How to buy new carpet for a 2-bedroom house?
March 17, 2011 2:52 PM   Subscribe

I need to install new carpet in my 2-bedroom house. I know next to nothing about this. Sorry, we're not looking for wood or vinyl floors at this time. I just want to hear from people who've been through this experience. Got one grade-school age kid, one dog and one cat. What type of carpet deals with this traffic, resists stains and still looks good and is moderately priced? Also any advice on trying to learn how to install this yourself vs. professional installers.
posted by caveatz to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
second Burhanistan. I've installed my own carpet without knee kickers and torn all the skin off my palms and fingertips, and I've serially installed and uninstalled Astroturf for professional indoor soccer/football teams *with* knee kickers and really bruised my knees (*and* torn the skin off my palms and fingertips). Installing carpet is best left to people who know how much to charge for that kind of suckage.
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:04 PM on March 17, 2011

I know that Lowes & Home Depot routinely offer flat fee installation specials (~$99). We're considering upgrading some flooring in our home (DIY), but if we were doing carpet, I'd definitely just pay the pros.

Also with a kid & pets (and lungs yourself), you may want to consider low VOC options.
posted by Kronur at 3:06 PM on March 17, 2011

Choosing the kind of carpet is really a matter of personal preference. I recommend you go shopping and look around before making decisions. Talk to the people in the carpet center, that's what they're there for.

Buy the best carpet pad you can afford.

Don't try to install the carpet yourself. It isn't worth the pain and the carpet will never look good. It won't last as long either. Having a pro do the install is just another way of protecting your investment.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:07 PM on March 17, 2011

Buying the tools to stretch and attach the carpet will probably cost as much as professional installation, so unless you are going to make a business of it, it's not worth it.

For moderately priced carpets, nylon stands up well. Wool is better if you have the money, but not many of us do. Cheap fibers will crush and "ugly out" too quickly. We also have pets, so we avoided berber or any kind of loop. Pet claws can get stuck and zipper a long line of loops in a instant.
posted by Knowyournuts at 3:47 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't know about your area but around mine, all the carpet stores have a per linear metre price that includes installation. They knock around 20 bucks a metre off for self installation. As a standard room may only have 4-5 linear metres of carpet, the extra $100 bucks to have professionals install is very worthwhile.
posted by Kerasia at 3:49 PM on March 17, 2011

nth-ing everyone else on don't try to install it yourself. You can install laminate flooring yourself easily, I've done it, and you can install other wood flooring or tile with a bit of a learning curve on the first few rows, but carpet is much trickier.

Really, in your situation with the toddler, dog, and cat, I'd install a floating laminate like Pergo myself. Since there is a padded backing dropped stuff tends not to shatter and it's very easy to clean.
posted by localroger at 5:50 PM on March 17, 2011

I lived in a rental that had this berber carpet with a kind of varigated almost paisley pattern, green and blue and flecks of burgundy and and other colors on a paler background that had kind of a bluish tint. I'll tell you, I've never had a carpet that hid dirt and marks and cat hair so well. That's what I'd get if I were in a position to pick out carpet.
posted by lemniskate at 6:15 AM on March 18, 2011

Just agreeing with upthread
- get an installer because they install cheaper than you could buy the real tools and doing it without all the tools is even worse
- a good pad will make almost anything seem plush whereas a cheap one will make even a good carpet seem thin
- pick at least one level above the cheapest fiber so that it won't look old after a year (I didn't do this, and I regret it)
- pick a slight pattern over a pure monochome to hide dirt better. (Fortunately my monotone room is not one of the high traffic ones, but it sure looks like it is!)

I don't have a stong opinion on mega-stain-proof modern-technology carpet, as I've always lived too cheap to have any. But it intrigues me.

The only thing I have to add is what my mom said when I told her we were buying carpet:
"Just pick something the color of cat barf, it'll save you a lot of fretting later."
I didn't take her advice, as the rest of the house was carpeted grey-and-black fleck, i.e. the color of cat-hair, and I figured I should stick with the theme. I do recommend choosing one or the other, though.
posted by aimedwander at 6:56 AM on March 18, 2011

nthing everyone else and aimedwander.

I am a big time DIY (read: cheap) guy. I have even performed small scale outpatient style surgery on myself and friends. I cut my own hair.

I would never do carpet on my own. I have watched the pros do it, and it's like freaking magic. Carpet spreaders, and more importantly knowing how to use them effectively is ...well, it's amazing. Not to mention the classic trick of the trade - cutting the carpet to fit. You have to account for the stretch of the carpet and get it right despite the annulus that occurs when you lay the carpet against the wall AND cut it straight.

Besides if you get the installation added in with the carpet cost, it pretty much works out to free install, or at least dirt cheap. AND they'll do it much much faster than you can. AND better. AND you won't have to do it.

As for stains, well if you ever wondered why casinos and hotels have such butt ugly carpet, now you know. Best thing to do is to get decent carpet with stain resistance built in. Vacuum it regularly and hit it with Scotch Guard every so often. And adopt a zen attitude about the fact that it will get stained. Kids and pets = hell on carpet.
posted by Xoebe at 5:42 PM on March 19, 2011

Sorry to be late, and also sorry to sound like a commercial, but I can really recommend Beaulieu's line, Property Management Solutions. As you might guess it is geared toward rental property and it only comes in shades of cream, beige, and brown. You can pour red wine on it and wipe it up. You can pour liquid bleach on it and it won't fade. With a good quality pad it feels as good underfoot as any pile carpet, it looks nice, and it wears like iron. And it was inexpensive. You just have to like brown.
posted by acorncup at 8:51 PM on March 30, 2011

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