Big ticket purchases that you only make every decade or so are often the trickiest purchases to make.
That's the case when it comes to buying carpet. Once you pick the kind of carpet you want, you're at the mercy of installers who may or may not do a good job.
"You want a company who will come in and send an estimator in who's really trying to minimize the amount of carpet you need to buy, and some do a great job at that," said Kevin Brasler, Executive Editor of Consumers' Checkbook Magazine.
Checkbook surveyed local customers from across the Puget Sound region for their feedback on local carpet companies. Many people reported a positive experience but there were also common complaints, including poor customer service, sub-par installation, bait-and-switch, and over charging.
Since there are all sorts of ways to measure for carpet it's a good idea to measure the area yourself first, so you have some idea of what you'll need. According to Brasler, some estimators measure in a way that requires you to buy more carpet than you'll need.
"You're always going to pay for a little bit more than you need but it shouldn't be more than 10 percent. It certainly shouldn't be more than 15 percent," Brasler advised.
Some companies have their own installers, others contract out to third parties. Make sure you understand who'll do the work and who's responsible if there's a dispute. And Checkbook says inspect the new carpet and padding before it's installed to avoid a "switcheroo" to a lower-priced, lower-quality carpet than you paid for. It happens.
"Borrow or buy that sample of what it is you've ordered and hang on to it until the carpet's delivered and be there when that carpet's delivered. And compare the backing of the sample to what's delivered and compare the tufts, " said Brasler.
Of the 43 carpet companies identified in the latest Checkbook's survey, customers gave a few top ratings for the selling service, and a handful got top ratings for installation service. The following five companies got top ratings for both sales and installation:
- Abbey Carpet & Floor of Tacoma
- Bainbridge Floor Covering & Supply on Bainbridge Island
- The Home Depot in Silverdale
- Interiors By Jayme in Burien
As always get at least two estimates, preferably three, and pay attention to promptness, organization, knowledge and professionalism -- both in the store and at your home. And remember, the lowest estimate doesn't necessarily mean it's the best company for the job.
There's much more helpful information for buying carpets in Checkbook's full carpet report, including surprising price differences for the same carpet from different branches of the same chain.
Checkbook ratings are a subscriber service, but as a courtesy to KOMO viewers, the carpet report will to be linked on our website until August 9.