Thursday, February 11, 2016

Three Things to Look Out for When Buying New Carpet

While many people instinctively think of the new car smell when the joy of a fresh purchase comes to mind, the feeling of new carpet may be even better. From the cleanliness of the virgin material to the soft and luxurious experience of sinking into padded comfort with each step, few things can compare. However, that doesn't mean that any old purchase will produce this effect, as many simply fall short of the mark. Similarly, not every house is right for a new rug. If you're contemplating a new wall-to-wall purchase, here are some important things to keep in mind.


The one downfall of carpet is that it requires significantly more maintenance than other floor coverings, especially hardwood and tile. However, the obvious tradeoff is that soft floors are far more comfortable, especially during the cold months. With that in mind, it's important to have a solid idea of the amount of use that the room, family, and house will demand from the floor covering. If you've got lots of kids running around, for example, you may not want to get the plushiest model available. Dogs and cats can also mean extra cleaning. A great manufacturer or retail salesman will be able to recommend the right brand and style for your family. Textured rugs will conceal footprints and vacuum tracks, while Saxony, level loop, and high-density loop options should be lower maintenance. Of course, if this isn't an issue, then you can go straight for comfort.


Different styles create a different feeling, and often, it's not just about the surface. Padding usually goes underneath, and it can make the difference between a cushy surface and a hard and unwelcoming floor. The padding provides a buffer between subfloor variations and the surface. Great padding will drastically reduce wear and tear. Most manufacturers recommend a specific type of padding with each model, making it easy to choose the right one. According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, you'll want an 11-millimeter padding with 6 pounds of density per cubic foot for your average floor covering, whereas thinner models can rest with 9.5-millimeter, 8-pound models.


While most people would never think of it, many floor coverings come packed with chemicals, often called Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. These include formaldehyde and other deleterious chemicals that can cause serious health risks, especially if children or adults already have respiratory issues. Carpets should be evaluated for their contents, as they become a pervasive part of the indoor environment, affecting air quality and overall health. Natural products should be chosen over artificial ones, with wool and jute on the safe list. And, as with all products, many of these floor coverings can be made unsustainable. As a result, green consumers know to check the recycled-content numbers of their rug before purchase. This gives them a heads-up on the impact that their comfort will have on the environment.

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