Claims file: From the newspaper

Home Columns Claims file: From the newspaper

by Lew Migliore

“Consumerwatch” is a newspaper column that is supposed to furnish consumers with accurate information on products and services. But a recent issue on making sure carpet is laid to specifications showed the author doesn’t really know the product. She talked about cushion and installation adding $4 to $10 to the cost of the carpet and added, “so you want to be careful with your choice.” Not sure what that means but it serves to lock readers into a figure that may be unrealistic.

Next, she mentions cushion and that it should be at least 6 pounds but if installing a low pile carpet it should be 8 pounds; nothing about thickness, type or quality. Much emphasis is placed on opening windows to “increase fresh air flow, which will decrease exposure to most chemicals released from new carpet.”

I’m growing tired of this comment by uninformed individuals. There are no chemicals in carpet. You can stand next to in it a mill for years and it won’t bother you. Most of it is basically plastic with some latex and fillers and if any- thing can survive the flooding of water and extreme heat, most carpet endures. It would also survive a nuclear blast. New carpet odor but no chemicals. New cars, shoes, and shower curtains should be feared if carpet is.

“Check out the subfloor once the old carpet is removed,” she wrote. “Sometimes mold or dry rot has pounced beneath the old carpet (plants overflowing, pet urine and so forth). The subfloor must be in good working condition before the first bit of new carpet comes down. Eagle eyes, please!”

Does mold and dry rot pounce? Puppies pounce. Mammals of prey pounce but mold and mildew? And the subfloor being in good working condition? It just lays there; it doesn’t do anything. Your car and furnace and AC should be in good working condition but your subfloor?

Am I being too critical?

Next you’re told installers should use new tack strips and carefully note the old tacks and/or tack strips have been pulled out before they lay the first piece of carpet. I bet you’d love it if you had to replace tackstrip on every job because you could charge for it and increase your profit. How often is it really done if the old strip is in good shape?

Where do these people get their information?

And the kicker, verbatim: “When the new carpeting is down to your satisfaction, leave the house for several hours so the fumes dissipate.”

Come on, really? Do you leave the house after painting, or replacing a toilet or cleaning the bathroom with all sorts of chemicals and using drain cleaner? Ludicrous!

How much good do you think this column, which appears weekly, written by someone who’s published two consumer books and was an English teacher, has done the industry and your business? Obviously the author has not done her homework, has not sourced any information from the latest materials. The claim to tackstrips should be a tip off, nor does the text stay true to the title, “Make sure carpet is laid to specifications.”

Specifications for installing carpet can be found online at, the official site of the Carpet & Rug Institute, which covers all aspects of installation including cushion, substrate conditions, new carpet odor, tackstrip, etc.

Expert advice?

Are her other books as well researched as carpet installation, I wonder? Wouldn’t make me want to go out and buy them. If you’re going to write on a subject and pass yourself off as an authority who people look to for the truth, you’d better know what you’re talking about.

Know the products you sell better than anyone else, lest a consumer comes into your store armed with information from an article like this and makes a fool out of you.

Lewis Migliore is a troubleshooter, consultant and speaker based in Dalton. To reach him, call 706.370.5888, e-mail or log on to

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