10 Tips for Understanding Carpet Labels

Read the Fine Print: Carpet Warranties
Be mindful of stain warranties.
Be mindful of stain warranties.

The warranty is perhaps the most important and revealing information on a carpet label.

However, it's a misleading rule of thumb that the better the warranty is, the better the carpet quality. Although this is generally true, some manufacturers like to take advantage of this belief and fashion a warranty that looks much better than it is. That's why it's always important to read the fine print.

Wear warranties supposedly protect against carpet wear, but conditions may stipulate that a certain percentage of the carpet would have to be worn before the manufacturer will repair it. And even then, they it'll only repair the section with wear [source: Goddard]. Wear warranties alone won't protect against manufacturing defects, so look for a manufacturing warranty that also protects your carpet if it falls apart due to shoddy workmanship.

Another kind is stain warranties, which are good, but are almost always riddled with conditions. Consumers shouldn't expect any carpet to be completely stain-proof no matter what, and manufacturers want to protect themselves. So, pay special attention to the fine print that lists the proper maintenance of the carpet. It might require you to get the carpet professionally cleaned periodically (keep the receipts!). If you don't follow the conditions, the manufacturer won't honor the warranty.

Obviously, carpet shopping is a lot more involved than it looks. But even though it requires more attention and care than other flooring choices, carpet offers advantages of comfort, insulation and style that may make it worth it.

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