The Truth About Carpet Warranties

Very few things in flooring have caused as much consternation for both consumers and manufacturers as carpet warranties.

The consumer wants to know that what they just bought is going to last. The marketing department at the carpet mill wants to assure the consumer so they'll buy carpet. Then the legal department at the carpet mill rewrites the warranty with language so vague and with so many exclusions that they can deny anything if they choose to.

Carpet warranty denied?  Learn more at Pelletier Rug. A warranty that's denied is no good.
The end result is everyone is unhappy. The consumer is unhappy because the carpet they bought didn't hold up, and the carpet mill denied the claim. The marketing department at the carpet mill is unhappy because they don't understand why the market share of carpet compared to other floor coverings is declining. And the legal department at the mill is unhappy because they have to deal with unhappy consumers who are threatening to sue. And the floor covering dealer is unhappy because many consumers blame them for a warranty that they have absolutely nothing to do with.

It becomes even more complex when the warranty is provided by the maker of the yarn, who sells the yarn to the manufacturer, who sells it to the dealer, who sells it to the end consumer. Many consumers don't even know who made the yarn, and now they are being told that this company they never heard of is the one who provides the warranty.

Common Sense

The first step to making everyone happy is for someone, somewhere to return to common sense. Carpet is NOT going to last forever. Carpet WILL soil. Carpet CAN stain. Carpet WILL wear out.

If a consumer is looking at an inexpensive carpet, don't expect that carpet to last 20 years in a high traffic situation, even if you believe the warranty says it will. You are going to be disappointed, and you will waste your money.

Tip #1

Quality carpet has always worn well, whether it is covered by a warranty or not. Inferior carpet does not wear well, whether it is covered by a warranty or not.

Stain Warranties

We've all seen the commercials on television that shows wine, chocolate cake, or spaghetti splattered across a white carpet. And then the picture fades to a completely restored carpet. Is this truth or fiction?

The answer is both. Today's carpets ARE much more resistant to normal household food and beverage stains than they were years ago. Stain resistant, not stain proof. If fabrics could be stain proof, we'd all be wearing stain-proof clothing. But stain-proof clothing does not exist. Nor does stain-proof carpet exist. Let me put it this way: If carpet was stain-proof, it would be impossible to dye it. Dye is just a stain we apply to a carpet to make it the color we want. Stain-proof would mean we could never dye the carpet a color, which we know is bunk.

So how do you remove that stain you saw removed on television? First, you have to get to the stain immediately! The quicker you get to a stain, the better your results are going to be removing it.

So how do stain warranties work? By excluding everything. It is not uncommon to see verbiage in stain warranties like: "excludes stains from very strong dyes". So if your carpet is stained by mustard, the manufacturer can just say: Mustard contains a very strong dye (which it does).

Another exclusion we've seen is: "excludes stains from anything that permanently changes the color of the carpet". How do they do this with a straight face? That's what a stain is!!!

And if you have not had your carpet cleaned professionally every 18 to 24 months by an IICRC certified professional carpet cleaner, or can not provide receipts proving same, your claim can be denied. Many competent cleaners are not IICRC certified.

There is so much exclusionary language that if a manufacturer does not want to cover a claim, they can find some reason to deny the claim. Likewise, if a manufacturer stands behind their product, they will do so even if the warranty does not specifically cover the specific situation. There are plenty of manufacturers that will over-warranty consumers that are not specifically covered, just as there are some that will under-warranty consumers that should be covered.

Tip 2

You can save yourself a lot of grief if you eliminate these three items from your home: grape juice, orange soda, and mustard. Or at the very least, make sure the kids eat in the kitchen.

Wear Warranties

There is so much confusion about wear warranties, I could write a book on it. Most consumers think that a carpet that has flattened down like a paper plate would be "worn". They've seen the 10 or 20 year wear warranty on the back of the carpet sample, and assume that the carpet will last that long.

But the manufacturers define wear as the fiber being physically worn away by more than 10% (usually). The warranties also specify that the wear must be even throughout the entire area (who walks around the edge of their room and under sofas?). What is not covered is appearance. A yarn can be matted and crushed flat, but physically be there. It looks bad, but it is still not covered by the wear warranty because the yarn is still physically there.

Furthermore, the warranty usually states that the manufacturer can replace only a section of worn carpet in the middle of a room. Is that what you were expecting?

Tip 3

Synthetic pile carpets DO NOT WEAR OUT. They UGLY OUT. This is a key difference.

Some consumers were becoming savvy to the fact that Wear Warranties were not covering appearance, so some manufacturers developed a new warranty called a Texture Retention Warranty. More requirements. More exclusions. And again, it didn't cover exactly what the consumer thought it covered.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Don't be frightened from warranties. Just use common sense. Your floor covering dealer can be your greatest advocate. First of all, we are professionals. Unlike some home-centers, we do not temporarily cover the flooring department with someone who mixes paint. We know flooring inside and out, and we know what's reasonable. Ask us if you have a concern.

And if we feel your concern is legitimate, we can present it to the mill in a way that is most likely to get your claim approved. Do you know what "poor yarn bundle encapsulation" is? You don't need to. We know what it is, and we can speak the language that flooring manufacturers speak.

Tip 4

Finally, get quality carpet. The NUMBER ONE reason for premature wear is not getting the quality you needed in the first place. Everyone wants to save money. There are plenty of places to save money in your home, but skimping on the one item in your home that gets the most use (something you WALK ON every day), is not something we recommend. The right carpet will bring years and years of trouble free enjoyment.