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What to Ask When Shopping for Carpet


When it comes to choosing the right carpet from the right retailer with the right installation, it can be like traversing a jungle.  One person’s Chevy is another’s Cadillac.  This place talks about this warranty, while another warranty is stressed someplace else.  Here they’re all about this fiber, while the other guys are all about some other fiber. 

How does one compare true apples to apples to know that they’re getting the best carpet for their money for their home?

So I thought that a map – per say – would make a useful post.  Please let me know what you think of it!

First of all, I always suggest asking the following questions:

1: What is the stain warranty?

Warranties are a great way to gauge the quality of a carpet, but the small script makes it difficult to know if one stain warranty is as good, better, or worse than another. 

Most stain warranties cover common food and beverage (this does not include coffee, red wine, mustard, and similar items that I would consider common). 

Some warranties are good enough to cover all food and beverage, but nothing else. 

The best stain warranty, of course, is a 100% stain proof warranty (which is included on all of Mercers’ carpets) where literally every thing imaginable is covered as long as the carpet is properly maintained.

2: What is the texture retention warranty?

Way back in the day, the wear warranty was the big one everyone talked about regarding durability.  With today’s technological advances, it is pretty much a mute point.  All that means is that you won’t walk away 10% of the fiber in the time amount stated by the warranty.  If this ever were to happen, that is a VERY serious manufacturing defect. 

This is wear

The texture retention warranty, however, is a great way to gauge the durability of any particular carpet.  This is the anti-crushing and matting warranty.  The technical side if it is that the yarn twists won’t loosen over time showing wear and traffic patterns by flattening.

This is matting and crushing and applies to texture retention

3: What kind of fiber is the carpet made with?

Of course wool is the best fiber (especially Grade 1 or New Zealand Wool) but you also have some very high quality synthetic fibers.  While the basic categories of synthetic fibers (such as nylon, olefin, and polyester) are pretty much equal, there are MANY grades of fibers within each category.

One quick and easy way to tell if a fiber is of good quality is the hand test (or even better, the barefoot test).  If the carpet is silky or soft, that means that it’s made from extremely fine fibers and is highly durable because of a huge reduction in defects.  It’s like the difference between silky hair and frizzy hair (I myself am guilty of the latter).

Note: the style of a carpet (plush, loop, or a mixture) doesn’t really effect durability any more.  But one style could be better than another in certain areas of a home.

4: What kind of backing does the carpet have?

Carpet wears out from the top down and the bottom up.  A high quality fiber on a low quality backing doesn’t do you any good.  Just like a high quality carpet installed poorly doesn’t perform as well as it could.

Most carpets have a backing that is glued on and looks like lots of little squares on the back of the sample.  For this style, the smaller the square the better.  Also, if this type of backing has a soft cloth covering, that’s generally a sign of a higher quality backing. 

There is also such thing as a woven backing.  This is a highly traditional backing that is still in use today because of its high durability.  To look for this kind of backing, take a look at the back of the sample and look to see if you can see the color(s) of the fibers used on the front.  This kind of backing should feel a little knobbly to the touch.

5: What kind of pad is included in the quoted price?

A high quality pad acts like a shock absorber for the carpet, extending its life.  I personally wouldn’t use anything less than a 6lb virgin rebond pad (virgin means that it has never seen a floor before, the recycled pad looses its resiliency faster). 

Please, never ever use a foam pad as they loose their resiliency very quickly (hence why Mercers doesn’t sell it, ever). 

Rubber pads are a great option as they add a huge sense of luxury without too much height.  Though make sure that they emit very low (or no) VOCs and are made to meet USA standards.

Note: the poundage of a pad (6lb, 8lb, 9lb, 20lb, etc) refers to how much pressure is needed to condense 1 cubic foot of the material.

Some added benefits that some pads have are antimicrobial treatments and spill blocks, these are great ways to help ensure the health of your home!

6: How is the carpet to be installed and who is installing it?

9.9 times out of 10, carpet is installed using tack-strips along the walls and stretched into place on top of the padding.  This is what I’ll recommend every time for inside the home. 

As for installers, I’d make sure they’re bonded, insured, and master certified to do the job right.  Most retailers subcontract the work out (Mercers has their own full time employees who receive only the best training).  Always ask where the installers are employed and check into that company’s reputation in addition to the retailer’s.

Be sure to ask about the installation guarantee.  Maryland law requires a minimum of a one year installation warranty.  Some retailers in Maryland provide 2 additional years on top of that.  Mercers guarantees their installation for the life of the floor.

7: If something goes wrong, who do I contact regarding warranty claims?

We all hope that you’ll never need to use this information.  But, you do want to make sure that the retailer (or better yet your own personal flooring consultant) acts as a negotiator for you.  The retailer can get farther easier than you can because they can always threaten not to sell the product or service.

8: Is a free in-home measure and inspection provided?

The answer should always be “absolutely!” as carpet or any other type of flooring can NOT be installed correctly without an inspection of the subfloor and the exact dimensions of the space.  Also, this is when the flooring design consultant can look for lifestyle clues, design preferences, and other useful tidbits of information to help them help you choose the best carpet for your home.

9: What does the quoted price include?

No one likes hidden fees.  Ask if it includes transitions at door ways, the installation, the padding, the carpet, movement of furniture, and any necessary sub floor prep.

10: What kind of training does the flooring consultants receive?

The flooring consultants are supposed to be the experts.  It’s their jobs to make sure you get the absolute best floor to meet the demands of your lifestyle and your style preferences.  And they’ll need to be trained in home design in addition to the technicalities of installation and the product itself.

I myself, through Mercers, have received over 500 hours of training regarding all of our products, their installation, how they impact the feel of a space regarding performance and design, and how to get the information I need from you and the in-home measure and inspection to make sure I can point you in the right direction. 

Mercers is proud of the fact that their team receives the absolute best training in the industry and is constantly looking for ways to raise the bar.

So that is the map I came up with.  What do you think?  Did I skim over something you’d like to learn more about?  Or did I skip something of interest all together?  (Yes, I’m shamelessly fishing for comments! lol)
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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You’re Invited: Buy One Get One Private Sale


I recently mentioned an upcoming sale featuring Tigressa SoftStyle carpet. But what I didn’t mention is that it’s a Private Sale and the 5 limited edition styles of Tigressa are on a buy one square foot get a second square foot free discount!

And I would like to personally invite you to take advantage of that and the other specials:
  • 10% off select Shaw flooring plus a $200 discount
  • 25% to 50% off Tigressa Soft Style carpet
  • 25% off everything else in the store

The Private Sale is on the 13th and 14th of May (the first Friday and Saturday of the month) and we’ll have catered refreshments as well as educational demonstrations. Plus, if you mention this blog post when scheduling your complimentary pre-measure and inspection*, you’ll get a chance to win!

For more details, visit the Facebook event page or post a question using the comment form below!

*To schedule your free in-home measure and inspection, send me an email at Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com or call me at 410-480-0087.
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[My Favorite] Resista SoftStyle by Martha Bubert


Martha Bubert is one of our in-house designers and has been working with us for over a decade.  She’s great at helping customers pull all aspects of a design together from the floor up.  Martha utilizes her expertise to help homeowners out of our Historic Downtown Westminster Showroom in Carroll County of Maryland.

“Having grown up in the days of ‘shag’ I have always been hesitant to recommend a polyester to my clients, but that was before our new Resista Soft Style line of carpet! 
“Not only is it made with a strong, durable fiber but even its stain resistant qualities have been enhanced with the latest in polyester technology.  When the fiber is still in liquid form, the stain protection treatment is added, making it apart of the fiber itself.  Once it is spun into a yarn our design team makes certain there is a style perfect for each room in your home. 
Resista has some of the thickest multicolor friezes found anywhere.  I would not hesitate to recommend any style in this line.  In fact, I would love to have Resista’s Soft Comfort Supreme in my own home.”
Does this sound like a carpet that you would like to have or already have in your home?  I’d love to hear what you think!
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[My Favorite] Tigressa Soft Style Carpet by Joel Corchaine


Joel Corchaine is the manager of our Ellicott City/Columbia Showroom.

“Tigressa is one of my favorite carpets to talk about.

“Being a softer, stronger carpet than your basic carpet, Tigressa will outperform. With the latest technology in manufacturing, the fiber is half the size of a human hair. This gives you an ultra soft texture. With that said, the microfibers show less matting, crushing, and wear. They took the top nylon fibers to the next level by improving the wear, softness, durability, and color enhancement.

“They are so sure of the performance that they back it up with Platinum and Gold level warranties including the Beautiful Guarantee, Wear, and Texture Retention. Plus, they back it up even further with Soil, Stain, and Installation warranties. And do not forget the 10 Year No Exclusions Stain Warranty that 3M includes on all Tigressa carpets.

“My favorite style is Lost in Soft because of its thickness. My favorite color is Solar Wind which offers a two tone color that will go in almost every room.”

What carpet do you currently have in your home? What do you like about it?  What would you like to improve upon?
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[My Favorite] Tigressa SoftStyle by Kevin Bryson


In this post Kevin Bryson will talk briefly about why he likes Tigressa SoftStyle and what his favorite style and color is.  Kevin is the Manager of our Historic Downtown Westminster Showroom and has been a part of the Mercer Team for over a decade.

Tigressa…the newest, strongest nylon made.  One touch of this extremely soft carpet and you’re hooked!! 

All the newest styles, newest colors, combined with the newest technologies makes this carpet a great choice for any room of the house.  Tigressa comes with some of the best warranties possible in the industry, which gives you piece of mind. 

My favorite is Pillow Soft in the color Willow: a soft sage color that is sure to calm any room.”
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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