published Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Phillips: You have 5 fiber options in choosing new carpet

by Ellen Phillips

Q: We’re getting ready to carpet our home and with ads on all sides we’re not sure what to look for. Do you have any suggestions? — Ronald Rug

A: Dear Mr. Rug: First off, it doesn’t really matter where you purchase (as long as you get a good price); instead, it matters most what you buy. Just because carpet or a rug looks and feels good in the store doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good investment.

Dan Vandervort, founder of is an expert in this field and says consumers should look at two areas: selection and installation/padding. Let’s first check out carpet types as you want to choose one that will last at least 10 to 15 years and begin with its fiber — the most important element.

• Nylon has a nice feel to it, is reasonably long lasting, holds its color and resists mold and mildew. To prevent stains, be sure it’s been treated with a good stain-blocker. It costs $8-$30 per square yard.

• Olefin/polypropylene is very strong, stain resistant, colorfast and resists mold and mildew. It’s great for areas with lots of high traffic, such as indoor-outdoor carpet. Unfortunately, olefin doesn’t have that lush feel many of us desire in our homes. Though higher than nylon at $8-$25 a square yard, it’s also much more long lasting.

• Polyester is soft, thick and plush, plus it keeps its color beautifully. Another great trait is it’s often made from recycled plastic bottles which those of us environmentally conscious find a great choice. However, sometimes within as few as five years, you’ll notice crushing from normal wear and tear and furniture marks. It costs $10-$15 a square yard.

• Triexta is a new type of polyester that’s fast gaining market appeal. While it’s tough as nylon, it’s softer and very stain resistant and sells for $18-$30 per square yard.

• Wool carpeting is the best of all worlds. It’s dense, lush, soft, color fast, stain resistant and, just an all around wonderful grade. Unfortunately, you’ll spend a pretty penny for wool carpet at $40-$100 a square yard.

Whichever carpet you choose, look for both loop and cut-pile. The latter looks and feels softer, while the loop style is more resilient.

(To be continued next week…)

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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