpet for your living room, you'll probably want a synthetic, lower-pile carpet with excellent wear and cleaning capabilities to handle the type of high traffic that can quickly crush fibers.
- You'll likely prefer choosing a carpet for a bedroom that's plusher with a higher pile since it doesn't get as much foot traffic as other living areas and won't crush easily.
Do take samples home. The color of the carpet will appear different under various lighting conditions, so the way it looks at the store may not be how it will look in your home. Ask the retailer for a sample of the carpet that you can borrow, even if it is just a small piece. Have patience with yourself when choosing a carpet color by living with the samples for a day or two and seeing how each sample looks in all different types of lighting.