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Carpet Buying & Selection Guide 2024


Carpet Samples On Display

Where NOT to Buy New Carpet?

Where you shop for new carpet is super important because there are lots of unscrupulous carpet retailers who use shady sales gimmicks, sneaky measuring scams, charge high prices for low-quality materials, use shoddy installers and provide lousy customer service. The last thing you need is to be overcharged and pressured by a pushy salespeople into buying the wrong carpet. Carpet and flooring is a major household expense and you deserve first-class customer service every step of the way!



How Much Should I Spend on Carpet?

If you are just starting your journey to buy new carpet, you are going to find that new Carpet is more costly than you might expect. There are so many different factors to consider, and obtaining quality installation is hard to find and more costly than you might imagine. 


The Average Cost for Carpet, Padding and Installation?

Average Carpet CostThe average total carpet price for 2024? For a home with moderate foot-traffic, choosing a medium-grade carpet that is designed to last 10 to 12 years, should cost about $6 per square foot for the carpet, padding and installation. 


I am figuring about $4.25 per square foot for the Carpet; about 75 cents per square foot for a good quality Rebond Padding with 8-pound density and 7/16" thickness; about $1 per square foot for Qualified Installation


Of course, you can certainly get it done for more or less depending on your choices, but this is the average total cost for residential carpet replacement as I see it for 2024. This estimate also assumes you will be buying from a reputable locally-owned carpet store. Check out my list of Recommended Carpet Stores


Before you get started shopping for new carpet, I have 2 important questions for you... 

  1. What grade of carpet do you require for your home?

  2. How long do you want your new carpet to last?

You need to know the answers to these questions before you head out to your local carpet store. What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?


You Get What You Pay For!

Please don't fall for any of those home improvement warehouse specials that advertise Free Carpet Installation or other "too good to be true" sales gimmicks. After more than 30 years in the carpet business, I know you will only get what you pay for. I know if you find a super low price on materials you will be getting lower quality materials. You don't want free installation, you want your quality materials put in by qualified and experienced installers. You don't want to skimp when it comes to getting quality materials or qualified installation. If you do not have enough funds to afford the grade of carpet your home requires, then consider doing your project in two or more stages. Don't reduce the carpet quality to meet your budget limitations. Do the living room this year and then do the bedrooms next year, just make sure you buy from an honest and reputable, locally owned flooring store. How Much Does New Carpet Cost?


Why Do Homeowners OVERPAY for New Carpet?

My daughter recently bought a toaster from a discount store. It was less than $20 dollars. It only toasts one side of the bread. She has to turn the bread around to toast the other side. She didn't do her toaster homework. She thought it was a good deal, but she got what she paid for. Why do homeowners end up with carpet that doesn't perform as well as expected? It's because they don't do their Carpet homework! By doing just a little bit of research, most homeowners can quickly learn how to choose wisely and avoid costly mistakes. How to avoid common retail carpet scams.


Misleading Carpet Information?


Carpet SalespersonWhere are you getting your carpet information and advice? From advertising by manufacturers, corporate retailers or in-home salespeople? You might not be getting the whole story. Some salespeople are more knowledgeable and more experienced than others. It's common to get conflicting information from salespeople. Everyone has their opinion but is it the best advice for you? 


Retail Carpet Websites also fail to provide complete, accurate or honest product information. It's hard to know if the information is accurate and complete or blatantly misleading. This should not surprise you because we are living in the age of misinformation. Today, a lot of product information is intentionally skewed or distorted by retail advertising and by corporate brochures. They often limit or omit important facts and details that consumers must have in order to make wise and informed choices. Misinformation does not always mean false information, but it can mean misleading or incomplete. Both are bad news for you unless you uncover all the facts.


Obtaining accurate and complete information is critically important for anyone wanting to purchase new carpet and padding. Why? Because selecting the wrong carpet can be a very costly mistake. For example, If you want your new carpet to last for at least 15 years, then you must choose a carpet and padding that is designed to tolerate your level of foot traffic for the length of time you require. Otherwise your new carpet may not last as long as you expect. How can you make the right choice without having complete and accurate information?


Get Honest Answers To These 4 Key Questions

  1. What Makes One Carpet More Durable Than Another? Carpet Specifications

  2. What Characteristic Makes Carpet Tolerate Heavy Foot-Traffic? Carpet Fibers

  3. What Makes One Carpet Resist Stains Better Than Another? Carpet Comparison

  4. How Do I Avoid Retail Sales Scams & Rip-Offs? Locally Owned Carpet Stores

  5. How Much Does Carpet Installation Cost? Carpet Installation Cost 2024


These are just a few things you need to know before you agree to buy new carpet from ANY retail source. I have dozens of free articles posted on my website to give you all the answers you need to make wise and informed choices. My goal is to help make sure you choose wisely and end up happy with your carpet purchase.



How to Avoid Common Carpet Scams

Buy the wrong grade of carpet and you stand to lose hundreds or even thousands! Choosing the wrong grade carpet can cost you dearly! You might hope to buy carpet that will last for 15 years. What will you do when your carpet wears out in just 3 years? How to Avoid Carpet Scams


We must adapt to change. It's not like it was 50 years ago when there were limited styles and colors but all carpets were well-made and able to last a long time. Today there are thousands of different colors, textures, patterns, grades and quality levels to choose from. Choose the wrong grade of carpet today and you may end up having to replace it tomorrow!


Carpet Grades: Some Carpets are designed to last for only 3 to 5 years... and some carpets are made to last 7 to 10 years. Some are designed to last 15 to 20 years or longer! Whatever grade of Carpet you buy, it will eventually wear-out based mainly on the level of foot-traffic you have in your home: Low, Medium, Moderate or Heavy? Learn more: What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?


Accurate measuring saves you money.

Getting accurate measurements can save you quite a bit of money. An experienced estimator can measure your needs and save you money by minimizing material waste. It takes years to learn how to strategically utilize leftover material from one area to fill in the needs in other areas. Inexperienced carpet salespeople who are not proficient at measuring don't know how to do this. Their biggest fear is not ordering enough material to finish the job. It's safer for them to add an extra 10% to 20% to the estimate than to risk coming up short. Adding on a few extra yards of carpet to your order will relieve their fears and increase their paycheck. It's a win-win for them, but it's a lose-lose for you. This is another reason why you need to buy from a reputable, locally-owned carpet store. Check out my special list of hand-picked, locally-owned Recommended Carpet Stores near you!


New Carpet Warranty Maintenance Requirements

How long your new carpet will last has very little to do with the manufacturers warranty limits or the wear-rating they attach to it. It mostly depends on the amount of foot-traffic you have in your home verses the grade or quality level of carpet and the padding you select! Of course, your carpet will wear out faster if it is not properly maintained. How often should I have my carpets cleaned?


Carpet Quality is Not Always Obvious...

Carpet specifications are the key to understanding carpet quality. A medium-grade of carpet may last 7 to 12 years in your home, however, a higher-grade carpet may last up to 25 years, all depending on the Amount of Foot-Traffic you have in your home and how well you care for your carpet. How often should I have my carpets cleaned?

While identifying a low-cost, cheaply-made carpet might be obvious for most homeowners (costing less than $20 per yard), it can be challenging for homeowners to tell the difference between a medium-grade carpet (priced $20 to $35 per yard) from a higher-grade carpet (costing $40 to $65 per yard or more). You can't tell the difference just by looking at the sample or feeling the softness of the pile.


Nylon vs. Polyester

This is especially true when comparing a nylon carpet with a polyester carpet. It is easy to be fooled into thinking the polyester carpet is a better choice because it is softer, it has a higher fiber face weight, and it's less expensive.


The Nylon fiber is not as soft as the Polyester fiber but nylon is way more durable. Consumers who make their choice based on the look, the feel, and the price, will almost always choose the polyester carpet because it looks softer and has more fiber density. In this case, the phrase "looks can be deceiving" applies.


In a home with medium to heavy foot traffic, choosing a polyester carpet is not a wise choice unless cost is the main concern. What they often fail to mention, carpet made with polyester is prone to matting and crushing of the pile. So if you want your carpet to last as long as possible, choosing a nylon carpet would be the better choice. Carpet Fibers - Nylon P.E.T. Polyester Olefin Smartstrand


Softer Nylon Styles: Not Quite As Resilient?

There are several carpet mills that offer a softer nylon carpet. Carpet made with the "soft nylon fiber" is more costly and not as durable as a standard nylon fiber. The reason is, they extrude the fiber strand thinner to create the softer feel. In doing so it reduces the durability and resiliency of the carpet pile. "Soft Nylon" as they call it may not be a good choice for heavy traffic applications or homes with active kids and pets. Resilience is what makes tufts spring back to their original upright position after being walked on. The Polyester fiber is not very resilient which is why it tends to mat down quickly through the main walkways, on stairs and down hallways.


All Carpets Look and Feel Great When Brand New!

However, cheaply made carpets made from Polyester and P.E.T. Polyester are not very durable or resilient and can quickly mat down in medium to heavy foot traffic areas, especially in hallways and stairs. Once this happens, there is really nothing you can do to fix the problem. If your home has moderate to heavy foot-traffic and you buy a grade of carpet not capable of tolerating heavy foot-traffic, any carpet warranty claim you submit will likely be denied and you will likely have no recourse whatsoever.


Carpet manufacturers expect you to choose a carpet that is suitable for your application. That means if you have heavy foot traffic and you choose a low quality carpet, you can't expect it to last more than a few years at best. In fact, most new carpet warranty claims are denied due to improper use than any other reason.

They can blame YOU for not taking proper care of your new carpet; not following the required maintenance or cleaning schedule, or not choosing the right grade of carpet to meet your level of foot-traffic you have in your home. They may simply say that your new carpet was not installed properly. In any case, they can use any number of reasons to Deny Your Claim!


Why Buy a Carpet Made of Nylon?

Carpets made from Nylon are generally more capable of tolerating medium to heavy-traffic applications. Nylon is the most durable and most resilient fiber on the market today. There are different grades of the Nylon Fiber and you need to learn what they are and what it means to your own unique application. If you have moderate to heavy foot traffic in your home, then I suggest you select a carpet made of NYLON!


Comparing Carpet Fibers

Sorona® is a fiber known by 4 different names. This can be quite confusing for homeowners. Please be advised these four are all the exact same fiber:

  • Sorona®

  • SmartStrand®

  • P.T.T.  (Polytrimethylene terephthalate)

  • Triexta®

Mohawk's SmartStrand® Fiber, is made from Dupont's Sorona polymer. In fact, I hear it is manufactured using the same or similar machines as Polyester. The manufacturers say Sorona is more durable than Polyester or P.E.T. Polyester. It is often touted to be more stain resistant than Nylon, but from my own experience, I think Sorona may be a bit more stain resistant than Nylon, but only to a small degree. I believe Sorona is less durable than a standard denier Nylon fiber. The Sorona Fiber is also more prone to matting and crushing of the pile, similar to Polyester.


Antron's 6.6 Nylon

Stainmaster® and other carpet brands using Antron's 6.6 Nylon fiber no longer use Teflon to help resist stains. Now they use a topically applied solution called DuraTech®. I think Antron's Nylon 6.6 is a very good option to consider if stain resistance and durability is a major issue for you. Learn more about Carpet Fibers


More Durable Carpet Fibers

I am not as impressed with Mohawk's Smartstrand® as some carpet salespeople are. I don't base my opinion from reading a manufacturer's brochure. I don't think it is as durable as they claim, in part because of the many emails I get from unhappy homeowners. The common complaints are 1) that it mats down quickly in heavy foot traffic areas, 2) common spots and stains are not as easily removed as they hoped. It's priced similar to nylon, so if durability is what you need, then I think nylon is the better choice. If softness and stain resistance is your main concern, then perhaps you should go with Smartstrand.


In my opinion, Nylon is a more durable fiber and it also resists stains and cleans easily too. Nylon is the most resilient synthetic fiber available today. What more can you want? A cheaper price would be nice, but that is not going to happen anytime soon. Nylon is more costly to manufacture than all other synthetic fibers. so that means there is less profit from selling Nylon than from other synthetic fibers such as Smartstrand, Olefin and Polyester. Carpet manufacturers are pushing PET Polyester carpet harder than ever before. It is made from recycled materials (pop bottles). This is why you might find fewer nylon carpet styles available from local carpet retailers.


Q. Why Do They PUSH Polyester Carpets?

Polyester & P.E.T. Polyester are among the least expensive fibers to manufacture, which is why manufacturers and carpet salespeople work so hard to convince homeowners to buy it. When you buy a carpet made from Polyester, it translates into higher profits for the manufacturer, the retailer, and the salesperson! Since the polyester fiber is not as durable as nylon, carpet made of polyester needs to be replaced more often.


Why Carpet Specifications Matter!

Learn all about Carpet and Padding Specifications to be sure you choose wisely. The "manufacturing specifications" allow you to determine the grade or quality level of a carpet or padding. Carpets that are made from low-quality materials will wear out faster than those that are made using higher-quality materials. This is why you need full access to the specifications of any carpet or padding you are considering. I've made it easy for you, print my free Carpet Durability Guide Chart it will help you narrow down your final carpet selections like a pro!


The 5 Basic Carpet Specifications

  1. Fiber Type - This is most important - Learn more about Carpet Fibers.

  2. Pile Height - 3/4" pile height or less helps resist matting and crushing.

  3. Tuft Twist - Less than 5 is considered poor, 6 is considered good. 7 or above is excellent.

  4. Face Weight - 35 to 65 ounces is considered good for most residential carpets.

  5. Pile Density - The higher the number the more durable the carpet.

Next you need to be sure to...

After that... You must properly maintain your new carpet by:

Have you printed up my free Carpet Shopping Form? It will help you compare carpets side by side and be sure to ask all the right questions. There are many key factors for you to consider too including - Selecting the correct padding; obtaining qualified installation; and getting a good price!


Take your time, take some samples home for a few days and make wise and informed choices! Buying new carpet wisely starts with knowing how to select the right grade of carpet for your home! This means taking time to compare samples side by side.


Learn more:




About The Carpet Professor:

Looking to buy new carpeting but feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, options and potential scams? The Carpet Professor's website is a free unbiased carpet information resource and buying guide for consumers. Alan Fletcher is a retired 30-year industry expert and consumer advocate. He maintains a special hand-picked list of locally-owned carpet and flooring stores to recommend to his readers.


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