• You've decided on buying new carpet, but you want to shop smart. You already know how carpet is made and the difference between carpet styles, but what else is there to know before you buy?

    Let's face it. You get what you pay for. If you want your carpet to have a great pile density and tighter twist construction which leads to improved durability, then you're going to want to go with a higher quality and more expensive product. New carpet adds value to any home, so it's an investment worth making.

    While it is true that all carpets look alike, carpets that have the same price may perform differently. Carpet performance is dependent upon the type of fiber used to construct the carpet, the density of construction and the style of construction.

    Here are some buying carpet tips to give you the upper hand on what will soon be under your feet!

    Carpet Seams

    Unless your room is narrower than 15 feet, you're going to have seams. Most carpet comes in widths of 12 feet and 15 feet — and on occasion, 13 feet. The degree of visibility of your seams depends on the texture and color you choose, as well as the lighting and furniture placement in your room.

    Bending

    When you carpet your stairs, its backing may show on the bends. And if it's a looped carpet, it can snag — especially at the seams or transitions.

    Nap (Pile Shading)

    A carpet's nap runs in a single direction, making pile reversal or the shading you see from a vacuum trail, completely normal for most cut pile styles. If you're not a fan of this, window treatments and furniture placement can minimize the effect.

    Color

    Carpet covers a large part of any room, so it's vital that you consider some basic rules when selecting its color. First off, know that once your carpet is installed, it's going to look lighter in color than the sample you saw in the store. Don't ask us why, that's just the way it is — kinda like losing a sock in the dryer.

    Next, recognize that color can affect the apparent size of a room. Call it a visual illusion or a trick of the light, but lighter carpet makes a room look larger and darker colors make a room look smaller and more intimate.

    If you like to redecorate often or plan to move soon, go neutral. It's much easier to imagine furniture in a room that is decorated with neutral colors.

    Stains

    It's going to happen, no matter how long you hold out from sipping wine or munching on chips and salsa in your freshly carpeted room. Stain protection is an important consideration when buying carpet. Products come with various levels of protection and warranties. As the quality of a carpet increases, so does its stain protection level and warranty coverage.

    Padding/Cushion

    Padding or cushion is the layer of spongy material between carpet and floor. It's the padding — not the carpet — that determines whether the carpet feels good or great under your feet.

    A quality padding can help preserve a carpet's look and can extend its life and comfort by providing tougher protection against wear and tear.

    Padding is sold using quality specifications, not color specifications. The color of the sample you see in the store may not be the same color as what's installed in your home.

    In addition to your total project cost, annual cleanings are also recommended to maintain the beauty and life of your new carpet.