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How to choose new carpet wisely and avoid common retail scams - Carpet Professor

How To Buy Carpet and Flooring Wisely


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Carpet Installation Get-Ready Checklist


With your safety, security and satisfaction in mind, I created this Get-Ready Checklist for savvy homeowners like you. This checklist will help you be ready when the installers arrive to put in your new carpet. Go through my my Checklist line by line before the installer arrives and after the installer has finished. 


After your new carpet is installed, do a complete walkthrough with the installer and inspect the finished job to be sure everything is done to your satisfaction. Withhold any final payment until you are completely satisfied. 



Carpet Installation Get-Ready Checklist


Before you buy new Carpet…


During The Carpet Buying Process...

  • Shop for the grade of carpet you require first, and then find several carpet styles and colors that you like.

  • Take several carpet samples home to consider your best carpet choice.

  • Get several estimates from locally-owned carpet dealers (click here to see who I recommend near you)

  • Get bids and estimates in writing and get every detail written down on the contract!

  • Don't be pressured into buying or agree to buy on the first visit. (in-home or in-store)

  • Take your time choosing. Take samples home. How much does carpet cost?

  • Make sure you get accurate carpet measurements.

  • Take your time choosing the right carpet and padding for your needs and goals.

  • Keep the original carpet sample until after the carpet has been installed,  for comparison purposes.

  • Keep the original sales receipt and make sure the price of the carpet is shown separate from the price of the pad and installation. You will need this as proof if you ever need to file a warranty claim.

  • Obtain a complete copy of your New Carpet Warranty and read it.


What To Do Before Your Carpet Installers Arrive:

  • Have all the furniture, wall pictures and knick-knacks been removed from all and areas to be carpeted.

  • Make sure any and all valuables are put away safe and secure.

  • Have all rooms pre-heated to at least 70 degrees, at least 3 hours before and during installation.

  • Make sure kids and pets are safely out of the way in all areas to be carpeted.

  • Never allow kids or pets to roam freely during installation.


What To Ask Carpet Installers When They Arrive:

  • Did they bring the carpet the right color, style and grade you paid for?

  • Did they bring the correct padding thickness and density?

  • Are there any visible carpet defects? (have them roll it out so you can see)

  • Will they be using a power-stretcher?

  • Will there be any additional installation fees or charges?

  • Have they discussed seam locations with you?

  • Will they be replacing all the transitions with approved materials?

  • Will they roll up and leave all sizable carpet leftovers for you?


You Must Inspect Your New Carpet (before the installer leaves):

  1. Do all the seams look good? (No seam is invisible)

  2. Are all the seams in the right locations?

  3. Is the carpet securely attached to the tack strips?

  4. Is the carpet neatly tucked in along the walls?

  5. Is the carpet nap all going in the same direction? (in adjoining areas)

  6. Is the carpet stretched in tightly? (did they use a power-stretcher?)

  7. Have all the doors and heat vents been put back in place?

  8. Have all the leftover scraps been picked up?

  9. Get your installation warranty in writing

  10. Get the name and phone number of the installer.


Carpet Installation Provided by the Retailer


Most homeowners buy carpet from a carpet retailer who provides installation as part of the package deal. This is a smart way to go and can protect you from having to deal with issues that might come up after the installation is finished yet potentially not done properly or correctly. 


If you have a complaint about the materials or the installation you will have just one place to direct your complaint, the retailer. This makes it very simple for you the consumer. This is the best case scenario for the homeowner, but may not be the least costly option for materials and labor. 


Buying materials and labor separately may save you money in the long run, but if there are complications you stand to lose time and money. It may not worth the risk.


Some retailers have installers who are employees of the store. Some retailers use subcontractors who have been with them for many years. Some retailers have a list of independent flooring installers they provide to homeowners and the homeowner must contact and hire and pay for the installer totally separate from the sale of the materials purchased from the carpet retailer. When this is the case, you as the homeowner must take steps to protect yourself from potential legal problems. 



Before hiring an Independent Installer... Print my free Carpet Installer Questionnaire



What I have learned over the 30+ years in the flooring business, is that you need to take certain things into consideration before you hire an independent flooring installer.

  • You have every right to know the name of everyone who is working in your home. Write down the full name and phone number of the installer, and the names of all helpers.

  • Ask to see his State Issued Contractor's License, write down the number.

  • Ask if he has a surety bond and liability Insurance. 

  • Ask for an insurance rider to be issued in your name and mailed or faxed to you prior to having any work performed.

  • If he has helpers, ask to see the Worker's Compensation Policy Rider that lists the names of all helpers.

  • Check the policy dates carefully to make sure the policy is current and all premiums have been paid.

  • How to Verify a Contractor's License, Surety Bond, Liability Insurance and Workers Compensation Insurance Policy 

  • Always get a receipt with the installation warranty details.

(Check your State Licensing Regulations here)



Proper Carpet Care and Maintenance...

  • Read the manufacturer's Carpet Stain Warranty completely and follow all suggestions and requirements.

  • Vacuum your carpet regularly. Spot clean as necessary. Never use bleach on your carpet.

  • Consider buying a new vacuum. Visit my Best Vacuums page to learn about types and prices.

  • Keep receipts for all professional carpet cleanings, as they are required to be shown as proof of proper maintenance.

  • Always hire a professional IICRC Certified carpet cleaning company.

  • Never use a store-rented carpet cleaning machine to clean your carpets while under warranty.

  • Learn more about carpet cleaning care and maintenance: How often should I have my carpets cleaned?


Learn more:


Continue to Carpet Q & A


Carpet Professor - carpetprofessor.com

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My Recommended

Carpet Stores

I Only Recommend Local Flooring Dealers 

Who Provide Great Customer Service,

Quality Products and Qualified Installation.

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