When you are making a large investment in your home, you want to be sure that the product has a warranty backing it up. There are many different warranties on carpet and you need to understand what they mean in order to be sure you are choosing the right product.
Here is a look at the most common types of warranties offered on carpet, their meanings, and their relevance to your purchasing decision.
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Wear Warranty or Quality Assurance Warranty
This is the most basic warranty available on pretty much every carpet. This is the warranty that the carpet will not fall apart, literally. Honestly, this warranty isn’t worth too much though; it doesn’t really guarantee anything about the actual performance of the carpet.
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Texture Retention or Appearance Retention Warranty
This is the key warranty to consider. This is the warranty against the carpet losing its original appearance (texture) due to untwisting of the fibers. All carpet fibers are twisted together but can become untwisted as a result of wear and tear, causing the carpet to look flat or fuzzy.
Not all carpets carry a texture retention warranty, so be sure to read the warranty information carefully. This warranty will tell you a lot about what you can expect in terms of the performance of the carpet—a 20-year texture retention warranty indicates that the manufacturer has a lot of confidence in the product and it will likely be very resilient; the lack of any texture retention warranty is a pretty sure bet that you would be looking to replace this carpet within five years.
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Stain and Soil Warranty
Just as it sounds, this warranty deals with stains on your carpet and how well they will come out. The first part of understanding this warranty is knowing the difference between staining and soiling.
Staining occurs as a result of something that has come into contact with your carpet and transferred its color. For example, spilling a cup of coffee on your carpet will leave a brown stain (until it is cleaned up).
Soiling occurs as a result of residue left on the fibers of the carpet, and this attracts dirt. Residue can be left behind by spot treatment products that were not fully cleaned or can even be due to oil from your skin transferring to the carpet (usually from the soles of bare feet). The residue acts as a magnet to dirt, which then appears on the carpet in the form of a stain.
Manufacturers sometimes separate staining and soiling in their warranty coverage, offering different lengths of warranty for each. Be sure to read the warranty information closely.
In almost all stain and soil warranties, there is a list of exclusions—substances that, if spilled on the carpet, are not covered under warranty. Commonly, these exclusions include mustard, herbal tea, and non-food substances such as bleach and urine. However, some carpets are now being offered with "no exclusions" warranties, meaning that anything that comes into contact with the carpet is covered under warranty (such as Kraus Perpetual carpets). Be sure to find out whether the carpet you are looking at carries exclusions or not.
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Fade Resistance Warranty
Again, the name of this warranty aptly describes what it covers. It is not uncommon for the carpet to fade over time, due to exposure to direct sunlight and pollutants in the air. Many carpets now carry warranties to protect against such fading. Even with a fade resistance warranty, however, it is still a good idea to keep your window coverings drawn during peak hours of sunlight, especially in rooms that receive a lot of natural light.
Special Note Regarding Stairs
One very important detail in the fine print of many carpet warranties is that carpet that has been installed on stairs is not covered under warranty. Despite the fact that stairs exist in a large number of households, it is considered "abnormal wear and tear" to the carpet when it is subjected to traffic on stairs. Stairs are usually the highest-traffic area of the home, and the impact of your footsteps on the carpet is greater on the stairs than on a flat surface due to the effects of gravity. That's because as you’re walking down the stairs, your full body weight is landing on the stair below.
More and more carpet collections are now covering stairs in their warranties, as technology improves the resilience and manufacturers realize the importance of having warranty protection. The Mohawk SmartStrand collection is an example of such a carpet.
Additionally, carpeting that has been installed in the kitchen or the bathroom is excluded from manufacturers’ warranties due to the exposure to high levels of moisture.
Some manufacturers now do cover stairs in their warranties. If you are concerned about a lack of warranty on your stair carpet, talk to your salesperson about recommending a carpet that includes stairs in its warranty.
Regardless of which carpet you are looking at, be sure to read the warranty information carefully. If you are not completely clear on what it means, ask your salesperson.