"How To Choose New Carpet Like a Pro"
By Alan Fletcher - 30 Yr Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate
Carpet Measuring Scams
You Need Your Home Measured Accurately!
If you were to blindly trust a dishonest or inexperienced carpet salesperson to determine the correct measurements for your home, you could easily be over-charged for materials and including overpaying for padding and installation costs too.
What is Carpet Over-Measuring?
Most two-bedroom homes require about 100 square yards of carpet, or 900 square feet. If you were to select a carpet that cost $20 per square yard installed, for 100 yards your total price would be two thousand dollars.
When the salesperson measures your home, all they have to do is say that you need 110 yards of carpet, your total price would then be $2200.00, a difference of $200! It really is that easy to overcharge you for materials and labor, and it is very common!
M is a learned ability and it takes years to get really good at it. An experienced carpet salesperson can save you a lot of money by efficiently and strategically measuring your home. The strategy involved is to efficiently utilize leftover or excess carpet from one area, and make use of it in another area to reduce the overall amount of material waste.
This can potentially save you a lot of money but it helps if you are using the exact same carpet in several rooms and perhaps on stairs, in closets and areas that may need carpet for seaming.
Sometimes ordering a little extra carpet for one area will increase the excess carpet just enough to fill a need in another area and will save you money in the long run. It takes a real pro to be able to strategically measure in this way.
In contrast, an inexperienced carpet salesperson can mistakenly over-measure, and not make good use of material and end up charging you hundreds more for carpet, padding and labor than necessary! But even worse... An unscrupulous carpet salesperson can intentionally over-measure your home and over-charge you by hundreds or more for carpet padding and labor... and you may never be aware of it.
Any homeowner could easily be over-measured by 10, 20, 30 yards or more and never know it. This could easily cost you hundreds or even thousands more than necessary. If you have a large home, you could be overcharged by thousands of dollars and never know it! You need to learn how to avoid this common carpet scam, and many other common carpet scams. Read on...
Some Carpet Salespeople are Lousy at Measuring
Measuring for Carpet is not always easy and it takes years to truly master it. It took me ten years to become proficient at measuring for carpet. Some homes are easy to measure. Some are really difficult to measure. Measuring one room is simple, measuring a large old 3 story house is not.
Add a few more rooms and a staircase and a hallway and it gets more challenging. A large home with many angles and curves and it can become a nightmare and time-consuming to measure accurately.
In this case, what inexperienced carpet salespeople generally do... is over-measure. Why? They would rather order too much material than order too little material.
It is quite embarrassing for inexperienced salespeople to order too little material and not have enough carpet to finish the job. It is an obvious sign of incompetence and inexperience. This fact, should cause you to consider your situation carefully.
Do you have a large home or have a difficult layout? You need to have your home measured by an experienced professional, and verify the measurements at least once or twice before you commit to buying.
Some carpet salespeople are well trained and can save you the most money by measuring your home accurately and create a plan to minimize waste. Some salespeople are lousy at measuring and they can easily cost you hundreds in excess material and labor costs.
Whether they are just bad at measuring, don't care or just make simple mistakes with their math, you shouldn't have to pay for more material than you actually require.
Get Several Free Estimates!
The best way to avoid incompetent measuring or an outright measuring scam is to get several estimates from several different local retailers and compare them side by side.
But realize this, it's not easy to know which estimate is the most accurate. You can't just assume the lowest estimate is the most accurate.
The last thing you want is to not order enough material to do the job. This is why I have created my own hand-picked list of locally owned Carpet Dealers. Your first line of defense is to make sure you buy from a competent carpet store. See who I recommend near you
Which Carpet Measurements are the Most Accurate?
In almost all cases, if you get three free carpet estimates, you will get three totally different measuring results. This is because measuring for carpet is really an art-form. Everyone measures a little bit differently.
For example, some carpet salespeople add an extra 5% for seaming while others add a few extra inches in material length for each room. But beware: the lowest measuring estimate is not always the most accurate so you have to be careful who's estimate you choose to trust, and ultimately agree to purchase from.
Some sneaky carpet salespeople might give you a measurement total that is a few yards less than the other bids/estimates you get, just to get you to buy from them.
They do this purposely. They are prepared to add back the missing yards to your total after you agree to buy from them.
They often make the sale because they lied to you about how much material you actually need. But in the end they will win because they can make up the difference by fudging the numbers.
If they make the sale, they can just tack on some extra fees and costs on the installation. You will likely end up paying more in the long run.
Some salespeople won't show you their measurements...
Or give you a copy of the diagrams they have created. Instead, they will present you with a "One Price for the Whole Job" proposal.
While this is a common practice that many flooring retailers use, you still should still be able to get a basic breakdown of the cost of carpet, the cost of padding and the cost for installation, if you ask for it.
You should always ask for the measurement totals and make sure you know exactly what you are being charged for each separate item: cost of the carpet, the pad, the installation, any extra fees and charges.
Some dealers resist giving you a detailed invoice. At the very least you must receive a sales receipt or invoice that shows the cost of the carpet (how much per square yard or square foot) shown separate from the cost of the padding and installation.
Why? A sales receipt showing the cost of the carpet separate from the cost of padding and installation will be required by the carpet manufacturer should you ever have a need to file a warranty claim. The sales receipt or invoice must show exactly how much you paid (per square yard or by square foot) for the carpet material only.
Get Measurement Verification
If your are unsure about the amount of carpet your home requires, you might be wise to pay a small fee of $60 to $150 to hire an independent carpet installer to measure your home. Assuming you can find one willing to do so.
The bigger your home, the more it will cost to have a carpet installer come by and measure it up for you. Accurate measuring takes time and energy, it can't be rushed. It would be wise to ask for a diagram that shows where the seams will go.
Certified Flooring Installers?
You can also visit the CFI website to locate an independent qualified installer near you. If you like the installer and he is available at a fair price, perhaps you might hire them to measure and install your carpet?
Craigslist usually has posts from local carpet installers seeking work, mostly newbies. Sometimes you find a real gem on Craigslist. Use my 10 question list when you call: 10 Questions To Ask Every Carpet Installer
Many larger cities have a Carpet Layers Union that you can call to get a list of local union workers. Carpet installers who are in the union charge by the hour, not by the amount of material used.
Carpet Seam Locations
Carpet seams are often considered to be the weakest link in any carpet installation. It is important to not have seams located in major walkways, in front of couches and in areas with chairs (as in the dining room) if at all possible.
Carpet seam placements can often be strategically moved away from common walkways, major thoroughfares and near furniture to limit the amount of carpet wear and tear created over time.
Sometimes carpet seams cannot be placed in the best case scenario. There are only so many options to choose from. Discuss your carpet seam placements with whoever is measuring your home.
Ask for a diagram and discuss all options. If they refuse to give you a diagram, or discuss where the seams will be placed, then I suggest you buy from another carpet or flooring dealer. Room Yardage Table
Always get everything you want and expect in writing. Never rely on the promised word or handshake of any salesperson, not just carpet salespeople, all salespeople!
Be sure to ask for a simple room diagrams showing the seam placements that mater to you. You can also ask about various installation options you may consider such as: types and colors of of doorway transitions available, best nap direction, custom stair and upholstering options, etc.
Advice from an Experienced Carpet Installer
You can learn a lot from a seasoned carpet installer. Their knowledge and experience differs greatly from most retail carpet salespeople. Why? Carpet installers have years of hands-on experience with all types of carpet in many applications. 5 Keys to Carpet Buying Success
Many carpet installers with more than 20 years of experience, know a lot about the durability and longevity of various types and styles of carpet.
On the other hand, some retail carpet salespeople don't have any real hands-on experience, they obtain their product knowledge from reading manufacturer brochures and flooring trade publications.
Inexperienced carpet salespeople often lack sufficient hands-on experience to advise homeowners and are better trained at closing the sale then they are at providing accurate product information and advice.
Want to learn how to measure for carpet yourself? How to Measure for Carpet in 4 Simple Steps
Proper Carpet Care and Maintenance
Make sure you get and read a complete copy of the manufacturers carpet warranty and follow the care and maintenance suggestions to the letter. Pay close attention to the periodic carpet cleaning required and accurate record keeping requirements. Many carpet manufacturer's new carpet warranties are available for instant download online.