When Linda Sherwood of Lake City,
Michigan purchased Berber
carpet for her living room, she made it clear to the salesperson that she
was looking for a carpet that can withstand her four children, two dogs and
a cat. No one at the carpet store mentioned that Berber carpet isn’t a
good choice for a family with small children or pets. How to Select the Right Grade of Carpet
Sherwood didn’t find that out until just over a month after her new
carpet’s installation as she watched helplessly as a snag on the carpet
was pulled by a curious child.
“It was like getting a run in your nylons,” Sherwood recalls. “But
this was my living room carpet not a pair of $3 nylons. Now I have this run
the width of my living room. At first I tried to repair it by using super
glue, but it didn’t work.”
The run in her carpet can be repaired, but the cost of repair rivaled what
Sherwood paid for her carpet.
“I’ve decided to live with it for now,” Sherwood said. “Still, I was
shocked when a few months later I read in a book that Berber carpet isn’t
recommended for small children and pets because it can snag and run easily
and is difficult to repair.”
Sherwood found out the truth about Berber carpet when reading “The
Complete Carpet Buying Guide,” by Alan J. Fletcher. With more than 30 years of
experience in the carpet business, Fletcher offers advice to consumers
shopping for carpet including tips on carpet selection, padding, and
Pam Louden of Grand Rapids, Mich., had a similar experience with Berber
carpet in her bedroom.
How to choose the right carpet style
“I didn't realize the dogs' nails would catch in it and leave little
"pulls" all over the place.” Louden said. “It was like
carpeting your room with a sweater.”
Fletcher says that Berber carpet has become a popular choice with consumers
in recent years because of its elegant appearance.
“It’s tufts are looped and aligned in rows for a clean uniform look,”
Fletcher said. “When choosing this type of carpet, be sure to select one
with smaller loops to get the best wear. Learn about Carpet
“If you have young children or pets, it’s probably best to go with a
plush style to avoid the possibility of snags.”
Don’t Skimp on the Padding
Determining how long you want your carpet to last is important in
determining what grade of carpet to buy, Fletcher said. Choosing the wrong
carpet fiber may translate to replacing the carpet in just
three to five years.
If you want carpet to last longer, the quality of the pad can help extend
the carpet life, Fletcher said.
“Carpet padding is the heartbeat of your carpet and installing a good
padding is very important,” Fletcher said. “Even if you plan on spending
a small amount on carpeting, plan on installing the best padding you can
According to Fletcher, rebond pads are most often used in homes. Made from
recycled materials, it comes in every thickness and density.
Some types of padding are required with certain types of carpet. Failure to
use the correct padding could result in voiding a manufacturer’s warranty.
Best Overall Value
“Nylon is the best fiber to choose, and selecting fibers other than nylon
can reduce the longevity factor,” Fletcher said. Nylon is also one of the
more expensive choices. Carpet fibers - what you need to know before you buy carpet
The type of materials used, the amount of fiber, its weight and density, as
well as how it is constructed is all used to determine the grade. In
general, the thicker and denser the pile, the higher the quality. Fletcher
warns, however, that a thick polyester carpet isn’t comparable to a thick
Fletcher recommends you check the carpet’s fiber twist. In plush styles of
carpet, the tufts are twisted in the same way people curl their hair. The
more the fibers are twisted, the better, Fletcher said. If you count the
twists, five to seven twists per inch is good. Less than four twists may not
meet your expectations.
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