Taking over The Property Brothers
Well, I know it sounds dramatic, but … let’s call it passion. The deal is for my wife to sit and watch Property Brothers and similar shows (House Hunters, Rehab Addict, etc.), and since I am the wonderful husband that I am, I will sit down and watch them with her. HOWEVER, I began to notice a pattern that has been unsettling me. They are ALWAYS removing any carpet they find from the house, and they are NEVER putting a new carpet IN the house. Now to be honest I think they still use rugs in the bedrooms sometimes but they don’t really talk about it much. Anyway, in the same way that a stranger who observes that an animal is being abused intervenes to protect it, I intervene to protect CARPET from these vicious attacks. But first, a quick “who am I” review to intervene on this issue, like, what gives me the right to comment on this? I’m glad you asked!
I started when I was about 7 years old and started vacuuming the carpet in my own bedroom. I’m not lying. The truth is, I grew up in Sacramento, CA in the 60’s and we didn’t even have carpet. I can’t even recall a particular time when my wife claims that we rented a carpet cleaning machine at our apartment in Lewiston, ID, and since she never lied yet, I’m sure it’s true. But then in 1974, I started working for a janitorial company here in Moses Lake, WA, which involved cleaning all types of floors, including carpet. About two years later, I had a short 2-year stint as a corporate pilot and flight instructor and then started my own carpet cleaning / janitor business in Dayton. After two years I sold that and came back and took over the business in Moses Lake that I used to work for, which was now exclusively carpet (and upholstery) cleaning. Since then, I have personally been to over 10,000 carpet cleaning jobs. During that time, I also became a Certified Flooring Inspector for the Northwest US This includes looking for problems with carpet, laminate, wood, tile, vinyl, etc. and I have performed several thousand inspections over the past 20 years. I have also written a book and numerous articles on different types of floor coverings. So all I want to say, I know a “thing or two” on the subject, so there!
Now I am not naive. I understand that when a culture has certain preferences, etc. it is almost impossible to deal with that. And in our culture here in the United States at this point in history, the carpet is just not, well, … “cool”! That doesn’t mean it’s not better or worse, it’s about perception. So, here is my case of carpet over alternate flooring.
Just to throw you off the hook, I’m going to start off with that carpet is NOT as good as other floor coverings.
1) You CANNOT install it by yourself. Do not even try. Laminate? Safe! Hardwood, tile? You will have a much better chance with that than with a rug.
2) Traffic areas. There I said it. You will rarely find traffic areas on hard surfaces, but you can often get that on carpet. And, traffic areas may or may not be dirt. Let me explain. When I am inspecting a carpet for a “wear” complaint in traffic areas, I will place a bright light on the “wear” area. If I can still see the dark area in the traffic area, then that is dirt. It just needs to be cleaned. That’s good news. However, if it no longer looks dark, then it is due to abrasion of the fiber. Here’s the deal. When a carpet is built, the threads are made up of numerous “filaments” that are thinner than human hair and have a smooth surface. If a carpet is not properly maintained with regular vacuuming and cleaning, then the particles in the fibers can start to scratch the smooth surface of the filaments and of course this mainly occurs in TRAFFIC areas. Eventually you will have a dark area that may also have dirt on it, but even after cleaning it will still look dark because now it is WORN. As I tell my clients, we can clean the dirt, but we can’t do anything about it.
3) This is not a physical / technical benefit, but a hardwood floor especially can increase the resale value of your home if that’s in the future.
4) Usually the carpet won’t last as long as a hard surface, although some people like to know that they can change their flooring every 10-15 years as new designs / tastes come on the market rather than being locked in a “50 years”. wooden floor.
Well, these are the advantages of carpet over a hard surface floor:
1) It cannot slip (especially great for stairs!).
2) Regular maintenance is easy. Plug in the vacuum, go vacuum, put the vacuum away. However, I am not a fan of the Roomba type of robotic vacuum as its suction / particle removal capacity is VERY limited.
3) The total cost including installation is cheaper than hard surfaces.
4) Carpet is very tolerant of any moisture problem compared to hardwood and engineered wood. This is especially true on a concrete subfloor.
5) There is no annoying clicking or knocking noises with normal foot traffic, and it also adds a thermal barrier to the home floor, especially on a concrete subfloor.
6) It is more aesthetically pleasing. Well, for me it is. This is what I have seen over the years. In the 70’s we had carpeting in every room, even in the kitchen and bathrooms. We had curtains on the windows and curtains. We even had bean bag chairs! Wait, who cares about bean bag chairs? Anyway, fast forward to today. When was the last time you saw curtains on someone’s windows? I still do it once in a while, but not very often. And now the carpet in the kitchen / baths is so weird, and of course that makes sense. However, I’m going to someone’s house in Seattle for a floor inspection, and they have vertical or horizontal vinyl curtains, and Pergo throughout the house. The problem for me with hard surfaces is that they are, well, … hard. I think our houses have become less attractive as a place to escape from the harsh outside world, they have become a less soft cocoon of comfort and protection from the outside world than before. For me, the ideal home would have tile in the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room, hardwood / laminate in the living room and dining room with maybe a rug in the dining room, and then rug in the family room, hallway, stairs, and the bedrooms. But there is another problem that is increasingly emerging with our aging population.
7) Many people are beginning to notice that their joints and bodies in general ache when they live in a house with hard surfaces. Lately there are a lot of stories where a couple has been told about getting rid of their carpet (in relation to allergies etc) and now they are almost completely immobilized by the noise of walking on hard wood / tile floors.
And then 8) that I was saving for last. What many people think of as a carpet weakness is actually a benefit, if the carpet is properly maintained. The carpet has been accused of generating dust. What the carpet does do is trap dust / allergens that enter through the air and from people’s shoes, that is one of its BENEFITS. Instead of those things floating in the air, they get trapped in the carpet until they are removed by vacuuming (with a HEPA filter, of course) and finally professional cleaning. Some procedures that would also help include wearing “house” shoes / slippers and leaving normal shoes at the door. It’s amazing how much your shoes will get stained with the soles when you wear them. It is best to keep that out of your home as much as possible. Another is to have entrance mats (outside and inside) at entry points. I would even suggest having entrance mats that are made with olefin fibers on the face. Olefin “likes” oil-based residues, like those that get on your shoes when walking through a parking lot. Instead of all of that entering your home, olefin entry rugs / rugs will remove much of that automatically when you enter your home.
So, those are some of the basic pros and cons of carpet vs. Hard surface floor coverings. If you go for hardwood floors because that’s what you like, then it makes perfect sense. You might like the new vinyl decks that are so popular (Allure, etc.) But what I’ve noticed as a floor inspector is that ANY type of flooring can and will have problems a certain percentage of the time. Any information you can get beforehand is vital and quite readily available, although I would avoid websites where every product they describe is “wonderful” and “amazing.” Rather, a third-party site where they are not trying to make money selling what they describe makes the most sense. Freeflooringhelp.com is one of those places where you could at least start your research. And by the way, don’t tell the Property Brothers about my challenge as I think they are much taller than me!