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Alan Fletcher - 30 Yr Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate - I Do Not Sell or Install Carpet.


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Carpet Buying Q & A

Big Box Retailers?



Should I Buy Carpet from Lowe's, Home Depot or Costco?


I shop at home improvement warehouses and Big Box retailers when I need lumber, lighting, nails, potting soil or small hand tools, and overall I think they have helpful staff, reasonable prices and a nice selection of products to choose from.


But as a 30+ year carpet expert, I think that buying new Carpet from Lowe's, Home Depot, Costco or any other big box warehouse retailer may not be the wisest way to go for most homeowners. 


Here's why...


Virtually all of these big-box retailers farm-out their in-home measuring services and carpet installation to independent privately held companies. They also place private labels on all their carpet samples to make comparison shopping almost impossible for you. They change the name of the carpet style and color to prevent you from comparing prices with locally-owned carpet stores near you. There are many other important reasons why I don't recommend buying new Carpet from big-box retailers.

Homeowners Need Accurate and Complete Answers


From what I've experienced myself, I find that many BIG BOX salespeople are relatively new to the carpet and flooring business and lack sufficient product knowledge or "hands-on" experience to accurately answer even the most basic carpet questions. Working nights and weekends by the hour at a home improvement warehouse is surely a demanding job and many new retail workers are hired after having lost their job from the downturn in the economy. 


These nice folks have had to seek out other employment opportunities just to make ends meet, but they are often overworked and underpaid and don't likely have much, if any, experience with carpet and flooring. This means that they might not have any passion for their new and hopefully "temporary" employment at the Big Box warehouse.  

Because buying new Carpet or Flooring is such a big and important investment, ALL your carpet questions need to be answered by someone who really knows what they are talking about! You've come to the right place for answers! Read more about What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?

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Greedy Big Box Corporate Conglomerates!


I think it's obvious that Home Depot and Lowe's got into the Carpet business because they saw a golden opportunity to make some serious money selling carpet and flooring. They have deep pockets and use their corporate muscles to negotiate special flooring deals with a certain carpet and flooring manufacturers. 


They also have the ability to spend millions on advertising to lure-in unsuspecting homeowners. In doing so they have forced many long-standing, honest and reputable, locally-owned flooring stores to go out of business. I am very sad about this and want to help and support locally-owned carpet and flooring dealers any way I can.


My Short List: The Best & Worst Places to Buy Carpet & Flooring



Why I prefer locally-owned, family-run Carpet Stores.


Lowe's and Home Depot have certainly met homeowners needs for DIY home improvement products and I shop there for many items like most folks do, but knowing what I know, I would never buy carpet or flooring from them. 


Why? Once you pay for the materials and labor costs (which they want paid upfront and in-full at the time of ordering), the big box retailer is pretty much all done serving you. They are only in business to sell you the materials and they subcontract out practically everything else, including the in-home measuring service and the installation service to other privately held companies or unknown subcontractors. 


And what do big box retailers have to say when you call them with a carpet installation complaint? They will likely say that since THEY didn't install your carpet and since THEY didn't manufacture your carpet, YOU have to seek a remedy with either the carpet manufacturer or the carpet installation company directly. Basically, this means you are on your own with little or no help from them! 


This means if you believe you have an installation problem with your carpet, you will have to contact the installation company directly for a remedy. When someone finally comes out to inspect your carpet they may say your problem is not an installation problem, but a carpet defect. 


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Now you have to contact the carpet manufacturer directly and ask them to come by and take a look at your carpet. They in turn will send out someone to inspect your carpet and may say it is NOT a carpet defect, but a carpet installation problem! Maybe they will blame you for improper carpet care or abuse. This is the vicious cycle that makes homeowners absolutely furious because no one is willing to accept responsibility for your carpet complaint.


And what about those incredible low-cost, $99, $39, or Free carpet installation specials? It sure sounds good at first, but is it really a good deal for you in the long run? Do you know what they mean by a "basic installation"? It means that anything you might need above and beyond their very limited definition of a "basic installation" will add significant additional charges to your final bill.


You might not discover how much more this will cost you until the day of installation when the carpet installers arrive with your carpet and then ask you to pay hundreds of dollars more for additional services before they will begin. Read more about How to Avoid Carpet Scams!



These are just a few of many reasons why I only recommend buying carpet from a reputable, locally owned, family-run carpet store. They have a vested interest in your community and will go the extra mile to make sure you are completely satisfied. 


I don't like hearing about all those huge corporate profits and mega salaries paid out to big-shot corporate CEO's - while millions of hard-working Americans are underpaid, over-worked and struggling to support their families with a low hourly working wage. 


The typical corporate mindset is mainly concerned about making as much profit as possible and spending as little as possible on wages, healthcare and customer service. The truth is, buying from locally owned small businesses is far better for you and our economy, better for local job creation and better for your community schools. roads, and the long-term future of your children!


Now that you know several good reasons why I only recommend buying from a locally-owned, family-run carpet business, I ask that you consider buying locally. Not only will they treat you like gold, but they will take very good care of you before and after the sale. See who I recommend near you


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Are "Soft" Nylon Styles a Wise Choice for Heavy Traffic Applications?

Question: We just bought a house and need to re-carpet.  We've got a quote from Lowe's for a Mohawk carpet,  53-oz face-weight, 6.5 tuft twist, BCF, 100% Lisse® nylon, "textured" style carpet.  We like it but I have been rethinking it because I'm not sure it is dense enough.  


This carpet is for our entire upstairs, two bedrooms, one office and the main stair well.  It's only the two of us, but I want to make sure we are making a good investment. Does this carpet sound like a wise choice?  Would you advise something more dense?   We checked out a more dense carpet made by Pacific Coast (I think) and it would be $500 more for the same amount.  I just don't know if the higher density justifies the added cost.  Let me know what you think! Thanks! D.W.


Alan's Answer:
Your carpet selection basically seems fine to me based on what limited carpet info you have told me. 53 ounces is a good carpet face weight. But you didn't say how much the carpet cost per yard or what carpet pad you selected and how much that will cost, or the density ratings of the carpet or padding.

The soft nylon carpet you are considering might be a good selection for your needs and lifestyle, but without knowing all the specifications I can't say for sure. Lisse' is one of the newer "soft" nylon styles and is more expensive than a standard nylon carpet because it feels more soft to the touch. Other branded "Soft" nylon styles are called Tactesse®, Lisse® and Caress® to name a few. Tigressa® is another soft nylon brand you might encounter.



My Thoughts About "Soft" Nylon Carpet Styles


Homeowners prefer to buy the softest carpet. Fiber manufacturers create this extra softness by making the nylon filament thinner. However, by doing so, it may reduce the resiliency or durability of the carpet. 


Resiliency is defined as the ability of the carpet fiber to spring back to it's original shape after being compressed or walked on. If the resiliency is reduced by making the strand thinner, the carpet may not retain it's like-new appearance as long and might mat down or "crush" more quickly than a standard  denier nylon (non-soft) filament. 


Matting and crushing of the pile is not typically covered under the carpet manufacturer's limited warranty.  Once the carpet fiber begins to mat down, there is little that can be done to restore it to it's original like-new appearance. 


I do like the look and feel of soft nylons but the added cost and potential reduction in resiliency would make me hesitate if I wanted more than 10 years of use or in moderate to heavy traffic applications. 

Have you ever read a manufacturer's carpet warranty completely? 


You'd be surprised to discover how many hoops you have to jump through just to keep from inadvertently voiding your new carpet warranty. 


Learn more about Carpet Stain Warranties



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