Tag Archives: carpet

Should You Upgrade Builder’s Carpet for your New Home?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
There are few moments more exciting in life than the moments before you buy a new home…

Buying a new home is one of the most meaningful and expensive experiences most people will have in a lifetime. It comes with a lot of decisions that need to be made, including which type of flooring you’ll have installed. Depending on how much you’re spending on your home as well as on who is building it, what you’re offered may vary considerably, with everything from vinyl to hardwood flooring to carpet being on the table. Today we’ll take a look at the most common options for carpeting new homes and whether or not they’re worth upgrading.

What’s commonly offered for standard builder’s grade carpet?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
…but choosing between installed carpets can be a challenge (particularly if you try to do so with arms full of children).

Builder’s grade carpet will typically be a wall-to-wall, broadloom option that doesn’t cost anything beyond the base price you’ll pay for the home. While the specific style and pile you get will naturally vary from one builder to the next, we’ll focus today on what you’re likely to get when buying an entry- to mid-level priced home.

Typically, what you’ll see here will be either a 20-30 ounce cut pile Saxony or 20 ounce looped Berber-style carpet; you’re not going to see cut and loops or friezes here, and whatever you find will almost always be in a low (not medium- or high) pile. While these options can and do work for many homeowners, there are a number of situations where you might want more durability, such as if you have a large family, pets, or live with a number of roommates or have frequent guests. Builders know this too; this is why they start you with the cheap stuff to get you to look into the upgrades.

What will you get with an upgraded builder’s carpet?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
You’ll spend more on an upgrade, but you’ll get more for your money….

When you upgrade with a builder before buying a home, your carpet weight will increase slightly–perhaps up to a 30-ounce Berber or a 40-ounce Saxony carpet–but you’re still not going to get the truly high-weight, high-pile carpets that give the most longevity. Why bother with an upgrade, you may ask?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
…including boosts in longevity…

The reason to consider upgrades is because in addition to a significant boost in carpet weight, you’ll typically also get far more options in the fibers that make up the carpets. For example, while a starter carpet made from synthetic fibers may only come in polyester or olefin, an upgraded carpet may give you nylon (which is more durable than polyester) or triexta (which compares favorably with nylon).

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
…and in the color options you can choose between.

Beyond added fiber choice and quality, upgraded builder carpets can also get you a much wider range of colors available, as long as you’re willing to pay for them. While you may only get to choose from three colors (which all look the same) when selecting a standard grade carpet, the upgraded options may be as much as seven, ten, or more. The point, again, is to get you to spend more money, as this gives the builders more when the project is done than they would with a base model home.

Is it worth upgrading builder’s carpet, or is the standard carpet enough?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
Ultimately, it’s a question of where you want to put your money.

The main question to answer at this point is whether it makes more sense to upgrade the carpet ahead of time or stick with what the builder offers. The answer, of course, will vary with what you want to do with your home. If you have a larger budget and don’t want to bother with a carpet replacement in a few years, we’d suggest choosing the highest carpet grades your builder offers. While you’ll spend more in the process (especially if your builder pairs carpet upgrades with other required upgrades in the home), you’ll also insure the carpet this way against the time and money needed to replace it in the next several years, which might be worth the extra money up front.

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
If you want to get rid of carpet entirely down the line, skip the upgrades.

However, if you’re interested in a carpet replacement on a shorter timespan, whether to find your own high-end carpet or to switch away from carpet to a bare floor like hardwood, vinyl, or tile, then you’ll obviously want to skip the upgrade and just stick with whatever you have. Presuming you have a different floor in mind for the coming years, you’ll be better off saving your money to reach your long term goal.

Which vacuums can handle both standard and upgraded carpets with ease?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
…and no matter what you do, don’t skimp on the vacuum.

Regardless of which carpet you choose, you’re going to need a vacuum to keep it clean. While you can choose the cheapest vacuums on the market to do a passable job with low-pile carpets, particularly if you don’t plan on keeping them for long, we always recommend planning for the long term, which in our books means buying vacuums that will a.) last long enough to see you through as many carpet changes as you care to make, and b.) be capable of cleaning whatever pile or style your needs and tastes lead you toward. The bad news is that very few vacuums on the market are designed to meet both of those qualifications. The good news is that there are still a few that are, notably those made in Germany by Miele. Two examples include the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog (reviewed here and here) and Miele Compact C2 Electro+ (reviewed here and here).

You  can buy the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog here on Amazon or buy the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ here.

Canadians can buy the Miele C3 Cat & Dog here or buy the Compact Electro+ here.

If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home cleaning tools by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.

What’s the Best Value Carpet for the Money?

What's the Best Value Carpet for the Money?
Want a lot of carpet for not a lot of money? Here’s what to look for.

If you’re wealthy enough to buy whatever carpet you lay eyes on, finding the most durable carpet in the world is an easy task: just read this article. However, if you’re like the rest of us, you’re not going to be able to spend tens of thousands of dollars on carpeting, even if the carpet you’d buy would last a lifetime. We’ve frequently received requests by email for long-lasting carpets that normal individuals, couples, and families can afford; in other words, a quality, high-value carpet on a budget. Today we’ll look at the fibers, styles, twist levels, and other factors that tie into getting the most for your money from a carpet you can afford.

For durability, you’re still going to want nylon over any other fiber

What's the Best Value Carpet for the Money?
Choose synthetics over natural fibers…

While you can get a number of years out of most synthetic fibers, you’re still going to get the most durability out of nylon. It’ll last longer than polyester, much longer than olefin, and while it’s potentially no better than triexta (also known as SmartStrand), it has a longer track record, having been around since the 1950s. Stay away from natural carpet fibers; while they’re better for the environment, they come with more headaches when it comes to moisture resistance and cleaning; wool is a perfect example of a durable, yet high-maintenance natural fiber.

Any style can work, but if you’re really not picky, friezes last the longest

What's the Best Value Carpet for the Money?
Keep the style in mind (and look for fiber twists and face weights)…

A carpet’s style (e.g., whether it’s a Saxony, a berber, a cut and loop, or a frieze) is really more about personal preferences than durability in most situations, but there are some differences that are worth keeping in mind. Friezes, for example, are also known as twist carpets, because they have high levels of carpet fiber twist, which leads to much greater longevity than other styles. Berber carpets, which are looped, are more vulnerable to ripping if you have cats or dogs that like to scratch. Cut pile carpets like saxonies don’t have such issues but show footprints easily. In the end, go with what you like, but if you don’t have a preference, choose a frieze. And make sure it has a decent face weight and density.

Color doesn’t matter, but when it does, choose browns, grays, and tans

What's the Best Value Carpet for the Money?
Color matters…stay away from these…

The color of a carpet typically won’t affect how much you pay for it, unless you want a color scheme or pattern that’s particularly trendy when you go carpet shopping. The one exception here is if you want a solution-dyed carpet, which is a good idea since it’ll be nearly impervious to staining.

What's the Best Value Carpet for the Money?
…and look for tones like these.

That said, if you don’t have your heart set on a particular color scheme, our standard recommendation is to choose carpets in earthy tones: that means browns, grays (or grieges, if you will), tans, and taupes. Practical carpet colors are going to do a better job of hiding staining and soiling than any other color scheme; they’ll also give you a better chance of recouping some of your money if you eventually sell your home, as they’ll make staging easier by allowing people to more readily picture themselves in the home.

Look at the warranty information and get as much coverage as you can

What's the Best Value Carpet for the Money?
Read the warranty material carefully…

A carpet’s warranty is the manufacturer’s way of telling you how long they expect the carpet to last. You won’t find a 10 year carpet with a 5 year warranty; a carpet that’s likely to last for a decade will typically come with at least 7 years of warranty coverage, as a manufacturer will want the carpet to last at least as long as the warranty coverage so they don’t have to replace it with their own stock. You’re not going to find 30 year carpets on a small budget, but take the time to compare warranty coverage when you’ve narrowed down your preferences to a few options; if you’re choosing between a carpet with 10 years of coverage and 5, the one with 10 is far more likely to still be around a decade later than the one with 5.

Set a budget and stick to it (and don’t forget the installation)

What's the Best Value Carpet for the Money?
…and don’t buy beyond your budget.

It’s tempting to spend more when you’re in a carpet store, especially if you’re being pressured by a retailer or if you see something that looks like it would go wonderfully with the rest of your décor. However, as in most areas of life, it pays to be patient and to remember what you want. Set a budget before you start shopping and do your best to stick to it. If you find a carpet that takes your breath away, take note of it and see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere or if you can get it at a discount. You don’t want to simply open your wallet and reach for your credit card the moment you find something appealing, as tempting as it may be. And be open to searching for options off the beaten path, like carpet remnants. And of course, don’t forget the installation costs and to make sure you like what you’re buying before you have it nailed to your floor; changing your mind can be costly when things go wrong.

Protect your carpet with frequent vacuuming with quality machines

What's the Best Value Carpet for the Money?
The good news is that whatever you buy, a Miele will clean it.

While you can technically use just about any vacuum to keep a carpet clean, if you want to do a good job at it, you’re going to want a vacuum with a beater brush, and it’s best if that brush is electrically driven. Electric brushes won’t get bogged down in carpets the way air-driven brushes can, and if you’ve got an electric brush with a height adjustment, you’ll be able to clean any floor–bare or carpeted–on the market. Two vacuums that fit the bill while offering buy-it-for-life reliability are the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog (reviewed here and here) and Miele Compact C2 Electro+ (reviewed here and here).

You  can buy the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog here on Amazon or buy the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ here.

Canadians can buy the Miele C3 Cat & Dog here or buy the Compact Electro+ here.

If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home cleaning tools by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.