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Is there a carpet purchase in your future? These tips can help you answer the questions that you’ll face.

Padding. When you replace your carpet, replace the padding, too. It is an extra expense, but good padding will protect the carpet and reduce wear, which means your new carpet will last longer.

Pile. Choosing the carpet’s “pile” — the length of the fibers — is one of the first question that you will face. Is a plush pile right for you, or is a low-pile carpet better? Plush piles feel good underfoot, but they will show footprints and vacuum tracks. The lower the pile, the fewer prints you will have, and some low piles will show no prints or vacuum marks at all.

Material. Another common question: Which is better, wool or synthetic? Wool requires more cleaning, but it is considered stronger and should last longer. Synthetics tend to resist soil better and therefore are easier to maintain. Synthetics are less expensive than wool.

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Stains. Synthetic carpets often come treated for stain resistance. These synthetics are more expensive than the nonstain-resistant ones, but in most cases are worth the added price. If your home has a room that’s rarely used — perhaps a formal living room — a nonstain-resistant carpet would be OK. But for heavy traffic areas, go with the stain-resistant version.

Warranty. Did you know that carpets come with a warranty? They do, and it is wise to read it before buying so you are aware of what you are entitled to, as well as any restrictions.

Cleaning. Be sure to ask the dealer how the carpet should be cleaned. Some carpets, particularly wool, will have their own cleaning requirements, and the warranty might be voided if it’s cleaned the wrong way. Vacuuming it the primary cleaning tool, and it should be done often on any type of carpet. Frequent vacuuming pulls the dirt out so it doesn’t get ground in and become permanent.

Health. Carpets are being manufactured with fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) for the good of the environment and the health of the homeowners. Ask the dealer about VOCs on any carpet you’re installing in your home.

Cost. Don’t skimp on price. Remember: You get what you pay for. Carpeting is a long-term investment, so shop around and get what best suits your needs.

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