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a Qualified Carpet Installer
©Alan J Fletcher - Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate
In most cases, when you buy new carpet from a reputable carpet dealer they have qualified carpet installation available and make all the arrangements for your carpet to be installed.
But if you buy carpet from a dealer that only provides the materials (cash and carry) then you may have to find a carpet installer yourself and make all the arrangements too.
Some cash and carry dealers have a list of local carpet installers they can provide and you can call several and ask for a free estimate and then hire whoever you think is best.
In some states, all flooring installers must have a state issued Contractors license, Business Liability Insurance and a Surety Bond. They may also need to have a Workman's Compensation Policy for themselves and/or for all their helpers.
Learn More about State License Requirements for Carpet Installers.
"If installed wrong, your new carpet could lose half of its lifespan!"
Finding and hiring a qualified carpet installer or "carpet Layer" as they are commonly referred to...Can be quite challenging. If you hire a bad carpet installer you will surely regret it. The best carpet installers usually charge a little more and are often very busy, but it would be well worth the wait and extra cost!
Carpet Installers on Craigslist
The best carpet installers rarely advertise on Craigslist or anywhere else. So if you are looking there, be very cautious and be sure to check references.
Unfortunately, many installers never become anything more than a poor-quality installer because they either lack any formal training, or don't have the ambition to keep up on the latest installation trends and methods.
They might just prefer to install low-quality products and make enough money to get by. These are not the type of installers you want to hire because you cannot depend on them to do a good job or show up on time or at all.
I call them Fly-By-Night installers because they usually show up late and prefer to work "under the table" and be paid in cash. If you have a problem with your installation you might not be able to get them to come back to fix the problem. They are usually easy to spot because they typically have a beat up truck or van, have papers and junk piled up on the dashboard, wear dirty clothes, wreak of stale beer and cigarettes and they usually have a girl that does the driving.
There is another little-known factor that must be considered when looking for a good carpet installer. The important question you need to ask is "What type of experience do they have?" Here is what I mean: Some carpet installers charge more because they are more experienced installing expensive carpet in custom homes or doing commercial jobs. Some charge less because they are used to installing low-quality carpet in apartments and doing property management work. (rentals or new construction). You need to decide what level of expertise your job requires and then hire an installer according to his level of expertise and pay rate.
Some Carpet Jobs Require More Skill and Training...
Some carpet installation jobs are more difficult than others and require a more experienced installer. For example, installing an expensive carpet in a custom home requires much more expertise than does installing a low-quality carpet in a low-rent apartment.
Of course everyone needs to have their carpet installed correctly, and hiring an installer with minimum of 5 years of experience is where I would draw the line with a simple installation job.
So, if you buy a more expensive carpet or your carpet job is quite large, difficult or complicated or tricky, than you should find an installer with more years of experience. I personally believe that it takes at least 10 years before any flooring installer can truly begin to master their trade, and that's only if they have the strong desire and motivation to become the best of the best, like I did.
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There are several basic levels of experience with carpet installers:
1. Property Management. The experience of this type of carpet installer is obtained from installing lower grades of carpet in unoccupied apartments. They have limited experience with installing carpet on stairs, and limited experience with difficult or tricky installations. They generally use lower quality installation products (glues, seam tape, tack-less strips, transition metals) in order to save money.
Property owners and managers often do not thoroughly inspect the quality of work performed by installers doing apartment work. Many have become carpet installers as a result of being hired as a carpet layers helper and few are formally trained or have completed an apprentice program. This is not to say that you should not hire them, but you need to be aware that many may lack the experience to perform all types of carpet installations. Installers who do apartment work are generally paid the least amount per yard.
2. New home construction. Installers with the bulk of their trade experience from new construction will have increased knowledge of installing different types of stairs. (carpet can be very difficult to install on some types of stairs) They will have more experience with various styles and grades of carpet as well. They always have to satisfy the builder and the new homeowners with their performance, which make them pay closer attention to detail. Builders usually pay less than the standard rate for this type of installer but there is usually a greater volume of work available.
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