published Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Phillips: Make sure carpet laid to specifications

by Ellen Phillips

This week continues with “Mr. Rug’s” request for carpet buying information and centers on installation and padding. These two usually add $4 to $10 per square foot, so you want to be very careful in your choice.

• Make sure you order a pad with at least a six-pound cushion. On the other hand, if you’re installing low-pile carpet, order an eight-pound cushion. Remember, carpeting looks and feels good longer if you choose a first-class pad.

• Open windows and doors to increase fresh air flow, which will decrease exposure to most chemicals released from the new carpet. Use both window fans and room air conditioners to exhaust fumes to the outdoors and do so for several hours. If you have a ventilation system in good working condition, operate it during installation and keep it running for 48 to 72 hours following installation.

• Confirm the carpet and pad are exactly what you ordered. Don’t just take the installer’s word, either. Check the padding weight that should appear on the padding itself or labels attached to the carpet roll(s).

• Check out the subfloor once the old carpet is removed. Sometimes mold or dry rot has pounced beneath the old carpet (plants overflowing, pet urine and so forth). The subfloor must be in good working condition before the first bit of new carpet comes down. Eagle eyes, please!

• Be sure installers use new tack strips around the perimeter of the room. Carefully note that the old tacks and/or tack strips have been pulled out before they lay the first piece.

• When the new carpeting is down to your satisfaction, leave the house for several hours so the fumes dissipate.

about Ellen Phillips...

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. An expanded version is at under Local Business.

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