Buying Carpet Tips - What You Should Know Before You Buy Carpet

You’ve decided on buying new carpet, but you want to shop smart. You already know how carpet is made and the difference between carpet styles, but what else is there to know before you buy? Lots.

Royal Plus Flooring in Ocean City MD is happy to offer some buying carpet tips to give you the upper hand on what will soon be under your feet!

Carpet Seams

Unless your room is narrower than 15 feet, you’re going to have seams. Most carpet comes in widths of 12 feet and 15 feet — and on occasion, 13 feet. The degree of visibility of your seams depends on the texture and color you choose, as well as the lighting and furniture placement in your room.


When you carpet your stairs, its backing may show on the bends. And if it’s a looped carpet, it can snag — especially at the seams or transitions. Check our Carpet Care section for information on how to properly care for looped carpet.

Nap (Pile Shading)

A carpet’s nap runs in a single direction, making pile reversal or the shading you see from a vacuum trail, completely normal for most cut pile styles. If you’re not a fan of this, window treatments and furniture placement can minimize the effect.

"The softest carpet with the ultimate in performance"


Let’s face it. You get what you pay for. If you want your carpet to have a great pile density and tighter twist construction (which leads to improved durability), then you’re going to want to go with a higher quality (and more expensive) product. New carpet adds value to any home, so it’s an investment worth making.


Carpet covers a large part of any room, so it’s vital that you consider some basic rules when selecting its color. First off, know that once your carpet is installed, it’s going to look lighter in color than the sample you saw in the store. Don’t ask us why, that’s just the way it is — kind of like losing a sock in the dryer.

Next, recognize that color can affect the apparent size of a room. Call it a visual illusion or a trick of the light, but lighter carpet makes a room look larger and darker colors make a room look smaller and more intimate.

If you like to redecorate often or plan to move soon, go neutral. It’s much easier to imagine furniture in a room that is decorated with neutral colors.


It’s going to happen, no matter how long you hold out from sipping wine or munching on chips and salsa in your freshly carpeted room. Stain protection is an important consideration when buying carpet. Products come with various levels of protection and warranties. As the quality of a carpet increases, so does its stain protection level and warranty coverage.


Padding or cushion is the layer of spongy material between carpet and floor. It’s the padding — not the carpet — that determines whether the carpet feels good or great under your feet.

Quality padding can help preserve a carpet’s look and can extend its life and comfort by providing tougher protection against wear and tear.

Padding is sold using quality specifications, not color specifications. The color of the sample you see in the store may not be the same color as what’s installed in your home. But as long as it feels good, who cares?!


It’s a good idea to read the product specs and warranty coverage on the back labels of your carpet prior to purchasing. Doing so will give you the information you need to protect your investment — and eliminate any surprises down the road.


“Cost per square foot” is just one component of the overall price tag for new carpet. Ask your retailer to calculate the total cost of your floor covering project. Here’s what he or she may include beyond the cost of the carpet, itself:

  • Furniture removal/replacement
    Some retailers or installers may charge to remove (and then replace) furniture in the room to be carpeted.
  • Demolition/disposal of old floor covering
    Unless your home is brand new, there’s probably an old floor covering that is going to need to be removed and properly disposed of.
  • Sub-floor preparation
    Depending on its condition (after removal of the old floor covering), your subfloor may need to be prepped for carpet installation.
  • Product delivery
    Delivering your carpet and padding may not be included in the “cost per square foot” price.
  • Installation
    There will most likely be a “cost per square foot” or “square yard” to install your new carpet and padding.
  • Materials required to complete the installation
    Additional materials, like adhesives, moisture barriers, stairnosings and baseboards may be required to properly install your carpet.


In addition to your total project cost, annual cleanings are also recommended to maintain the beauty and life of your new carpet. Ask your Royal Plus flooring Professional or consult the manufacturer’s warranty and care guide for directions on cleaning and maintenance.

How Carpet Is Made

You walk on it every day. You lay on it. You play on it. But where does it come from? Do patient old women in exotic countries spend months sewing each strand of those little fibers together until they have enough to fill a whole room?

That would be a no.

There are two primary ways to make carpet today. The first is called tufting. The second is called weaving.

Tufting is a technique in which computers direct machines to construct specific densities, patterns and styles of carpet using synthetic yarn materials.

Step one is to weave the fibers into the backing material, which is there to keep the fibers in place. The tufting machine is like a giant sewing machine where 800 to 2,000 needles work together to pull the yarn through. Most tufting machines are about 12 feet wide. As its needles penetrate the backing, a small hook called a looper grabs the yarn and holds it in place. This process results in what is called loop pile construction. For some styles, the looper rocks back against a knife, allowing the small loops of yarn to be cut, creating a cut pile carpet.

Step two is to dye the carpet. Sometimes this is done before the final few processes — and sometimes it’s done afterwards. Carpets dyed prior are usually a single color without a pattern or style. Carpets dyed after typically go through one or more silk screens to obtain the pattern or style that the computer had in mind.

In step three, a coating of latex is applied to both the tufted, dyed carpet’s primary backing, and also to secondary backing. The secondary backing is often made of a woven synthetic polypropylene material. The two parts are squeezed together in a large heated press, where they are held firmly to preserve their shape. Some manufacturers also apply stain protection during this step — a good idea now that red wine has become a new food group.

The final steps are shearing (to remove all the little loose ends) and inspection (to ensure both quality and accuracy to the digital design).

Weaving, on the other hand, can be done by machine on massive looms or by hand. In either case, fibers (called “warps”) are placed vertically on a frame and pulled tight enough to maintain tension while yarn is being woven over, under or around them.

After the weaving is complete, new fibers (called “wefts”) are laid horizontally across the yarn, locking the warps into place.

Woven carpets tend to be more luxurious and higher quality than tufted carpets — a fact reflected in their price.

Ninety percent of today’s carpets are made of synthetic fiber, comprised of one of three materials: nylon, polypropylene or polyester. All three are created by a chemical process that uses oil and natural gas.

The rest is natural fiber — most commonly wool, which is the most durable (and expensive), as well as silk and bamboo.

Which manufacturing process is right for you? That depends on your desired look, the level of expected foot traffic and your budget. A good quality carpet can last a long time — so consider amortizing the cost across the many years that you and your family will enjoy this both timeless and timely choice of floor covering.