What to Look for When Buying Carpet and Padding


The cost of carpeting your floors is an investment in your home. Unlike furniture or accessories, carpeting stays in your home for several years, fixed in the one place, and subjected to the wear and tear of everyday life. When you purchase quality carpeting and padding, you gain a return on the value of your home.


  • The color of your carpet may seem like a secondary concern. Consider though that when you install wall-to-wall carpeting throughout your home, you will see the great expanse of that color every day. Look for a color that is aesthetically pleasing and coordinates with decorating changes you may make in the future. Neutral shades offer the most flexibility.


  • Carpeting is made from polyester, nylon or a mix of the two. You may also find carpeting that is constructed from recycled plastic bottles and yarn. Other materials used are olefin and wool.

    When shopping for carpet, ascertain the material content of the product. Polyester, while soft, can shed and the carpet loses texture over time. Nylon holds up well to traffic and vacuuming, as does olefin. Nylon generally is softer than olefin, but not quite as soft as polyester.

    Carpet made from recycled plastic mixed with yarn generally is as soft as polyester and as durable as nylon. Wool carpet can be soft, yielding and aesthetically pleasing, but it does shed and will wear from foot traffic.


  • All carpet manufacturers provide warranties on their products. Read the warranties carefully. You may see a 25-year warranty advertised, but this may apply only to manufacturing defects, which would be evident within a year of installation. Read the fine print, looking for information on protection against staining and how many years the carpet is warranted for texture retention.

Fiber Density

  • Color, material and warranty are all important factors, but what you don't want is your carpet to "smile" at you. Hold the sample of carpet in your hands and slowly bend back the edges. If you can see the backing, the carpet is smiling at you, which means the fiber density is minimal. The carpet may show wear within two to four years.


  • Purchasing high-quality carpet only to stick poor-quality padding beneath it is to diminish its durability. Foam padding made from urethane will eventually flatten out from the weight of furniture and foot traffic. Foam padding made from polyurethane has a longer life span, but is not the type of padding to choose when installing high-quality carpet in your home.

    Rebound padding is made of recycled materials, including polyurethane foam. It's multicolored and springy to the touch. Rebound padding has a longer life span and will protect the carpet back from wear and tear. Should you find rebound padding that has vinyl sheeting attached to the surface, choose this padding. It not only protects the carpet back, it prevents moisture, as from a spilled drink, from seeping into the pad itself. This means when you clean up that spill, no residual moisture is trapped in the padding that can permanently stain your carpet.

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