Choosing the right carpet for your home

Choosing new carpet for your home is a big decision, one you’ll likely have to live with for a long time.

“You know it’s true that hard surface categories have surged in popularity in the last five or ten years. That’s porcelain tile that looks like wood,” said flooring expert Harry Tishler. “That’s laminate flooring, hardwood flooring of course, but none of these product categories can be a substitute for carpet when someone wants to soften a space.”

Tishler knows flooring. His family’s experience spans more than a century. With proper maintenance carpet lasts about 10 years. Tishler says because people don’t buy carpet frequently, they often make mistakes when trying to select the right color or texture.

“One of the things that some people do is they’ll take it outside in the natural light and they’ll try and get the true color,” Tishler added. “Well, the issue is you don’t live outside, so the carpet’s not gonna have the same appearance outside as it is inside.”

“Selecting the color of the carpet you’re going to put in your house can be a bit tricky,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks. “A lot of times people take the sample and are looking at it really up close. Your best bet is to lay it down in the room you are going to be having the carpet installed and look at it from a distance like you are walking in the room. Also, be sure you are looking at it in different lighting. Look at it at night when the lights overhead are on and also during the day when the sun is shining in.”

Once you’ve picked your new carpet, don’t overlook the importance of padding.

“The padding is the least expensive component of a carpet purchase. So, to move from a basic rate pad up to one step up or a slightly more dense cushion is very, very minimal dollars and everyone should consider it or at least get the option to buy better cushion,” Tishler said.

Before the carpet installation begins, talk with your installer about seams and where they’ll be placed.

“Having an invisible seam is not something a company can promise before they actually install the carpet. It’s a little tricky,” said Hicks. “So, if they are promising invisible seams they are probably overselling in that scenario.”

While seams are unavoidable, you can minimize their appearance by making sure they run with the direction of the light or you can make sure they’re placed under furniture.

Angie’s List says don’t forget to ask what’s included in the price of the carpet – does it include padding and installation? You should also ask about charges for miscellaneous services like removing and hauling away old carpet, moving furniture or upholstering carpet on steps.