Understanding Carpet Warranties
If a warranty is a major factor in your selection of carpet, before you buy, it’s important to understand exactly what carpet warranties are all about. Many warranties have strict rules about care that aren’t clearly explained to the consumer, and if they aren’t followed, the warranty is void. Below, we’ll go over some of the most common carpet warranties and the lesser-known conditions you should be aware of.
First and foremost, nearly every warranty has a condition requiring that you have your carpets professionally cleaned every 18-24 months. So, unless you have a receipt from a certified cleaner, your claim is almost certain to be denied.
Most carpet makers offer a 10 Year Wear Warranty, which sounds great to most people. But, if your definition of “wear” relates to maintaining appearance, you are certain to be disappointed. Wear, by a carpet maker’s definition, is loss of pile fiber, and an acceptable amount of loss is generally built into the warranty. It is typically expected for a carpet to lose 10 percent of its fiber over that time. If more loss should occur, under the 10 year wear warranty, the mill is only obligated to replace the specific section that has excessive fiber loss. It is extremely rare for a mill to replace an entire carpet under this type of warranty.
You might also be interested in a Stain Warranty, which is offered as a lifetime guarantee by some manufacturers. This sounds too good to be true, right? Well, let’s read the fine print. Any maker will be the first to disclaim that no carpet is actually stain proof. Because of this, most stain warranties have the following exclusions: Any stain suffered from a) Non food and non beverage items, i.e. pet stains, oil, ink etc; b) Foods and beverages that contain strongly colored natural substantive dyes, i.e. wine, mustard, or herbal tea; c) Substances that can destroy or change the color of carpet i.e. bleach, drain cleaners, or plant food; d) Vomit, urine and feces will not be covered under warranty.
Many carpet mills further limit stain warranties by stating that slight loss of stain resistance in high-traffic areas (stairs, hallways, entryways) is acceptable, and that residual stains that occur in those areas are also excluded from coverage.
Additionally, most makers only want you to clean their carpet using certain procedures, and if unsuccessful in removing the stain, to hire a professional cleaner. If the professionals cannot remove the stain, and it isn’t excluded by the terms above, then and only then will the manufacturer consider your claim. It is critical in this case to keep any receipts from your professional cleaners and submit your claim within 30 days of the cleaning.
You may have also seen a “No Crush, No Mat Warranty”, which applies to the carpet’s texture retention. Carpets with this type of warranty are typically better constructed than those without it; However, like all warranties, this one too is limited. For example, stairs are clearly excluded from this warranty. To determine whether the texture is damaged enough to warrant replacement, a mill representative will evaluate the twist in the fiber. If only the very top of the fibers are slightly frayed, you will not have a valid claim. In terms of crushing or flattening of the pile, a waranty like this will often stipulate that if the pile can be restored within a percentage of the original height, a claim cannot be accepted. Using hot water extraction and a pile rake can usually restore pile height and uphold most warranties.
Finally, remember that your carpet must be installed according to professional installation standards, or you stand to void warranties in regards to seams, wrinkles, or tuft loss.
When you shop for carpet, don’t be misled by warranties that sound great on the surface. In general, the more you pay for a carpet, the longer it will last. Make your buying decision based on your faith in your carpet dealer, not based on a warranty.