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Everyday Cheapskate: How to Buy Carpet: What You Need to Know to Make the Perfect Decision

Mary Hunt on

It's not something you buy every day. But when it's time to buy carpet, you'll want to know your stuff. Make a bad decision and you'll pay a significant price in dissatisfaction and disappointment.

First, decide the style of carpet and type of fiber you want, determined by where it will be installed and how much money you have to spend.

Visit several retail carpet stores that will let you take carpet samples home for a few days. Walk on them. View them in a different light. Set a heavy piece of furniture on them to see if the fibers will rebound once removed.

STYLES OF CARPET

PLUSH

Usually one solid color with even, smooth pile height. Varies from lightweight (apartment-grade) with fewer tufts per square inch to heavier weights that are very dense. Comes in a vast range of colors. Shows footprints and vacuum marks.

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FRIEZE

Very tightly twisted tufts of yarn. More expensive than plush but wears much longer -- five years is not unusual. Comes in a variety of pile heights. Durable, holds up to heavy use without matting or showing traffic patterns. Rebounds well.

SCULPTURED

Has two types of tufted loops and cut pile in varying heights. Often called "high-low." Doesn't show much dirt. Often used in apartments.

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