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Is Berber Carpet a Good Choice?

Is Berber Carpet a Good Choice?

By Alan Fletcher-Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate

Is a Looped Berber a good choice for children and/or Pets?

How to select the right carpet style and grade for your home and avoid common consumer carpet buying mistakes.

Berber Carpet

Q. How well does Berber withstand high traffic areas? Is it easy to keep clean and what kind of padding is best? I am going crazy trying to decide if I want a plush or Berber. I have a newborn and know I will soon have lots of messes to clean up!

 

Alan’s Response:

Don’t spend a lot on new carpet if you have small children! Children are very hard on carpets, they spill everything imaginable and parents are often too busy or too tired to clean up messes quickly enough to keep up with the demand.

Looped Berbers made from the Olefin Fiber are hard to keep clean, they snag easily and are not recommended for folks with active children or pets. 

Berber snag

For folks without active children or pets: Berber may be a good choice.   Fact: Inexpensive looped Berber carpets tend to snag easily and mat down more quickly.

Most Berber styles are made with loops. Some Berbers are called “cut and loop” having both loops and cut loops, Some Berbers have patterns and some do not, and still other Berber styles have no loops at all.

Carpet Fibers…

Berber style carpets are often made from Nylon or Olefin, and of the two, Nylon would be the better a more durable choice. Nylon Berbers costs more but lasts much longer, and cleans much easier than Berbers made from Olefin.

Berber Carpet Complaints

Why do Olefin Berber carpets attract dirt and are so hard to keep clean? 

While Berber styles are elegant and beautiful when new, there is a common complaint from homeowners with Berber carpets made with the Olefin fiber. Consumers often report that within a week or two after a professional cleaning, previous spots and stains tend to reappear as if they were never cleaned at all. This is because the Olefin fiber is inherently oily and often makes Olefin hard to clean and prone to attracting dirt like a magnet. Old stains tend to reappear again and again regardless of how many times you have the spots cleaned. 

Why do Olefin fibers attract dirt?

Here’s why… During the manufacturing process the Olefin fiber is naturally oily. Fiber makers use a special process to clean the Olefin fibers to try to remove these oils, but often cut corners in order to reduce costs. Some manufacturers put their Olefin fibers through a “three-phase” cleaning process to try to remove most of the oils. 

Berber Stain

To make a better product, the fiber maker will use a “five-phase” cleaning process which removes much more of these oils from the fiber. This makes a significantly less-oily fiber that cleans much easier and doesn’t attract dirt nearly as much. 

Using the five-phase process to removing excess oils from Olefin is a more time consuming and costly procedure, manufacturers must charge more for these premium fibers and therefore you will pay more for a carpet made from these premium olefin fibers. Unfortunately consumers have no way of knowing which Olefin fibers have been cleaned with the “five-phase” process and those that have only had the three-phase cleaning. 

Rule of thumb: I think it would be reasonable to assume that most Berbers priced under $13.50 per yard ($1.50 sf) would be made using the “three-phase” process. You might have to spend $18 per yard or more to get the better grade of olefin fiber. 

Most carpet salespeople have no knowledge about this manufacturing process and asking them questions about it might be futile. However, perhaps you could ask them to call the carpet manufacturer and see if they can tell you which cleaning process was used in the Berber carpet you are considering. Good luck with that. 

Fact: It’s the fiber type and the size of the loops that matters most.

Inexpensive Berbers snag easily. Often priced at less than $10 per yard, don’t fall for those cheap Berber prices and assume that this low-quality carpet will last more than a few years for you. If you have active kids or pets you need to buy something more durable. 

Large Loops vs Small Loops

Berber styles that have Large loops tend to collapse and fall over more quickly. That makes the carpet appear worn out and ugly, often within a year or two in main traffic areas. 

Smaller looped Berbers tend to resist matting and crushing better and retain its like-new appearance longer. Berbers made of Nylon are more durable and resist matting and crushing of the pile longer than any other synthetic fiber. 

If a Berber carpet is priced under $15 per yard, then it is likely made of Olefin and designed to last a few years at best. You’ll be plagued with lots of snags, pulls, runs and stains that are hard to remove. This is why Berber is a bad choice for folks with active kids or pets. 

A good quality Nylon Berber would clean easier, wear better, and retain its new appearance much longer than would an Olefin Berber. If made with smaller loops, that would make it even more durable.

If you decide buy a Berber carpet and want it to last, be sure to select one with smaller loops, as the bigger loops tend fall over quickly and look worn out sooner. As far as pad goes, an 8-pound minimum density, and a 1/4″ to 3/8″ thickness is required for virtually all Berber styles.

Another option you might want to consider would be selecting a Berber without loops, this is called a “cut-Berber” or a “California Berber” style.

Cut Berber 2

 

Some Berbers are made from wool, which is an excellent natural fiber, but are very costly..

 

What Grade of Carpet

Should You Select?

Take my free Carpet Foot Traffic Test to find out!

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Carpet Wrinkles and Re-stretching Problems

Hi Alan!

I just found your Carpet Professor website and have a carpet question for you which you may or may not be able to answer.

We had our home built a couple of years ago and we selected Shaw’s “Simple Touch” carpet along with an upgraded padding (listed as 8-lb Envirostep). Since then, we have had several issues with carpet wrinkles where it is bunching up badly in every room and down the hallway. This is not just a small wrinkle we are talking about, this is 1” and 2” inch folds in the carpet. The builder sent the installers back and they re-stretched the carpets twice within the first year; but they did so without moving out the furniture.

Now that the one-year installation warranty has expired, the carpets are once again badly bunching up in the exact same spots as before! The builder now says it needs to be re-stretched again because “The carpet was installed when it was cold”… but now I am thinking this has to be something more than just a problem with the carpet. Is it possible there might be a problem with the padding and carpet compatibility? Any thoughts or suggestions?

Alan’s Reply:

I wish I had good news for you. You have a selected a low-quality P.E.T. Polyester builder-grade carpet designed for use in low foot-traffic applications. If you have medium to heavy foot traffic, this could cause your carpet to stretch out in a hurry. It’s also possible that the padding height, if over 3/8” may have contributed to the wrinkles, but I suspect that high humidity, a moisture problem or excessive wetness from a poor quality carpet cleaning may have contributed to the problem.

You have little recourse unless you can convince the builder to re-stretch it again at no charge to you. You should also make arrangements to move out all the furniture yourself if they won’t do it as it will help them re-stretch the carpet more effectively.

Meanwhile, save your money and put in a better grade of carpet when you can. I always recommend buying a Nylon Carpet if you want a long-lasting carpet. In the meantime, make sure you don’t have an un-checked moisture problem. Check to make sure your gutters and downspouts are deflecting rain water away from your home properly. This is a very common source of moisture problems for homeowners. If you have a basement or your home is built on a slab, it would be smart to do a moisture test to make sure the concrete is not a source of moisture. Have the concrete sealed if there is a problem. It’s not too costly to have the concrete professionally sealed. You can even do it yourself for less using Thompson’s Water Seal available at Home Depot.

Alan

Follow up:

Thanks so much for the response Alan,

Ironically we had a major moisture problem in the crawl space under the house the first year. (Standing water) and the house was covered with mold. They removed the mold and sealed the crawl space and now it’s all climate-controlled. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what caused the carpet problems.

The good news is the builder will be coming out to re-stretch the carpet again despite it being 2.5 yrs after build, the bad news is we have to live with a low quality carpet (which I already figured…even with no bunching. I hate how the pile mats down with the first foot print) so I guess we will suck it up until we have enough money to get all new carpeting in a couple years…. Thanks again!

CarpetProfessor.com Reveals Insider Secrets to Choosing New Carpet Wisely!

Thanks for visiting my blog! I am Alan Fletcher, a 30+ year carpet expert and no longer sell or install carpet. I assume you may be in the market for new carpet or flooring soon and I have free information that will surely help you make wise and informed choices.

As you will soon discover when you begin shopping for new carpet for your home, office or rental, choosing the right new carpet can be quite difficult, confusing and complicated, not to mention costly!

Should you choose the wrong type, style or grade of carpet you will stand to lose a lot of money and/or end up with a carpet that does not perform nearly as well as you might have hoped. In some cases, some carpets can mat down quickly and look worn out in a short year or two.

As a retired 30-year carpet expert, trust me when I say that homeowners need to take the time to learn about selecting the right grade of carpet to meet their needs and goals. I created CarpetProfessor.com to help educate homeowners how to choose new carpet wisely; how to avoid common retail carpet scams; and how to properly maintain your new carpet. It’s a free service I provide with no strings attached and you also have free access to Alan’s hand-picked list of Preferred Carpet Dealers.

Alan Fletcher aka The Carpet Professor

More Free Information:

How Much Does New Carpet Cost?

Before You Buy New Carpet CHECKLIST

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