Flooring and Carpeting/carpet quality


Hi!  We are building a house and want to put carpet in the bedrooms.  I hate to say it, but we are not able to buy the best of everything (we didn't skimp on the building materials so we have a strong home, but now we need to cut corners if we can.)  When it comes to carpet, can you tell me what corners we do not want to cut.  (We have six children, so its going to get use!)
We've seen carpet for .39/sq.ft. that was obviously not a good choice.  But, unless it slaps me in the face, I don't know how to tell the difference between good quality (not luxury) at a good price and cheap/ bad quality. Any details you'd be willing to share will be helpful.  
Also, is any 'ole carpet pad sufficient?  Thank you!  Tacy

Hello, Tacy:

I understand why this this is a difficult decision for you.  Carpet is one of the more difficult consumer products to understand.  Your first issue with 6 children is durability; the price consideration tends to drive you toward low level loop pile carpet. While it may not be the most pleasing esthetically, it will indeed give you the best combination of durability and price.  You might consider it for the kids' rooms and something a bit nicer for the your bedroom.    

I suggest you choose a nylon fiber if it fits your price range.  Polypropylene might be an option - IF - the pile is low and tight; otherwise it will pack down.  The advantage of the PP is total stain resistance.  

Many carpets today have a performance rating on the label.  While not an absolute measure, this can give you a basis for comparing products.
Don't get hung up on splitting hairs, as the difference between a 3.9 and a 4.0 rating is negligible.

As for the pad, thinner and firmer is better than thick and soft, remember we walk on it with our feet, and while the latter feels better to the fingertips in the store, that does not translate to comfort on the floor.  Place the sample on a hard floor with the carpet sample on top.  Wearing shoes with firm soles, place your weight on a heel and determine if the pad "bottoms out" (do you feel the hard floor through the carpet/pad?).       

Hope this helps

Flooring and Carpeting

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Carey Mitchell


Any question regarding carpet, including specifications, maintenance, installation, regulation.


Retired after 44 years in carpet manufacture, technical and research. Served 33 years as Director of Technical Services for the world's largest carpet manufacturer.

The Carpet and Rug Institute, Technical Chair - 12 years; American Society for Testing and Materials (40 years); American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (39 years); Society of Cleaning and Restoration (Board of Directors); US National Textile Research Consortium; Cleaning Industry Research Institute (Board of Directors and founder); Canadian General Standards Board Technical Advisory Committee; The Fiber Society; Alzheimer's Association of NW GA (Board of Directors); Trout Unlimited; Federation of Fly Fishermen

AATCC Review (Textile Chemist and Colorist Journal); Journal of the American Industrial Hygiene Association; International Journal of Flooring Sciences Cleaning Digest; Cleanfax Magazine; Floor Covering Weekly; Floor Covering News; Proceedings of the Technical Conference of the Polyurethane Association; Proceedings of the Symposium on the Science of Cleaning;

BS in Chemistry and Business Administration, University of North Georgia

Awards and Honors
Carpet and Rug Institute, Smrekar Award, 1998; Carpet Industry Leadership Award, 1994; Cleanfax Magazine Person of the Year, 1996; Cleaning Digest, person of the year, 1997; Institute of Inspections,Cleaning and Restoration Certifications award,1997; ISCT Lipscomb Award, 2004

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