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Common Carpet Questions & Answers

By Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate

 

Q. Dog urine smell in the concrete?

I just discovered your website, Alan (what did we EVER do without Google!) and I will be forever in your debt!  I have ordered your book and my question may or may not be covered in it so, I am taking a chance and sending this email.

I have recently purchased a wonderful home (11 years old) with light colored, plush carpet.  Little did I realize (as the sellers were VERY sly and hid all signs of any pet in the house!)  that under the strategically placed furniture and area rugs were pet stains galore!  Evidently they had the carpet professionally cleaned twice before putting the house on the market, then I brought a cleaning company in and after two and a half hours.....well, the pet stains are a permanent fixture, it appears!

So, I am in process of replacing the carpet and my question is, should I be concerned with odors from the dog urine being trapped in the concrete slab beneath?  The living area and dining area are both stained (as well as the other rooms, but not quite as badly) and I am not a bit concerned about putting new carpet (sounds like it needs to be NYLON, of course!!) and a new pad (8 lb for concrete slab?) over a surface that may have odor trapped. How should I handle this?

Again, I am forever in your debt!  I have recently moved to the Little Rock area so feel so much more confident in shopping armed with your valuable information! Cheryl. 

Reply:

That is a dirty trick to fool you like that. Is there any recourse possible?

Yes you need to have your concrete sealed. It is in my book, but I will tell you anyway, the product you need is made by Sherwin Williams, and you can also get it at home depot. It is called pro block, a product called KILZ (the oil-based version) The water-based version is alright, but the oil based type is better. You just roll it on like paint over the affected areas, it dries in about an hour and carpet and pad can go in as soon as it is dry. I have used this stuff hundreds of times and it works great! Be very careful to follow the directions and use the proper respirator.

 

Carpet and Pet hair allergies

Q. My fiancé has allergies pretty bad.  We have one cat and one dog and their hair seems to be the majority of the problem.  We would like to have carpet in the bedrooms and hallway (the rest of the house is hardwood). What carpet would you recommend that is easy (or easier) to remove pet hair from? I know it has a lot to do with the vacuum you use, but besides that factor, which type would you suggest?  I'm leaning towards frieze, but I really have no idea.  

Reply:

A frieze is a great carpet but not really an easy carpet to get hair off of. You are right, the vacuum is the main key. We have a Dyson, and boy does it do a good job. Lots of suction. We have 2 cats and it is amazing how much pet hair we vacuum up. Our carpet is a textured plush, which has a fairly level carpet pile, The surface of the carpet is all about the same height, it makes it easy for the vacuum to remove pet hair as well as remove other dirt and grit. A frieze does not have a level surface, so dirt and hair can travel deeper into the pile making it harder to vacuum up.

Density of the carpet makes a difference too, if the pile is thick, dirt and pet hair will mostly stay on top of the carpet pile and be easy to vacuum up, but if the carpet density is lower then hair and debris can work its way down into the carpet pile. So, knowing all this I suggest a denser carpet, with a fairly level surface. Like a textured plush. The carpet fibers do not have to be tall, but medium would do fine, say 1/2 inch tall. Too tall and they may fall over to easily and too short a tuft and you have a carpet that feels too hard to walk on, just like a commercial carpet.

Padding makes a difference too. If the pad is not dense enough the carpet will have too much spring to it, each footstep you take will completely flatten out the pad and the carpet will absorb the most abrasion. This grinds the dirt into the carpet backing and causes premature matting and
crushing of the carpet pile. I suggest at least 6 pound density pad (rebond type) or 8 pound density would be even better. Also, be aware that padding thickness is different than padding density. The maximum thickness allowed is 7/16". This thickness would be fine for you if you choose frieze or a plush style. Padding costs have been on the rise but $3 to $4 per yard is customary for this type of pad.

There are a lot of carpet scams out there today, more than ever, and prices for the exact same carpet can vary hugely from store to store. The problem is, most larger retailers are using private labels. This is where they change the style names and color numbers to prevent you from comparison shopping from store to store. It is a dirty trick as far as I am concerned, and another reason why I wrote my Carpet buying guide. Consumers need to know the truth about these sneaky carpet retailers. 

Carpet dealers also do the bait and switch with carpet padding too. They call it a 6 pound 7/16" pad, but they send out a 5 pound 3/8" pad instead and most consumers never know the difference. But if it saves the retailer fifty-cents a yard and you are ordering 100 yards, they end up making another $50 on the deal. Sneaky? Yes, but a common occurrence. You are smart to do your homework now, before you buy a carpet that may not serve you well. Your choices can make the difference of your carpet lasting 5 years or 15 years, and saving hundreds
of dollars.

 

Q. I am thinking of purchasing a Mohawk carpet, the heavier weight one that is made out of the recycled plastics. I have been told that this is easy to clean, but I thought that nylon was the easiest to spot clean? I have an older dog that does have urine accidents and this is what I am faced with.  What is the best type of carpet you recommend for this situation?

 

A. The recycled plastic carpet you mentioned is made of PET Polyester and is the worst fiber to make carpet from because it mats down in a hurry, especially in medium to heavy foot traffic applications. It might be a good choice for you if you plan on replacing your carpet more frequently, like every five years or so. I wouldn't spend a lot on the carpets where your dog will have a lot of wet accidents, because if your dog has a lot of accidents your carpet and padding will not survive very long. 

 

If your pet has frequent (allowed to soak in) urine accidents, the urine odor can never be completely removed from the carpet, regardless of what carpet cleaning business might claim, and regardless of what any carpet manufacturer might claim. Sure they can try to over-power the odor with fragrances, but soaked in urine spreads out far and wide under the carpet and across the surface of the pad, eventually finding a way under the pad and into your subfloor. No Carpet Cleaning service can go that deep! If this is your situation, I suggest buying a cheapo apartment-grade carpet and padding and plan on replacing your carpet much more often. If you can limit your dog to certain areas then you can put in a better grade of carpet in areas where your older dog is not allowed. Makes sense to me!

 

 

 

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