Carpet Warranties: 5 Factors that Influence Your Carpet’s Warranty
For the amount of clients we serve and the sheer volume of carpet we clean it has always puzzled me how few times we get questions about the warranty that comes with a newly purchased carpet. Because carpet represents a significant investment of money, it stands to reason that you'd like to know the basics of carpet warranties. An even better approach would be to know what types of warranties are available to you before you purchase your next carpet.
5 Common elements of most carpet warranty programs
All major carpet manufacturers that sell residential carpet have some type of warranty coverage on the products they sell. Carpet mills such as Shaw, Mohawk, Beaulieu, Royalty, Fabrica, Interface, Karastan, Masland and many more have created warranty coverage for their carpets with familiar names such as Stainmaster, Wear-Dated and Caress to name just a few. Each of these warranty programs share a lot of similar elements that universally apply:
- Coverage. The items typically covered are wear and retention issues. For example the basic Stainmaster warranty covers 20 years texture retention and 15 years wear. Wear being defined as the fiber losing at least 10% of its fiber content. Some brands have warranties on their more expensive product lines that offer almost universal coverage with very few exclusions.
- Limitations of the warranty. As is true with any warranty out there, there are going to be a bunch of limitations on the warranty. A common limitation is the fact that the warranty won't transfer to a new owner in case of a home sale and that it only covers owner occupied residences. Then there is also the issue of cleaning requirements (see number 4).
- Exclusions. With most carpet in the marketplace being a synthetic fiber (Nylon, Olefin, Polyester or Triexta), wear is not typically going to be the issue. What will be an issue is going to be spots and spills on the carpet that turn into stains. And, as you may have guessed, there is a whole host of exclusions on items that will stain your carpet and will not be covered by its warranty. Items such as urine (from pet or human origin) bleach, acne medication, plant food and certain cleaning products.
- Professional Cleaning Requirements. To be able to file a claim on your carpets warranty you need to follow a fairly strict regimen of professional cleanings. A carpet mill will want to see that you've cleaned your carpet at least every 18-24 months. The first question that will come up will be if you had your carpet professionally cleaned and if you have a receipt to prove it.On top of that, more and more warranties will specify a specific cleaning method. The Stainmaster warranty booklet states: "you must have had hot water extraction cleaning performed by a trained, qualified carpet care professional at least as frequently as every 24 months".
- Replacement Conditions. If you've been successful in overcoming all road blocks, hurdles and objections that are part of the warranty process, you'll now face the fact that your replacement will be pro-rated for the age of the carpet and that labor cost and in some cases even the cost of the padding is not included.
Filing a Carpet Replacement Warranty Claim
If you've come to the point where you feel filing a warranty claim is your only option, there is a certain protocol you'll be asked to follow. It all starts with the carpet retailer where you originally purchased your carpet. They'll pass your claim onto to the carpet mill who will assign it to a local, IICRC certified, inspector. The inspector will come to your home to determine what the cause of the issue is and if you have a valid claim.
In our experience most issues that were deemed to be a valid claim by a carpet owner get denied by the carpet mill. And a lot of times the issue at hand is indeed not the fault of the manufacturer and is a case of improper or even the lack of cleaning at all.
How to avoid carpet warranty issues
Ultimately, when a carpet is made and sold it's the goal of both the retailer who sold you the carpet and the manufacturer who made the carpet that you're happy with your purchase for the long-term. What they have found is that cleaning (or lack thereof) related issues are by far the most common source for complaints and warranty claims.
I hate to sound self-serving by agreeing with their conclusion. However we see it everyday in our business. The regular cleaning of your carpet will avoid potential big problems down the road and ultimately leave you happier with your carpet.