WHAT IS YOUR CARPET WARRANTY WORTH?
If you are about to buy carpet because of some warranty you were told about, or read on the back of a sample, stop and think about the following before you buy. Some of the newest warranties have strict guidelines that the consumer must follow or you have NO WARRANTY. The most common of these is the “clean your carpet every 18 to 24 month limitation”. If you do not have a receipt from a certified carpet cleaner, don’t even bother to file a claim. Stainmaster changed their carpet cleaning requirement from 24 months to 18 months effective Sept 1, 2013
To begin with warranties have conditions. These conditions are often not explained to the consumer. For example, lets look at the 10 YEAR WEAR WARRANTY offered by most carpet makers. The salesperson tells you this carpet has a 10 year wear warranty. The conditions of this warranty are rarely mentioned. In this case the conditions often require that you lose 10% of the fiber, and that if you do in fact have an area of the carpet that has lost 10% of its face weight, the mill, under the 10 year warranty, is only obligated to replace that area of the carpet that has lost the 10%. I know of no mill that has had to replace a carpet under this warranty in the last 20 years.
Another variation on the warranty above is extending it to 20, 25 or even “lifetime” wear warranty. This is usually done by dealers that want to make their product appear of a higher quality than that of their competition. However, their “25 year” product is often found at another dealer under a different name and really only carries a 10 year wear warranty from the mill.
A second popular warranty is the STAIN WARRANTY. One stain warranty from Shaw Industries, for example, is “Lifetime”. On the surface this sounds too good to be true. Shaw, however is the first to tell you no carpet is STAIN PROOF! Also, this warranty excludes stains from a) Non food and non beverage items i.e. your cat pukes on your carpet; no warranty. b) Certain foods and beverages that contain strongly colored natural substantive dyes as found in mustard or herbal tea; c)Substances that destroy or change the color of carpet i.e. bleaches, acne medications, drain cleaners, and plant food; d)vomit, urine and feces.
Shaw and other mills further limit stain warranties by stating that “there can be some slight loss of stain resistance in high-traffic areas such as stairs (and hallways, in front of doors). The warranty excludes any residual stains that my occur in those areas.” Most of the carpet mills also want you, the consumer, to only clean the carpet using certain procedures, and if unsuccessful in removing the stain, to call a professional cleaner. If the professional cleaner cannot remove the stain, and it did not fit into the limits above, then , and only then will the mill consider your claim under their stain warranty. By the way, be sure to have that receipt from that professional carpet cleaner handy because you only have thirty days from the date of the cleaning to contact your dealer or mill rep.
A third popular warranty is what is touted as the “no crush, no mat warranty”. If you read the fine print, what they are really talking about is texture retention. If your carpet has this warranty then it is most likely better constructed than many other carpets without it. However, like all carpet warranties, this one too is limited. You must maintain your carpet by having it professionally cleaned every eighteen to twenty-four months, and stairs are expressly excluded from this warranty. Furthermore, the twist level in the fiber is what determines if the texture is damaged enough to warrant replacement. If just the very top of the fibers are a little frayed, you will not have a valid claim.
Say you have a valid claim. What can you expect from the fiber producer, or the mill? Most often not much. All of the warranties I have seen have a sliding scale of replacement value. For example, if the carpet is just one year old, you can expect 100% of the cost of a new carpet and labor to be offered to you. If, however, your carpet is two years old, you can only expect 80% of the cost. If your carpet is three years old, the reimbursement is only 60% and so on until after the fifth year, when you can only reclaim 20% of the original value of your carpet.
The last warranty type is that offered by the dealer. The dealer’s warranty is no better than the integrity of the dealer’s business. The warranty offered by some guy working out of the back of a van may not be as good as that from the established dealer who has community identity. The dealer may offer a fabulous warranty that looks too good to be true. Ask to see the “fine print”. You will discover it is based on the same type of guidelines as those warranties discussed in the paragraphs above.
When you shop don’t be misled by the warranties. In general, the more you pay for a carpet, the longer it will wear. Make your buying decision based on your faith in your carpet dealer; not based on warranty claims. Shaw (Anso) , BASF, Mohawk(Wear Dated and Triexta),Invista (Stainmaster) etc. have similar warranties.
Finally, please know that if you do not clean your carpet every two years (more often if you have pets), you will have no warranty, period. This cleaning has to be done by a IICRC certified carpet cleaner, not your home cleaning machine. And this just in; your carpet has to be installed per CR-105 (our industry installation bible) or you have no warranty that involves seams, wrinkles, or tuft loss.