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How to Choose Staging Carpet to Sell Your Home

How to Choose Staging Carpet to Sell Your Home
Home, sweet home. Here’s how to make it someone else’s by choosing amazing carpets.

When you’re ready to sell your home, unless you’re selling it on your own, your real estate agent will probably recommend refreshing your design and décor elements if you haven’t done so in the last few years. This might mean small things like removing shelf clutter, medium touches like repainting your walls, and larger changes like updating appliances or replacing your carpets. Today we’ll review the importance of staging, why carpet is a good flooring material for home sales, which carpets to choose for staging, and how to keep them in good condition until the papers are signed, and the check is in the bank.

What is staging and why is it important?

When you update your design and décor to make your home more appealing among all the others on the market, what you’re doing is staging your home. As a homeowner, you’re the director of a play where your home is the stage and potential buyers are the audience who, ideally, will give you the ultimate praise of buying your home. So naturally, you want your home to act the part.

Whenever we hear from real estate agents about the importance of carpeting in staging, their opinions are rather consistent. Unless you’re targeting the hardwood or other bare floor crowd, having a clean and attractive carpet can significantly increase your ROI, or return on investment, when you sell your home. As a result, the last thing you want to do when inviting buyers into your home is show them a carpet that’s been stained, soiled, shredded, buckled, or (yes, we’ve seen this) covered with mold. To get your home off the market and sold as quickly as possible, get rid of your old carpets and floors and put in new ones.

Why choose carpets over hardwood floors for staging?

If you’ve ever watched a home design show or flipped through a magazine, you know there are more options than ever for flooring a home. If you want bare floors, hardwood is the reigning trend-setter, although you can also choose vinyl, laminate, and tile. But we generally recommend installing carpet over any of these, due to its afford ability, its forgiving nature, and because you’re going to need to live with it until it’s sold.

Regarding price, carpets will almost always cost less to purchase and install per square foot than hardwood floors; this is only increased when you think of secondary costs with hardwood flooring, like the trim and moldings you’ll need if installing hardwood flooring for the first time. Selling your home is expensive enough, especially with so many new buyers expecting sellers to cover closing costs; if you can save money and get an attractive renovation, it’s worth doing so.

Second, carpet is more forgiving of floor imperfections like an uneven floor, an odd layout, or misaligned walls. We’re not suggesting denying such conditions exist when questioned by potential buyers, but people are visual–if a house looks right, they’ll be willing to ignore or repair imperfections later on. If it looks wrong from the start, most won’t give it a second look.

Third, unless you get an instant sale, you’re going to need to spend some time in your home–typically weeks, and often months or even years. As a result, you don’t want to suffer with flooring you can’t stand while waiting for a closing date that may be a long time coming. If you like carpet, buy it. There are plenty of other people who do. And people who prefer hardwood flooring will still buy your home and remove your carpets if they like it enough.

If you’re going to stage with new carpets, which styles and recommended?

Once you’ve decided on carpet, the next step will be to figure out which carpet to choose. The process is a bit different than that you’d follow if you wanted the carpet for yourself. For example, unless your home costs 7-figures, you’re not going to need a carpet capable of lasting for another 20 years. This doesn’t mean to choose a bad carpet; it just means that the warranty isn’t as important as it would be if you were going to spend the rest of your life there.

Once you’ve set a budget, think of aesthetics. There are four main residential carpet styles: berbers, Saxonies, friezes, and cut and loops. Berbers and Saxonies are more traditional, low-pile options. Cut and loops are trendier and more modern, while friezes are basically updated shag carpets. Think of your pile height; low piles are easier to vacuum and maintain, but high piles are more comfortable and durable.

Keep color in mind; it’s generally best to stick with neutral colors like tans, browns, and warm grays unless you have more modern décor, which may allow you to be bolder. And of course, you’ll want to consider your fiber type. Natural and synthetic fibers have their pros and cons; that said, synthetic fibers are much more popular, and nylon is the most expensive of those while olefin is cheapest. Polyester and triexta fall in between, with polyester typically offering the best compromise between price and performance. If you want a natural fiber, wool is the most popular option, although it’s also a challenge to maintain.

Don’t forget to clean your carpets before staging them

How to Choose Staging Carpet to Sell Your Home
Whether you buy new or stick with old carpets, keep them clean with a Bissell Big Green.

While it’s important to keep carpets clean whether or not your home is on the market, it’s extremely important to have them look their best when you’re staging your home for potential buyers. You don’t need to vacuum and steam clean after every visitor, but the cleaner your flooring looks (whether carpeted or bare), the more likely you’ll be to have an offer and the higher that offer is likely to be.

How to Choose Staging Carpet to Sell Your Home
Use your Miele Cat & Dog to clean your carpets until they look like new, and then take it with you to wherever you move next.

For deep cleans and stain and soiling removal, we recommend a carpet cleaner like the Bissell 86T3 Big Green. It combines industrial strength with residential pricing and is one of the best appliance investments a homeowner can make. For vacuuming, we prefer machines capable of handling all piles and styles of carpeting you might use over the course of your life, as well as machines with the reliability to clean for decades. In our books, the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog (which we review here and here) and the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ (which we review here and here) are two strong examples that fit both requirements.

You can buy the Bissell 85T3 Big Green carpet cleaner here on Amazon. You can buy the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog here or buy the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ here.

Canadians can buy the Miele C3 Cat & Dog here, the Compact Electro+ here, and the Bissell Big Green 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.

Carpets Reduce, Improve Allergy & Asthma Symptoms, Per Research

Carpets Reduce, Improve Allergy & Asthma Symptoms, Per Research
Contrary to popular belief, carpets aren’t going to make your allergies worse. They’ll actually make them better. Read on to learn how and why.

If you’ve got allergies or asthma, you’ve probably been advised to stay away from carpets. As the story went, carpets were seen as allergy magnets, and the fact that they held allergens would inevitably lead to worse symptoms than what you’d experience in a home with hardwood or other bare floors. However, there is a growing body of research suggesting that the old advice was wrong, and that the truth might actually be the reverse. In other words, studies are showing that carpet may be one of the best ways of managing allergies in a home, apartment, condominium, or other indoor living space.

German Allergy and Asthma Society notes the benefits of carpeting for allergy management

Our first bit of evidence comes from Germany. DAAB, or the Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund (the German Allergy and Asthma Society), ran a study on the effects of carpeting when managing airborne allergens; they published their results in February 2005 in Allergie konkret, their bimonthly magazine on allergy management; you can read an English translation here via the Australian Carpet Institute. Aside from the interesting fact that in Germany, 64% of homes have bare floors while 36% feature wall-to-wall carpeting, this is the most relevant part:

The core result of the study is, however, clear: In a room with a bare floor, the risk of more airborne fine particulate rises, while the use of wall-to-wall carpeting minimizes this risk. This means that for especially sensitive people whose airways are already damaged, it is an essential preventive measure to select a floor covering that binds dust and does not release it into the air.

The study goes on to note the deleterious effects of fine dust as well as allergens, and how allergens that become airborne (such as cat allergens that leave cats while they lick their fur) bind to dust particles which then find their way into the lungs and lead to acute and chronic health issues. They suggest that indoor air, which is the air we spend 90% of our lifetime breathing, does not receive enough attention when developing standards and limits for air pollution.

In the study conducted in German homes, they additionally mention how the average concentration of fine particulates in homes with bare floors was nearly 63 micrometers per cubic meter, significantly above a limit established by an EU Directive 1999/30/EG of 50 micrometers per cubic meter. In households with full carpeting, in contrast, the average particle concentration dropped to 30 micrometers per cubic meter, well within recommended limits.

Housing characteristics, reported mold exposure, and asthma

A second study from Europe, conducted as part of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey, looked for a connection between home characteristics tied to a variety of factors (e.g., floor coverings, mold exposure, dampness, and level of house dust mites) and symptoms of asthma in adults. The study involved 18 countries and a population of approximately 19,000 people, and the results are available here via the Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In brief, they found…

Fitted carpets and rugs in the bedroom were related to fewer asthma symptoms and bronchial responsiveness. This effect was consistent across centers and more pronounced among house dust mite-sensitized individuals.

In other words, their results mirrored those of the German study; carpeting was associated with fewer allergic responses, not more. The take home message is that if you want to reduce allergens in your home, you don’t want hardwood floors, tile, vinyl, or laminate, as beautiful and aesthetically pleasing as you might find them: you want good-old fashioned, wall-to-wall carpeting. We’ve often stated that carpets are the largest air purifiers in your home, and articles like these continue to confirm our hypothesis.

To reduce carpet allergens, you need to vacuum and clean your carpets frequently

No matter how much carpet you have in your home, it’s not going to completely eliminate allergens. You still need to keep your carpets clean, which means frequent vacuuming and deep carpet cleaning. This goes for all residential carpet styles (e.g., Saxonies, berbers, friezes, and cut and loops) as well as all fiber styles, whether synthetic or natural.

Generally, the higher your carpet pile, the more allergens it will trap, as thicker piles (i.e., those with longer fibers) will have more surface area. The same goes for higher density carpets and soft carpets. The take home point is that having a regular cleaning schedule and quality machines to get the job done will help keep your carpet–whatever its style–working at full capacity as an allergen trap. Next we’ll take a look at which machines are most efficient at maintaining carpets.

Which carpet cleaners and vacuums are recommended for allergy management?

Carpets Reduce, Improve Allergy & Asthma Symptoms, Per Research
For deep cleaning to pull out household allergens, you’ll want a Bissell Big Green.

While the mere presence of a carpet will have beneficial effects for allergy and asthma sufferers, per the studies above, the cleaner you keep the carpet, the more allergens it will be able to absorb and the better the air quality you’re likely to enjoy in your home. For deep cleaning, we typically recommend the Bissell 86T3 Big Green. It has the power to remove a wide range of deeply set stains and soiling events, and will do so as well as any industrial or residential machine under the $1,000 price point.

Carpets Reduce, Improve Allergy & Asthma Symptoms, Per Research
A Miele canister like the Cat & Dog is our vacuum of choice for frequent removal of household allergens from carpet fibers.

As with deep carpet cleaning, the more you vacuum, the more allergens you will pull from your carpets, allowing your carpets to more efficiently absorb airborne allergens when you aren’t vacuuming. We recommend heavy-duty canisters with whole machine HEPA or charcoal filtration and the ability to handle carpets of a range of piles and styles. In our books, the best options include the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog and the Miele Compact C2 Electro+. The Cat & Dog is particularly adept at handling pet allergens and both will clean both carpets and hardwood floors with ease.

You can buy the Bissell 85T3 Big Green carpet cleaner here on Amazon. You can buy the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog here or buy the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ here.

Canadians can buy the Miele C3 Cat & Dog here, the Compact Electro+ here, and the Bissell Big Green 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.