The High Cost of "Cheap" Carpet Care,

Ames, IA

We all want to save money, but how cheap is “cheap?”  There can be costly consequences for getting the “cheapest” carpet care.  Let’s look at what could happen under the following circumstances…

“Cheap” Installation

1.  Improper Stretching.  Many cheap installers will try to get by using a knee kicker instead of a power stretcher when they install a carpet.  While this may seem to work for awhile, you will soon pay the price.  A knee kicker doesn’t have the ability to stretch the carpet with the same kind of power that a power stretcher has.  Knee kickers are used to install carpet in small areas (no greater than 10’x10’) like a closet or on stairs.  It can also be used to help position the power stretcher.  However, if your installer uses it to stretch an entire room of carpet, the slackness left in the carpet will all too soon turn into carpet ripples.  If this happens you will be calling someone to re-stretch your carpet before you’ve budgeted for it.  Before you chose an installer, make sure they have the right tools for the job and they’re willing to use them.   To view our full article “Knee Kicker vs. Power Stretcher,” click here.


2.  Wrong Padding.  There are many kinds of padding to use when installing a carpet and it’s important to get the right one.  Although there are many benefits to having padding, the primary function of the padding is to protect the carpet and extend its life.  Padding that is too soft will bottom out when stepped on, causing the carpet to take all the pressure.  Padding that is too thick will have too much flex and can cause seams to split and backing to weaken.  This extra stress on your carpet can take its toll on your carpet life and no one wants to pay to replace their carpet years before they should have to.  Another thing to watch for is padding with Butylated Hydroxyl Toluene (BHT).  It’s popular in rebond padding but can cause your carpet to yellow.  Rebond padding is a middle-priced padding that is very popular; however, if you choose this padding be sure to ask the seller for written confirmation that it doesn’t contain BHT.   To view our full article “Choosing the Right Carpet Padding,” click here.


3.  Unsealed Seams.  When carpet is laid in a large room there will inevitably be seams.  A good professional will know how to make them as discrete as possible and will definitely seal them with a good sealant.  Eventually, if a seam isn’t sealed, the edges will become damaged and you will end up with delamination and fraying.  To see our article “What is Delamination,” click here.


Improper Cleaning

1.  Poor Equipment.  I’ll repeat what I’ve discussed in several articles now, because it’s important.  A professional truck-mounted system is highly superior to a hand-held unit.  If you hire a professional that comes in with a hand-held type system you’re not going to get what you think you’re getting.  A truck-mounted system penetrates hot water deep into your carpet with a greater force than any hand held unit can.  It also has a far superior suction so it pulls out much more dirt and grime, water and cleaning solution, leaving the carpet cleaner and drier.   Some like to point out how wet a carpet ends up when it’s steam cleaned and how that can lead to mold and mildew growth. You won’t have to worry about that unless you hire a cheap cleaner that comes in with a hand held machine. A professional truck-mounted system with good suction will leave you with a drier carpet and less drying time.   It also has the ability to rinse the carpet much better, washing away any cleaning residue that may remain in the carpet, which can be sticky and attract dirt quickly.  When this happens you often find yourself with a carpet dirtier than what you started with in just a short period of time.


2.  Bad Cleaning Agents.  Pay attention to the cleaners being used on your carpet.  Many carpet detergents contain optical brighteners, also called fluorescent brightening agents or FBA’s.  Optical Brighteners, or FBA’s, are fluorescent dyes that are added to certain cleaners to lighten the fibers and make the carpet appear lighter and cleaner.  This is only an optical effect; they do not make the carpet any cleaner. The problem is they will actually yellow your carpet when exposed to UV light and are NOT approved by carpet manufacturers.

Also be aware of cleaning detergents with high ph levels.  You should never use a detergent with a ph of 10 or higher.  They are another culprit of yellowing carpets and sticky, dirt attracting residue.


3.  Unknowledgeable, Uncertified Technicians.  Even if a company has good equipment, it doesn’t mean they have the knowledge and training to use it properly.  The best companies will have certification from the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification).  They have been well trained and know how to properly care for your carpet.  Using an unknowledgeable, improperly trained, or uncertified technician is a good way to end up with damaged carpets or the need for early re-cleaning. 


Steamway Craftsmen Cleaning Services has been caring for carpets for over 40 years.  We have IICRC certified technicians who are properly trained and knowledgeable about carpet care.  Call us at 515-232-8938 in the Ames, Iowa area. 


1602 E. Lincoln Way

Ames, IA 50010