When even the sales are expensive
Buying Quality Carpet for Less
TDS Reader Solutions
The Problem: Can't Afford New Carpet Prices
Help, we are in desperate need of new carpet. Our living room and bedroom carpet is worn out. In addition, we recently added a basement (dug ourselves!) and put in an open staircase. The stairs still have no carpet because they are in the living room and the carpet will need to match.
We've watched sale after sale after sale, but the prices are still so high, or there is always a catch. We've also looked for used carpet, but have been unable to find enough or in excellent shape. I want to buy quality carpeting so it will last a long time. Suggestions?
"Almost Second Hand Carpeting"
Go to your local carpet stores and see if they offer a guarantee on their carpet installations. See whether or not they remove carpet if people are dissastisfied (with their new carpet) or something to that effect. If they do, you can purchase carpet for a lot less because it will have already been somewhere else (but it would still be new) and they would be willing to get rid of it cheaply.
Try Commercial Grades
We have had rentals for about 25 years. The only type of carpet I would put in a rental or my own house is commercial cut loop carpet. It is a lot cheaper than regular carpet and it wears forever and takes lots of abuse. The cut loop looks like velvet and feels wonderful on your bare feet.
When commercial carpet is installed in a commercial building, they glue it down to the concrete floor. When I have mine installed, I buy the best thickest cushiest pad possible. It is very cushy and nice to walk on. I have never had anyone recognize it as commercial carpet. Once in a while, I find carpet ends that will do a room real cheap, but even when I have had a whole house done, I have never paid more than $7 per yard. It pays to shop around. Most of the time, I can find it for $5 per yard. A high quality pad and installation will cost close to another $5 per yard. This is pretty cheap when you figure it will last 25 to 30 years.
Furniture Store Cast-Offs
My husband used to work at a furniture store, and once a week, this store would have an auction to sell the items that did not sell in the store. They were all nice items and they had tons of carpet each week. Check around at any type of auction. You may find some used carpet. My mother bought used carpet for her living room, hallway, and stairs and spent less than $75. The carpet was in excellent condition.
When we bought our new home, all the carpets in 3 of the bedrooms were trashed. We went to a local dealer, and they have a remnant section in the back. We weren't real picky on the colors, as we didn't have a feel for the house yet and how we wanted it decorated. We ended up finding very good quality carpet with stain protection and warranties for under $1000 for all 3 rooms installed. We even had the padding upgraded because we have 2 small children and a dog. If you didn't care about the "quality" of the carpeting, I'm sure the cost would be significantly less. I got a price quote. If we were to do the same with "special order carpet," our cost would have been over three times that amount. Remnants come in all sizes. All you need to do is a little hunting.
The parents of a friend of mine came up with another unique carpeting solution a few years ago. When he heard that the local bank was going to replace the perfectly good carpeting in its lobby area, he asked if he could have it if he pulled it up. He worked it out with the bank manager so that he came in the morning before the carpet layers came in and pulled it up gently. The result was a lovely blue wall to wall carpet in his living and dining area that only cost his labor.
Also, don't try to save a few pennies by buying cheap carpet padding. It will wear out much quicker than its higher quality counterparts, and when it wears out, your carpet wears out. A good, thick carpet pad will add years to any carpet, which means less labor and money for you in the long run.
Amy F. in Alexandria, Virginia
Go Direct, Buy Wholesale
When we moved into our current house, it needed carpet everywhere! My mom had given me a copy of the "Wholesale by Mail Catalog," which you can find in your local library. I checked thru there and called the carpet outlets. We found beautiful carpet we liked at a local store, and then located the same at one of the dealers in the WBMC for about $8/yd. We found a guy to install it for us and purchased a high grade padding through him. I've had it cleaned once, and the guy told me, "This is really good carpet. It's making me really work to clean it!"
It also helped that we had to buy an entire roll of carpet. They will discount it more if you do this.
Get to know a carpet dealer or furniture dealer who sells carpet. Ask them to let you know of any "irregulars" that you could consider. Or ask carpet installers to keep you in mind for any "pull-outs." These can either be used carpets they've removed, or sometimes someone is unhappy with a new carpet that has been installed and requests a change. If you are on friendly terms with the dealer or installer, they can contact you when an opportunity arises. We got brand new berber-style carpet at a discount because our dealer had ordered a full roll of an irregular weave. These irregulars are used frequently in apartments and duplexes. There's nothing functionally wrong with them, but they didn't weave quite perfectly.
Anyway, our dealer had ordered it as a full roll for a property manager, and had excess, which he offered to us.
I would suggest to the individual that wrote in with the request for carpet ideas be patient and creative. They could pull up the carpets and paint the floors to look like tile using masking tape to measure of squares the size of tiles and sponge paint in the middle of the taped off squares with a base coat of floor paint and then two different colors of floor paint or two shades of paint the same color. I did this in my basement using a cream colored base coat and two shades of beige and people ask me if it is tile. Be sure to let coat dry well before adding the next coat. This will wear for quite a few years which they can use to find a bargain on carpet. If their floor is cold or rough use throw rugs on top of the painted floor.
Buy From Insurance Company
I carpeted my entire (small) house with carpet that an insurance company had replaced from the homes of its policyholders. I was good friends with the agent, who told me that often his company was required to replace an entire carpet when only a small portion of it was actually damaged. The rooms in my house were fairly small, and I was able to carpet each of them with large remnants from this "damaged" carpet and only had to pay for pad & installation.
One Square at a Time
I had a friend who did not want to have the expense of new carpeting for her rec room. She purchased many of those carpet samples in different colors, had them sewn together and she has an unique multi-colored room.
How to Contact Mills
Buy your carpeting wholesale, factory-direct from the mills in Georgia. Shop around, find out what you want from the carpet stores, write down the exact brand name, number, color and all other identifying info. Then call the following 800#s to see if they can beat local prices. You'll save sales tax if it's shipped from out of your state. Shipping costs about 70 cents a yard. Then for installation, you can use someone you know, get a reference, look in your local paper under "services offered," or call a local carpet company and ask if they have any installers who moonlight.
Here are the wholesalers' numbers: Carpet America (804) 730-7777; Quality Discount Carpet, (800) 233-0993; Warehouse Carpets of Georgia, (800) 526-2229; Johnson's Carpet (800) 235-1079; and S&S Mills, (800) 363-4036.
An Area Rug
What's under the living room carpet? If it's hardwood, then go for an area rug instead. Sometimes a carpet store will sell a "room size" carpet from the end of a roll. Edges need to be bound, and if they could do it, it would be a bonus, but check into that.
If the flooring is particle board or linoleum, I'd still suggest an area rug, even if it needs a new wood or stone patterned linoleum/vinyl first. Some times "close out" oriental carpets over the bare floor would give the necessary warmth and look. I have a beauty that I bought for $70 and it "makes" the room.
Take the Next Step
- Keep your new carpet looking its best for less with these 7 ways to save on carpet cleaning.
- Here are 5 things to know when you buy carpet.
- We can help you save redecorating any room in your home. Just visit the frugal home decorating section of the Dollar Stretcher Library before you begin making over that next room.
- Could your financial house use some redecorating? The TDS ebook How to Conquer Your Debt No Matter How Much You Have can provide you with the tools you need to rearrange your budget and get rid of debt.
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