I would like to buy wool carpeting - how difficult can it be??

Discussion in 'Carpet Q&A' started by Gailey, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. mcbrides

    mcbrides Canadian Installers Senior Member

    Hi Gailey:

    In Canada we call it underpad. Your best bet would be a high-density commercial rubber, but the dealer will be able to show you what they have available.

  2. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    I just received information from a trusted source that Masland has had wool in their line for many years. Although as one who maintains an all wool showroom, Masland is not a line that I professionaly would ever associate with as a serious supplier of wool products. Anymore than I would Shaw or Mohawk, even though both have maintained some selection of wool in their respective lines for decades.

    Brinton's makes many fine quality products. We do carry the Brintons line and have for many years and I would recommend them highly. The thing is; it will take some looking, but once you find a dealer that carries several wool lines and really understands their business. You will be in good hands and on your way to having a floor that provides the quality you desire with the exceptional performance you have every right to expect.

    Please do keep us posted. We here really do care about our industry, even beyond our own market areas.

    With kindest regards,

  3. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    Peter and Dobby,

    I have e-mailed some of the names in your posts today to see if they have suppliers in Calgary. I must say I liked the look of Curragh very much, but unfortunately my e-mail bounced back as undeliverable. If either of you have any contact details for that company I would be grateful to receive them.

    Now that said, the Curragh site did not seem to give any technical specifications as to weight and density etc. I did however, finally see an explanation to the differences in manufacture between Axminster and Wilton. Is one considered better than the other or are they simply different methods of weaving?

    Is there a specific relationship between pile height, face weight and density/threads per inch that I should be looking for? You can buy good quality round brilliant diamonds by numbers these days, how about carpet?
  4. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Axminster is one of the oldest woven products out there. The thing with Ax is that it will be a cut pile carpet only.
    Wilton is very old also. It can be both cut pile and loop pile.
    I think both will go back to 1600"s.

  5. strip buster

    strip buster my way is the best way. Charter Member

    Dobby, have you had any Brintons from India yet?....
    Godfrey is a carpet that takes a lot more time to install(domestic) not much give especially netcorp......over here cavalier and bremworth are the same as in cavalier bremworth.,
  6. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Strip Buster, being a different country and all, I am not familiar with how each particular product is branded in differing countries. It is my understanding that Cavalier, as in Cavalier UK, does service the Canadian market. I also know that Cavalier Bremworth, out of NZ does provide goods in North America. In the states, the Cavalier Bremworth products are sold under the Bellbridge label.

    Being as Bellbridge is on the south west Pacific coast a few miles from a major seaport, shipping from NZ is less complicated. On the east coast of the United States, receiving goods and materials from the UK is more affordable, especially with the absence of overland transport cost. With Alberta being on the western side of Canada, it could really go either way. Especially when we add International Trading Partners, trade zones, tariffs, duties, taxes and politics.

    Hope this helps.


  7. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Gailey, unlike diamonds, the comparison of carpets is not so clear cut. To keep with your analogy, it would be more like comparing diamonds to all precious and semi-precious stones. It's really not a matter of good, better, best. Because the purchase of carpet obliges us to combine both the esthetic and functional needs of the application the process quickly becomes a juggling match. Especially if the pesky constraints of a budget is introduced into the equation. This is why finding a retailer with whom you can find confidence and trust in really is your safest place to be.

    Is a diamond better than a sapphire? A sapphire better than an opal? Is platinum better than gold? It really all depends on the occasion, purpose, use and function of the item.

    Hope this helps,

    With kindest regards,

  8. Mike Sliwinski

    Mike Sliwinski The Doctor Is In I Support TFP Senior Member

    Great topic ! --- keep asking questions Gailey, I'm learning too.

    Hey Deb, Underpad ? really ! that's to funny.

    Gailey, I recommend 40 ounce synthetic felt Underpad, but I must admit I keep looking at those Healthier Choice samples.

    Hey KW, will karastan's Karoloc backing remain flat over time ? I consider Healthier Choice a more cushioned cushion than the firmer cushion of synthetic felt. Personally, I would like the added softness underfoot, but that softness may add risk for wrinkles.

  9. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    So far so good. We have been using heathier choice ever since diplomat got bought up from leggett&platt. We use the yellow weight the most although a job I am doing next month wanted a little softer so we went with the green which is a little thicker. Karastan is using heathier choice and has their karastan stamp on the pad. Its a great pad for on steps as you don't want it too soft and carpet slides on it easy, no straining to position the carpet in the room.
  10. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    Well in this context, a sapphire is harder and will withstand wear better than an opal and a diamond is better than both in this case! If only I knew as much about carpet as I do about gemmology!

    The rep from Brintons is very helpful. I like the fact that the two types I have my eye on so far (Duet and Bell Twist) are manufactured in Kidderminster, UK - a stones throw from where I used to live. He also tells me that all Brintons yarn is manufactured in Kidderminster but some is shipped to India for commercial production and some to Portugal. Not sure which type of carpet is manufactured in Portugal.

    To think that lambs born in the field next door to my former home in the UK, whose wool was and is stored in a depot next door on the other side, might well go into a carpet I might choose to put into my house in Canada. Kind of gives me that warm fuzzy feeling you don't get with nylon!

    Karstan is well represented in stores here, so when I am recovered from this bug I will go take a look at what's on offer and note down the technical specs. Perhaps I had better start building a spreadsheet.

    I am learning so much, thanks to all participating!
  11. ortiz34

    ortiz34 2nd generation Senior Member

    Don't buy Karastan nowadays, they're owned by Mohawk Industries and they are killing their line slowly (they still have some great wools.
    Wouldn't you rather support the smaller, local mill?
    I try to do as little selling of the BIG THREE manufacturers nowadays, I just don't like the direction they've led our industry into. IE producing inferior products that people were not happy with and will never go back to carpet. Hence, less people are covering alot of areas in carpet where they use to before. Which in turn leads to less business for us.

    Support the small guys who pay attention to detail and make high end products and have superior quality control compared to Shaw/Mohawk/Bealiuea
  12. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Thats a personal opinion if there ever was one. Karastan is an excellent product even if Mohawk has it.
  13. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    Well, I can see this is going to be quite a dance before I am through! Good job I've got a sense of humour. :cool:

    Before I started this thread, and before I decided on wool, I had visited a local showroom. The woman I spoke with on the phone during my first enquiry insisted that the first step was a visit to the showroom. Fair enough, she wants to see commitment, so off I went.

    Some two hours later, having secured an appointment for an estimator to come out an measure my house, which is approx 4,000 sq ft on 3 floors, I came out of there completely confused, realising how little I knew about flooring - never having bought any in the 14 years I have lived in Canada.

    Although I knew the overall square footage of the house roughly, I had no idea what the different spaces measured, so had no way of knowing what was do-able and what wasn't. Other than knowing that I needed a combination of tile and/or hardwood for kitchen hall and bathrooms and carpet elsewhere, I thought if I had an idea of the size of each space, a budget could be drawn up.

    Well the estimator has been and gone, I spent another hour and a half with the same woman yesterday. Difference being I am significantly more educated than my previous visit, which only served to make her that much more vague about everything. She was insisting upon my making choices but completely unwilling to give me any idea of the dimensions. And when I started asking about technical specifications for some of the carpets she was recommending, she became increasingly reticent.

    Had I realised that this was the kind of two-step you have to go through in order to get new flooring, I would have got the tape measure out myself. Which is, I guess, my next step.

    I'm not sure if I should ask this next question in this thread as I am loathe to sully my wool quest with a question about nylon. However, if I try and put wool everywhere I am likely to bankrupt us and send my husband into an early grave! So I am thinking of a nylon carpet for the basement. I have a berber there at the moment. This is not a high traffic area (we are empty nesters). I quite liked the look of a Royalty carpet called "Boucle". Can any of you offer an opinion as to Royalty's quality?

    Oh, one last word on yesterday. She quoted me C$17.29 + GST per sq ft on Karastan "Fifth Ave Flair" incl. installation and a 7lb underlay. I did think about asking her whether or not Karastan mandates use of their own specific pad in order to qualify for a guarantee, but decided there was little point in confusing her further.

    Thank goodness I found you guys :bow:
  14. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    With the exchange rate currently being almost at par, and in considering relative freight costs to Alberta, the price is not out of line. However, and this is a BIG HOWEVER, this particular product may not be the best value for the entire home.

    The Fifth Avenue is a real beefy product with lots of what my wife calls 'ummph' My question to you would be, do you want the same carpet to run contiguous throughout your home? If the answer is no, then I would recommend this product on hall, stairs and perhaps the Master Suite. We can then consider prioritizing the other areas by importance, starting with the living/family areas at the top and guest bedrooms at the bottom.

    If we were to consider introducing a nylon carpet, the basement is an ideal place for it. The other areas to control cost without compromising performance is in the remaining bedrooms by appreciating the fact that the level of performance required for a guest bedroom is far different from that of the main hall & stairs.

    Getting back to the question of the same carpet being fit throughout. If the answer is yes, then I believe we can easily find that same look in a much more affordable product that will easily meet all the needs of a full home installation.

    My last question is, in order to allow us to better assist you, which color in the Fifth Avenue were you leaning towards?

    With kindest regards,


    PS: This is very important; women have an instinctive ability to accurately judge character and distinguish fact from fiction and sincere assistance from uneducated resistance. Trust your gift. Don't worry about being able to defend or deny your instincts, THAT'S WHY THEY ARE CALLED 'INSTINCTS'!!! :yesss: If the person you are about to give thousands of dollars doesn't feel right, DON'T DO IT!!!

    Because the truth be known, most people in flooring sales have very little actual knowledge of the product and applications. You are already above the norm in the research you've done so far that the incompetence will be very identifiable.

    When you find the right retailer, you will most certainly know it.
  15. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    Not to defend the retailer, but alot of people try to the the old "shake and bake", take the measurements and run to the next shop and try to get a better price, all the while leaving the shop that spent the time to measure with nothing but lost time and wages. I can certainly understand your concern of wanting to know how much area certain rooms are and what would be your best option for efficiency. I have a good feeling that this saleswoman will most certainly help you in any way possible to get you what you want when you're spending this kind of money on carpet. Best of luck to you and I hope in the end you get exactly what you NEED...and that your husband have a heart attack. Hehe
  16. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    You make wise comments Mr Tappet.

    One thing I have to consider in all of this is that this is likely not the house we will spend our retirement in. That said, it is a dated, but high-end house with a "location". The re-flooring is part of a larger and much needed renovation that will keep our house current and protect our equity.

    So there is a certain level of quality that I want to maintain in the highest focal areas. Without doubt, the areas that I would like to carpet (wool if possible) are the main living area, dining room on the main floor, which abut a large foyer, that extends to a smaller rear hallway, powder room and laundry room (all of which are currently tiled). The living/dining areas are room like defined spaces, but not actually separate to the main foyer. The foyer extends also extends into the kitchen. Due to the inclemnts of Albertan winters, I feel that tile is best for the foyer and kitchen etc.

    I want to put carpet in the bedrooms and am flip-flopping between carpet and hardwood for the stairs and landing. One of the reasons for the flip-flop is because I would like to install wool in the master bedroom but am willing to defer (for the sake of cost) to an alternative for the other two bedrooms. All three bedrooms open onto a common narrow landing. It occured to me that a wood landing (with a rug) would be a better way to transition between wool in one room and an alternative fibre in the other two.

    I am anticipating wool carpet being more expensive than hardwood, so if it comes to a crunch hardwood on the stairs and dining room which are within sight of each other would look less odd than wool carpet in the living room, tile in the foyer and alternative carpet in the dining room.

    Lordy what a mouthful, hope that all makes sense.

    I suppose the short answer would have been, no I am not hell bent on having the same carpet throughout. I also have a separate office that has red office carpeting in it that I was considering leaving in place as it's separae from the rest of the other areas and fairly new. It is one of the few spaces in this house that the renovation need not touch.

    I have already left a message for the sales manager of another showroom as Brintons samples are being shipped there for me to see next week. Hopefully, this will be a better experience than the last.
  17. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    Kyle, I think you make a very fair and valid point. This is especially true in the city where I live. Everybody but me it seems goes for their weekly groceries with coupons in their hands, everyone wants a deal. And of course there is no reason why the sales assistant that helped me would think I would be any different.

    That said, I am a little different and customer service, quality of material and installation is important to me. I might get one or two quotes, but I am not going to price shop all over town (who has the time!).

    I took two things away from this experience. The first is, I will be able to determine the square footage once I have a quote in hand and know the price per square foot, as I can divide one by the other. This shouldn't be too difficult as I have asked her to quote for different materials in different spaces to give me an option. More work for her, but something I could have done for myself had she been willing to share the dimensions.

    Secondly, even if she had given me the dimensions and I had gone to another store with all the hard work from the first estimator in hand, I would be doubly wary of any supplier who was willing to take an order based on dimensions that I gave him. My point being that I would think any reputable establishment would want to take their own set of measurements.

    In today's internet driven world where information is freely available to those who seek it, as a retailer I would expect consumers to be more educated to both product and to the number of suppliers in the same city who can provide like-minded goods.

    I would have more respect for this woman if she had charged me a fee for the estimating and freely turned it over the measurements. As it is, she's tried the "smoke and mirrors" on me and I'm left with the feeling that maybe it's worth checking out what the competition has on offer.

    Edited to add: Nice avatar. My husband has that picture on the wall of his office!
  18. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    Would it make any difference to you to know that the average estimating program you can buy will not show the area amounts,m just the work being done and the price?
    Most retailers do not charge for estimates, it is hard to be competitive if you do. Also many if not most do not line item, but instead give a total price with the products and work to be done listed not itemized. It does not sound like this salesperson is being unreasonable or unscrupulous.

    I have to agree with Dobby on the point of being comfortable with the person you are dealing with though. If you are not comfortable with her go elsewhere. It would not be fair to either one of you to pursue a relationship that is uncomfortable for either one of you. And that is exactly what this is for you....a relationship.
  19. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    Thank you so much for this information Barry. I did not know that what you have described is a common approach. It wasn't explained to me as such either. Had that have been the case, my expectations would have been different and I would have been more prepared with at least my own set of rough dimensions.

    As you say, with this in mind it does not sound like the woman was being unscrupulous, nor in her eyes or that of other professionals - unreasonable. I considered her approach (not her personally) to be unreasonable simply because I had an expectation of being able to find out how much it was going to cost to put flooring in my house and be able to chop and choose my options for each space depending upon the cost.

    So maybe what I will do (and please feel free to comment on my approach), is to measure each of my areas, identify which areas are non-negotiable in terms of product (i.e. tile in foyer). Prepare a list of the options I want to consider and take that with me to a showroom, do my own rough calculations based on published prices and then enlist the help of a sales assistant.

    The last thing I want to do is waste anyone's time, least of all mine.

    Dobby, you asked me about colours for Fith Ave Flair. I will take a look and post a response.
  20. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Gailey, I had to smile, you are our customer exactly. Our industry has been so consumed on selling price they are blind to the eye of the quality oriented consumer. Instead of rising to the occasion, too many would rather dumb down the quality standard to fit what they wish to sell. :mad:
    Anyhoo, with that said...

    Now that we have a better idea of your needs. I believe the Brinton's carpets are going to be a better fit. However, before you see them, here are a few things you need to know, understand and appreciate. Not in order of importance, here goes:

    Quality is not determined by thickness. You will notice that the Bell Twist & Duet have a lower profile than Karastan's Fifth Avenue. Quality of a wool fiber is determined by several factors including country of origin, number of plies & tightness of twist. Thus, a bulky yarn may feel richer but several thinner, tightly twisted yarns will deliver better performance.

    The two qualities you will see will appear similar in appearance but are two very different products. {{This is very good}} The Bell Twist is woven on a wilton loom and is a super tough product. This is very similar to many of the products used in the UK because it is one! The Duet, while similar in appearance, is a tufted product. There are two real difference's between tufting & weaving. One, is the method used to secure the surface yarn. The other is the foundation on which the surface yarns live. In tufting, the surface yarns are planted into one layer of fabric and a second layer is laminated to the bottom to enhance dimensional stability and yarn retention. In weaving, the foundation of the product is a single integrated structure created by the interlacing of warps {length wise fibers} and wefts {width wise fibers}.

    Without a doubt, weaving is a superior method of construction. However, it does come with a much greater cost. This is the good part! The Bell Twist is an excellent option for the heavy use areas. It should come in at about 10% less than the Karastan Fifth Avenue. The Duet, which is tufted, is a lesser quality, but with a price almost 40% less than it's companion Bell Twist, this quickly becomes an excellent and exciting value.

    Lastly, before I go, is a quick word on blended fibers. Manufactures love to blend quality fibers with less expensive 'inferior' fibers to capture a look and reduce costs. In most instances these should be avoided. The exception to this is, when the focus is on performance that can be documented via scientific testing. Such is the case with the 80/20 wool/nylon blends. Typically used in the heaviest of contract applications, it has been scientifically proven that the addition of 20% nylon to 80% wool, actually produces a stronger, more durable fiber. This same applied science can be seen in athletic clothing and the blending of small amounts of spandex or lycra with cotton. The reason I share this is, nearly all of Brinton's carpets are made with this yarn configuration. So be warned, this is not a weakness or cost cutting ploy, in fact, it is a very strong selling feature.

    Also of interest, the Bell Twist comes in a width of 15 feet and the Duet is available in two widths; 13'1'' and 16'5". The wider widths can be a big help in reducing or eliminating seams.

    It seems like there is something I am forgetting, but I'll have to add it later. Hope this helps!

    With kindest regards,

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.