CARPET FLOORING 101


An installation of wall-to-wall carpet requires a properly trained craftsman. Not all craftsmen are equally skilled. Here is where your dealer serves an important function by matching the skills of your installer to the requirements of your job and the qualities of the carpet you have chosen. It is important to be able to rely on your dealer's experience and judgment regarding installation. That's why it's smart to buy your carpet and installation from the same dealer. This gives you a single responsible place to go with questions or problems. Check out our Carpet Buying Guide for more info.

Quality Installation In Nine Steps:

  1. Discuss and approve the location of carpet seams.
  2. Determine who will move furniture and reach an agreement on any charges for this service.
  3. Decide who will remove and dispose of any existing carpet and padding, and agree on charges.
  4. Understand your warranties- know what is and is not covered- and the procedures for handling a service call.
  5. Vacuum old carpet prior to the arrival of the installer.
  6. Inspect the completed installation with the installer.
  7. Continue operating the ventilation system at normal room temperature for up to 72 hours after installation. If possible, open windows to increase the flow of fresh air.
  8. Retain a scrap of the carpet approximately one foot square or larger to patch holes if necessary.
  9. Keep indoor temperature and humidity at levels comfortable for living. Temperatures below 18°C and above 35°C can cause the carpet to buckle.

"So, How Long Will My New Carpet Last Anyway?"

This is perhaps the most commonly asked question and frankly, there is no simple answer. Like any textile product, longevity depends on what kind of use your carpet gets, and how you take care of it.

Synthetic pile carpets made of nylon, olefin and polyester simply don't "wear out" in the same way as the old wool pile carpets did. That is, the fibers never break off and wear away leaving only the carpet backing showing.

Instead, synthetic carpets usually change in appearance over time, especially in areas of high usage. The change occurs slowly, and is caused by such things as fine airborne soil, air pollution, tracked-in dirt, stains, and heavy foot traffic. They collect on the surface of the carpet fibers and change the way the light reflects off of it, causing the carpet to look dull and shabby and no longer new.

Five Ways to Keeping Your Carpet Looking New Longer

  1. Buy the right carpet- "If you don't know carpet, know your carpet dealer"

    Purchase your carpet from a local dealer with a good reputation. Purchase only first quality carpet. Don't be misled by bargain prices on irregulars. A number of problems could arise. For example, the backing could separate and cause the seams to open up.

    Purchase your installation and your carpet from the same dealer. This gives you one single responsible source to go to for answers on your questions and for help with any problems.
  2. Regularly vacuum your carpet

    Vacuum traffic lanes and heavily used areas daily. Make five to seven passes of the vacuum. All other areas should be done twice a week, making three passes with the vacuum.

    For cut-pile and most woven carpets, use a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar. The beater bar agitates the pile and sets up vibrations that dislodge soil. Make sure the beater bar comes in contact with the carpet but not so much as to slow down the motor.

    For delicate loop pile and sisal textures, use suction only. Lift the beater bar so that it does not come in contact with the carpet. This will prevent damaging the loops.

    Keep your vacuum cleaner in good condition. Inspect the belt to make sure the beater bar is rotating properly before each use. Empty the soil bag when it is half full to maintain efficiency. See our extensive Carpet Maintenance section for additional information.
  3. Remove spills and spots right away

    Carpet Cleaning Tips Remember that time makes the difference between a spot and a stain, so act immediately. As soon as a liquid spill occurs, absorb as much liquid as possible with a clean white terry cloth or paper towel. Use a blotting action, working from the outside in. Never rub or scrub; it will cause fuzzing.

    In the event you spill liquid with solids, pick up or remove as much of the solid before you begin to blot. Use a spatula or large spoon to scrape the solid off the surface of the carpet.

    After blotting, use a recommended cleaning agent if necessary, and carefully follow the directions.
  4. Professionally clean your carpet

    Oily soil from cooking vapors, air pollution and tracked-in dirt build up a residue on the surface of your carpet and cause it to look dull and matted. There are a number of excellent commercial cleaning methods you can use, from dry cleaning to hot-water extraction.

    If your carpet dealer doesn't offer professional cleaning, ask him to recommend the proper cleaning method for your carpet.

    If your carpet has a warranty from a fiber manufacturer such as DuPont, Solutia, Allied or 3M, consult their 300 phone number or website for recommended cleaning procedures. Using a cleaning method other than those approved by the manufacturer may void the warranty.
  5. Protect your investment

    Close your shades or drapes to avoid direct sunlight on your floor. Carpet dyes have never been better, but all textiles fade when exposed to UV sunlight.

    Change filters in your heating and air conditioning system regularly. It's healthier for your family and it keeps your entire house cleaner, including your carpet.

    Place a walk-off mat at the entrances to your home so that soil is left outside rather than tracked in over your carpet. Rearrange your furniture periodically to change the traffic flow and allow the carpet to wear more evenly.

A Brief History of Carpet

Man has been using carpet to add warmth and comfort to his dwellings for more than 2,500 years.

With the discovery of hand weaving, men were able to create a vast array of carpet types, freeing their imaginations to design figures and symbols of all sorts.

Carpet HistoryThe oldest known carpet is the "Pazyryk". This intricately patterned, beautiful knotted-pile rug was created by Armenian craftsmen during the 4th or 5th Century BC and can be seen today at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Many carpets that were hand-woven over the past 300 years have transcended the boundaries of their craft and have become an art form that is part of many museum collections.

It was the Industrial Revolution that led the way to the development of machine-made fabrics, and ultimately carpet, with such inventions as the "Spinning Jenny", which pun yarn, in 1767. Later, in 1801 Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented an automatic loom that used punch cards. This allowed for complex patterns to be woven much faster than was possible by human hands.

(It is fascinating to discover that Jacquard's 18th Century invention of punch cards was later used to create the first computer of the 20th Century. SO his invention was pivotal not only to the Industrial Revolution but also to the modern technological one.)

But it wasn't until 1904 that a Dalton, Georgia farm girl named Catherine Evans remembered an heirloom bedspread that had been in her family from Colonial days. She worked out a stitch that locked into the fabric and, once snipped, left a small tuft. Fittingly, she called the stitch "tufting" because each stitch resembled a tiny tuft of grass.

Soon families were sitting on farm porches stitching spreads to sell from their front yard clotheslines. The tiny cottage industry soon captured the attention of Singer Sewing Machine Company. Singer wasted no time in developing a twelve-foot wide sewing machine with 1,500 needles to make bedspreads.

In the meantime, a few Georgia pioneer carpet makers wondered if the new machine could be used to produce carpet. They discovered, to their amazement, that they could make forty feet of carpet per minute; ten times faster than with the old traditional carpet weaving looms.

The first carpets were made of wool. Nylon fiber, which was invented in 1939 by DuPont chemist Dr. Wallace H. Carothers, eventually replaced wool as the standard carpet pile.

By the late 1950's, tufted nylon carpet could be purchased for prices within the reach of every homeowner.

"What About Carpet Installation? Will I See My Carpet Seams?"

Most carpets manufactured today are produced in 12-foot widths and require seaming. Usually, seams are best places perpendicular to the primary natural light source in the room, to minimize their visibility. Visibility of seams will vary with different carpet textures, densities, and lighting conditions. It's common for some seams to peak slightly after installation. Time and normal traffic will usually correct this. Carpet seams, like seams in any textile, will not be visible.

"What Will Carpet Cushion Do for Me?"

Carpet CushionCarpet cushion, sometimes called padding, performs two functions: to make your carpet feel good when you walk on it, and to help your carpet maintain its original appearance over time. Carpet cushion is like the shock absorbers on your car. It's there to protect your investment by absorbing the pounding of foot traffic.

You can select a firmer or softer feel depending on the type of carpet you are installing and your preference as to the feel underfoot. For thicker, plush cut-pile carpet, a cushion up to 1/2" thick is recommended. For Berbers or lower profile carpets, thinner cushion, not more thank 3/8" thick, will provide maximum performance. You can choose from several types of cushion. The most common are sponge rubber, bonded polyurethane foam, prime polyurethane foam, and fiber.

Cleaning Products For Carpet

Protect your investment by using the recommended cleaning products on your new carpet. Your dealer will usually have these products in stock.
DownRight Floors | Carpet 101