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What makes a quality carpet



"What makes a quality carpet," in the Floorcovering Installation & Maintenance Tips forum, begins: "I started this thread to follow up on posts in the Carpet and Indoor Air Quality thread to have some ..."

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Old May 30, 2007, 05:08 AM   #1
Peter Kodner
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What makes a quality carpet


I started this thread to follow up on posts in the Carpet and Indoor Air Quality thread to have some discussions on helping consumers understand the myriad of factors that should be considered when making an investment of the magnitude of floor coverings, in this case, specifically carpet.

Mr. Tappet, IMHO, one of the most knowledgeable men in our industry, brought up wool as being the premier fiber. I could not agree more, but aspersion was also cast on all synthetic fibers. I do have to disagree there. There are cheap wools on the market that do not perform, albeit just a fraction compared with the number of poorly designed/engineered/marketed synthetic products.

There also are a tremendous number of excellent, well designed and very attractive synthetic fiber products available. It is also my humble opinion these product are a nylon face that have been made to provide a life cycle effectiveness comparable with alternative floorings but have the softness desirable in many living areas.

The discussion of the marketing means of carpet, i.e. a commodity item versus a value item is not new- I have been listening to it since I got into the industry over 30 years ago.

What constitutes a quality carpet product versus a commodity item?

Why use carpet and not the many alternatives available?

What can a buyer do to assure they are purchasing quality products and service?

TFP recommends Plow & Hearth

Last edited by Peter Kodner; May 30, 2007 at 03:31 PM.
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Old May 30, 2007, 03:05 PM   #2
Mark in Tulsa
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


Peter Kodner said View Post

What can a buyer do to assure they are purchasing quality products and service?
The simple answer don't buy polyester.
Stick with Nylon, or the more expensive wool.

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Old May 30, 2007, 04:08 PM   #3
Dobby Tappet
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


Please do not get me wrong, I am not anti-synthetic fibers, by no means. Every fiber has it's place. With this being said, what makes a quality carpet?

A quality carpet is designed to meet specific performance requirements, not price points.

Why use carpet verses the alternatives? Does carpet really have alternatives? Do you mean like sticks or stones we then cover with area rugs? Personally and professionally I reject the notion that there are any alternatives to carpet. There are areas where carpet does not belong, e.g.: kitchen, bath, mud & work rooms and such. Likewise, there are areas that require soft surfaces, e.g.: living & sleeping quarters. However, I do not believe the particular requirements for each space is interchangable.

As to what a buyer can do to assure they are getting quality products / service? The same thing they do when they make any major purchase. Become an informed consumer to be able to distinguish a true pro from the scam BS artist and make their purchase based on character & reputation, not price.

Great questions.

Agree?

Disagree?

Why?

Respectfully,

Dobby

EDIT
contest points=150


Last edited by Jim McClain; May 31, 2007 at 01:22 AM.
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Old May 30, 2007, 05:33 PM   #4
Peter Kodner
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


Dobby, my respect increase with every post of yours, but you are sure trying to kill this post early with such good answers

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Old May 30, 2007, 05:48 PM   #5
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


Peter your question is a good one. But if we went in depth to it I 'm sure there would be a lot of confused consumers.
Do we want to take each fiber and put the pluses and minuses? Do the same with the backings and what makes a good backing and how each backing should be installed.
Do we want to get into dye systems and what each type is.
How about the gauge, twist, and yarn count, the number of fibers per yarn, how it is twisted, face weight and total weight.
I mean the list could go on and on.
This would be one of the longest running posts on the forum. But I am willing to put in my 2 cents worth if you want.

Daris

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contest points=150


Last edited by Jim McClain; May 31, 2007 at 01:22 AM.
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Old May 30, 2007, 07:15 PM   #6
Peter Kodner
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


I just put it out there to stimulate some conversation and hopefully help any novices who visit. Why don't we all keep in mind which forum this is posting on and not to too hyper-technical (I am talking to myself here too ) .

If need be, we can branch some specific discussions off to new threads.

I think a fiber discussion is a wonderful starting point.

The major fiber currently being used are Nylon, Polypropylene (olefin is the generic name for this fiber family), polyester, acrylic (very small segment), wool, plant based fibers (coir, sisal, etc.), silk and very small amounts of cotton. Any I missed?

Who wants to start some dialog on each one of these?

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Old May 30, 2007, 07:17 PM   #7
Tandy Reeves
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


I think in our quest for quality carpet, we must add at least two other very important ingrediants (there are possibly more). #1. A quality sales staff that knows the products and can direct the consumer to the product that will meet their expected needs. #2. A quality installation that will allow the product to meet its expected potential. Right now the large part of the sales force are order takers. The consumer points to a product and is told that will be a good one for you. Cash or charge. Then it is given to an installer that has to determine how it should be installed, where the seams will be, and get it done quick because you have another job to do as soon as you complete this one and both has to be done today. I do not care how good the product is if it is not sold properly or installed properly it will not perform as a quality carpet.

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Old May 30, 2007, 07:32 PM   #8
Roland Thompson
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


So much has been coverd by all of you. The advice i will give the customer that comes here is to find a retailer that you feel comfortable with and then pick a sales person you can work with and you know is being honest with you. You can ask for a diffrent sales person if you want. If the company rejects to that leave.
Back to quality carpet there is so much that go's into it do your home work.

Roland

EDIT
contest points=131


Last edited by Jim McClain; May 31, 2007 at 01:23 AM.
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Old May 30, 2007, 10:04 PM   #9
Mark in Tulsa
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


About 95% of what we sell is StainMaster nylon. We know it performes, we know it wears better than any other fiber, and it can hold up to more everyday stains than other fibers. We also know with it's repel and release technology that it allows the consumer to vacumm out 40% more dirt than any other fiber on the market. With 80% of all claims issued on carpet being soil related that is really important.

We advise the customer that once they get into a 32oz. or higher StainMaster carpet they will all perform really well. The quality is very close to being the same, it's just that your paying for the thicker heavier carpet. And the reason for the 32oz or higher is when StainMaster adds the texture retention warranty.

From track records of the other fibers, and from what we have discussed with the big wigs at the mills, StainMaster has been and still is their best fiber. The other 5%we sell is Shaw's generic Anso nylon with the R2x topical stain repellent. We do not carry any other fiber.

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Old May 31, 2007, 06:56 AM   #10
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


Mark, I have to ask if you can document the information about soil removal with the vacuum cleaner. I ask as I had been on the contractor advisory boards of all of the major fiber companies and this is the first time I have ever heard this. Stainmaster (and it's equivalents) are truly an advancement with real benefits but it is not a panache for all carpet issues. Consumers must read the warranties and be mindful of the periodic maintenance and exclusions.

This said, I am a big fan of Stainmaster when nylon is the fiber/yarn system selected. I do want to explore other carpet options though.

Polyesters and polypropylenes also have their places, and as long as their characteristics are explained, can perform very well in certain applications. I would suggest they not be used in areas where they have the potential to be subjected to oil based soil. Further, as they both inherently have less resiliency, the quantity of traffic should be considered. Some very tight polypropylene loop constructions will stand up to traffic without crushing better.

Wool is the benchmark fiber for performance of all carpet fibers. It did not acquire this reputation without many good time proven benefits. My grandfather always said "Wool ages gracefully." It retains its appearance throughout is usable life like no other material used for carpet. The two main drawbacks to wool are 1. it will eventually wear out, i.e. the yarn will be abraded away. Synthetics are virtually impervious to abrasive wear. They suffer such severe appearance change, they are replaced. 2. Wool, being the premium fiber, costs more for a quality product. There are only so many sheep in the world and most do not grow a coat suitable for the production of carpet yarn. But there is also the ecological benefit of using a renewable resource. It is quite time proven- I believe it has been used in the neighborhood of 10,000 years for floorcoverings

The suggestions on sales and installation personnel are all very appropriate and valid, but let's see if we can have this thread give consumers some basic education to be able to shift through some misinformation they may get when starting out on a purchase.

Anyone want to tackles a pros/cons on the different fibers? How about a primer on padding? We have the real pros on this forum. Let's put it to good use in helping some folks get some long lasting satisfaction from the purchase of a product we earn our livelihoods from

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Old May 31, 2007, 08:36 AM   #11
Mark in Tulsa
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


I was wrong on the 80 of all claims are soil related, it's actually 60%.

I don't have time to find all the links, but I'm sure StainMasters website has a video on it, if I recall.

But we have been to Invistas lab, and have seen the with our own eyes how it performes against other fibers. We have seen the test and have seen more dirt being vacuums out. We saw it weighed with our own eyes.

I'm not allowed to indulge in claim ratio's that we get from the mills but we have seen far FAR less claims with it compared to any other fiber manufacture.

But you are right about polys in tight berber construction carpets. Since berber is pretty much pre-packed down due to its construction style it won't show how weak polys are at traffic. But with us over the last 2 years our berbes sales have been down 50% each year. I think I have only sold one this year so far, for a game room.

And you are also right about wool. Wool, if it's high quality like from New Zealand, can be awesome in almost any application. But I think the cost out way the performance.

And I found the video on StainMasters site, but it's a flash pop up video so I can't send the link.


*edit
This is all just my 2 cents. Everyone is allowed their opinion. I think no less of any man who disagrees with me. It's just from the testing we have done, and from stats, and the labs we have been to we just know with out a shadow of a doubt that StainMaster is the best fiber system in the world.

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Old May 31, 2007, 10:47 AM   #12
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


StainMaster is a very good nylon but so is Anso ( now Shaw ) and Solutia. The big diference i find is Inviesta ( StainMaster ) is by far way ahead of the other ones on taking care of claims.We are looking at the fiber quality, with that being important so is maintenance of the carpet. We say sales did not put the right product in the area for the customer ( and that might be true at times ) but i have went out many of times and see things people do to there floor and then think it did not hold up. I have seen very good carpet ( including wool ) that have been destroyed in a very short time because of maintence and then a piece of carpet you would think never would last was down for years and still looked good because the sales person told them how to care for it and then they did it.
You ask about pad and that can be difrent thread because i hear so many difrent views on it. consumer it is very inportant and you shoul make sure you understand what you are getting.

Roland

EDIT
contest points=150


Last edited by Jim McClain; June 1, 2007 at 12:07 AM.
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Old June 1, 2007, 06:24 AM   #13
Dobby Tappet
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


Wool is expensive?

Compared to what?

Seriously, I wish someone could explain this phase that seems to be tossed around far more than the myth 'carpet is toxic, dirty and bad'.

You know who says wool is expensive?

The synthetic fiber producers and manufactures who toss out this line as a last ditch effort to sell a lesser quality fiber. Sure, everyone agrees that wool has proven itself as the ultimate premium fiber, the benchmark by which all fibers are judged, but, simply because a lesser quality 'man-made' fiber can be produced at a lesser cost does not mean wool is expensive, it simply means synthetic fibers of lesser quality can be produced at a lower cost. And,.... we get what we pay for!

Wool would only be expensive if it were equal to the synthetics it is being compared to and it is not. In fact, it's not even close.

Agree?

Disagree?

Why?

Respectfully,

Dobby

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Old June 1, 2007, 10:27 AM   #14
Mark in Tulsa
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


Dobby Tappet said View Post
Wool is expensive?

Compared to what?

Seriously, I wish someone could explain this phase that seems to be tossed around far more than the myth 'carpet is toxic, dirty and bad'.

You know who says wool is expensive?

The synthetic fiber producers and manufactures who toss out this line as a last ditch effort to sell a lesser quality fiber. Sure, everyone agrees that wool has proven itself as the ultimate premium fiber, the benchmark by which all fibers are judged, but, simply because a lesser quality 'man-made' fiber can be produced at a lesser cost does not mean wool is expensive, it simply means synthetic fibers of lesser quality can be produced at a lower cost. And,.... we get what we pay for!

Wool would only be expensive if it were equal to the synthetics it is being compared to and it is not. In fact, it's not even close.

Agree?

Disagree?

Why?

Respectfully,

Dobby

The consumers with the check book are the one's that say it's expensive.
A Ferrari is only expensive if you compare it to a Camaro. But i guess since the Camaro does not have the performance of, or the quality of a Ferrari, then I guess we can conclude that the Ferrari is not expensive. So in that theory we should all be driving Ferrari's, and we should all have wool carpet.

You are right, wool is an awesome fiber. It does have it's cons. It can hold 10 times it's weight in water, so it makes it susceptible to mold and mildew. It can also shrink if wet. It will fade over time if not protected from UV rays.

I've seen bare spots in heavy traffic areas with wool, due to it's staple yarn design that causes it to wear down.
It's also trickier to clean, due to you having to use the right PH level cleaner. (don't recall the specs right now)

Yes wool is a great product. But it is with it's cons, like all fibers.
And it is expensive. There are no if, and, or buts about it. When you have a fiber that can cost 2 to 3 times as much, but doesn't perform twice or three times as better, then it is expensive.

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Old June 1, 2007, 06:19 PM   #15
Peter Kodner
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Re: What makes a quality carpet


Mark, quote a response.

Actually the ability of wool to gain and lose moisture is an advantage. It is like having built in humidification control. While wool will provide food for mold, I have never seen a synthetic in such pristine condition that the soil trapped in it will not support mold as well.

All carpets, except olefins engineered for outdoor use will fade from Uv, even with the normal Uv stabilizers. Further, nylons in particular will actually degrade from Uv. Most synthetics are replaced long before this becomes a factor due to appearance changes.

Did a job in the late 80's for Purdue University. Their Auditorium which was acoustically is one the finest in the world. We just replaced the stairs and walkways that were a five frame Wilton that had been down since the building was opened in the early 30s. The areas at the seats still looked terrific. Been at this quite a while and have never seen a nylon job from the 50s (when DuPont 501 came out) still in service.

Cost is NOT value. In a proper construction and application, I flat out state wool will outperform ANY & ALL synthetics.


Last edited by Peter Kodner; June 1, 2007 at 07:24 PM.
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