Carpet Buying Guide
Carpet has a long history, beginning as early as 6000 BC. Over the years, it is has evolved into a quite popular floor covering, used in many homes and businesses. It is made by tufting pieces of yarn into a thick backing. Different fibers, colors and tufting techniques produce the variety of carpet styles available on the market today. Use this information to help you decide what kind of carpet you should buy for your home or business.
Where can I put carpet?
Carpet can be installed nearly anywhere in a home where water will not be a concern. It is ideal for all locations except bathrooms and kitchens.
What choices do I have?
Carpet comes in three major types: cut pile, loop pile, and cut loop. Cut pile is a durable choice and comes in variety of styles: plush, textured, Saxony, frieze, and cable. These will provide everything from a formal look to a shaggy look, and certain types will help hide dirt. Loop pile is made without cutting the strings of yarn and is a durable, “all-purpose” carpet available in two styles: Berber, also known as level loop, and patterned multi-level loop. Berber is a good choice for high traffic areas that don’t require a formal look. Some fibers feature multiple colors that help hide dirt. Multi-level loop carpet has loops of varying heights that create a more textured look. Cut and loop is a mixture of carpet where some fibers are cut and some are looped. This creates a multi-level texture ideal for high traffic areas. Carpet tiles, or squares of carpet, are also available for those who want an easier install and more control over the geometric appearance of the final floor.
The carpet you choose should be based on where the room is, what it will be used for, how much like it gets, how big it is, whether or not there are pets in the home, if there are stairs in the home, and the kind of padding you prefer.
Why choose carpet?
Carpet is versatile. It comes in a variety of styles, colors, and types making it easy for most buyers to find the right carpet to fit both taste and needs. It is the least expensive option for floor covering and a great way to update the look of a room.
Can I do it myself?
Yes! Many of BuildDirect’s carpets offer easy installation methods so that you can place, peel and stick the carpet tiles yourself.
How will my floor wear over time?
Carpet fibers may get matted if excess dirt or sticky substances are allowed to remain on the carpet. Fibers may also unravel or shed. Proper care and maintenance will extend the life of the carpet and reduce the visible wear and tear. If you see signs of wear, repair them as soon as possible to keep your carpet in good shape.
Who Loves Carpet?
People with allergies. Carpet, when properly cleaned on a regular basis, can trap allergens and stop them from getting into the air you breathe. When you have a hard floor, allergens like dust and pet dander can be swept off the floor and back into the air.
People who want easy clean up and maintenance. Simply vacuum once or twice a week, and blot stains with the appropriate cleaner. Steam clean or clean to the manufacturer’s recommendation once every 12 to 18 months, and you’re done.
People who want a budget friendly way to change the look of their home. Carpet is a cost effective flooring option, much less expensive than wood flooring. The styles and colors available make it easy to match carpet to any decor so you can update the look easily.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The easiest and most important part of cleaning and maintenance is regular vacuuming. You should vacuum all your carpet at least once or twice a week, especially in high traffic areas. This will remove dirt, dust, and other debris that can degrade the carpet fibers over time.
When something spills on the carpet, the important thing to remember is not to scrub, as this could damage the fibers. Instead, use the appropriate cleanser to lightly cover the stain and blot until the spill starts to come out of the carpet. The sooner you clean a spill, the less likely it is to stain. The manufacturer will offer recommendations for different cleaning solutions to clean different kinds of spills. Never use bleach, as this will pull dye from the carpet and lead to discoloration.
Clean the carpet as recommended by your manufacturer – usually professional steam cleaning – at least once every year and a half to help extend the life of the carpet and keeping it looking newer, longer.
Calculating the Cost of Carpet
Carpet was once sold by the square yard, but to simplify it for buyers and installers alike, most carpet is now sold by the square foot. Depending on the type of carpet, you may be spending anywhere from $2 to $8 per square foot for the carpet itself. You will also need to purchase a high quality carpet padding, which can range in cost from $5 to $10 per square foot. You’ll also need to tack on a few dollars per square foot to cover installation and removal of any old carpet and padding. These estimates include a bit more for installation, but the actual cost of installation will depend on the contractor you choose to hire for the job.
Preparing for an Installation (how to install)
Before installing any carpet, remove any carpet and padding currently in the room. Vacuum the carpet before removal to minimize the dirt and dust that gets left behind when you pull it up. Vacuum again after the carpet and padding are gone, and for an extra measure, sweep the floor to ensure it’s clean before you start. Check the subfloor to ensure it is level and in good condition. If there are major issues with the subfloor, those will need to be repaired before the new carpet and padding are laid.
There are two basic methods for installation: stretch in or glue down. Stretch in is the most commonly used method, and involves rolling the carpet, cutting it to size, and stretching it tightly across the pad to fit the room. It is generally stapled down, or attached with tackless strips. If the carpet is glued down, it is simply glued at the edges, pressed against the pad, and allowed to dry. Double glue down installation occurs when the padding is glued to the subfloor, then the carpet is glued to padding. Carpet tiles are generally glued down, one tile at a time in a pattern you choose. This is why carpet tiles are easier for a do-it-yourself installation. For more information on how to install carpet, check out our Carpet Installation Guide.
Repairing carpet doesn’t have to be complicated. If the carpet feels loose, you can re-stretch it. Remove all objects from the room, take the carpet off the tack strips, remove tack strips, stretch the carpet, and secure on tack strips in new location once the carpet is tight again. If the carpet is burned, you can use a pair of scissors to trim away the burnt pieces, being careful not to cut too deeply. You may also choose to get a remnant piece that matches your carpet, or cut a small piece out of an obscure area to replace the burned area. You can also use this method to patch holes and get rid of small stains. If your carpet has come unraveled or is snagged, it can be repaired. Find more detailed instructions and information on our Repairing Carpet page.